Friday, 17 April 2015

Knitting Nannas' three year long yarn outside pro-CSG MP's office in Lismore continues

The NSW North Coast Nationals never learn.

At the 28 March 2015 state election they lost one of their safe seats, Ballina, and suffered a 19.6% swing to Labor in Tweed, a 22.4% swing to Labor in Clarence and a 22.5% swing to Labor in Tweed where Thomas George only survived on preferences - yet they tried to flex their political muscle on the one issue that saw so many voters walk away from the National Party at the ballot box.

NSW Police confront Knitting Nannas: Image from @LockTheGate 10 April 215

The Northern Star 9 April 2015:

A group of 10 nannas had yesterday just settled in to their usual positions on the pavement outside Mr George's office yesterday when they were approached by a group of police who informed them the act was illegal.
Eltham Knitting Nanna Judy Summers said she was told by a senior policewoman the group "had no reason to be here as CSG is done and dusted".
The police left after issuing a warning that the group would face more serious action if they returned next week.
But Ms Summers vowed the group were "not going anywhere" and were seeking legal advice over the issue.
"I told her it is not done and dusted; until both licenses are cancelled we will continue to be here," Ms Summers said.
"We are not obstructing the pathway."….
The Knitting Nannas [should] move their weekly protests from Thomas George's office to the boat sculpture at Molesworth Street, Lismore Nationals president John Barnes has said.
Speaking on ABC Radio this morning, Mr Barnes said he was against CSG but the Nannas were a "nuisance" and they should move to "the HMAS Jenny Dowell", referring to the sculpture.
"I don't care what they are protesting for, if it is CSG or the man on the moon," Mr Barnes said.
"They should give the streets back to the people.".....

Later the same day:

THE GREENS NSW coal seam gas spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham wants to know if the government has an agenda to 'shut the Nannas down'.
Following ABC reports that suggested National Party members initiated the confrontation between police and Knitting Nannas on Thursday at their usual knit-in in front of Thomas George's office, Mr Buckingham today called on Deputy Premier Troy Grant to clarify whether his party and government wanted the Nannas shut down.
The 'post-election police crackdown', according to Mr Buckingham is 'a ridiculous attack on the democratic right to peaceful protest'.

What happened two days later was entirely predictable.

Image from @CSGFreeNR 11 April 2015 

The Northern Star 11 April 2015:

POLICE moves to stop the Knitting Nannas against Gas staging protests outside Lismore MP Thomas George's office have spawned a huge outcry since the group was told they were breaking the law on Thursday.
But was it a planned move to shut down the regular "knit-ins" - or a case of mistaken identity?
Knitting Nanna Clare Twomey said the Nannas may have been "implicated by association" over a complaint from another protest - not involving the Nannas - during which a female employee of Thomas George's allegedly injured herself while trying to avoid bags of manure.
Local police were not answering questions on the matter yesterday and the Nannas said they had legal advice their protests were within the law.
Ms Twomey said the group had also received overwhelming public support, and the police intervention had only served to fire them up.

Just as predictable was the public slapdown later on that same Saturday of John Barnes by his leader, who is understandably nervous about the party's poor showing at the recent election.

Anti-gas group the Knitting Nannas Against Gas are welcome to continue their regular "knit-ins" outside Lismore MP Thomas George's office NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader Troy Grant has said.
Mr Grant has today issued a statement demanding Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham apologise for suggesting the government wanted to get rid of the Nannas.
The statement follows a furore over a police visit to the Nannas on Thursday, where officers told members of the group they would have to stop their protests outside Lismore MP Thomas George's office.
He said Mr George was out of the electorate when the complaint was made and he had no involvement in it or knowledge of it.
                                Go the Grans! 

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