News - 17 July 2023

Wilderness Society Tasmania statement on Dr Colette Harmsen

The Wilderness Society Tasmania strongly condemns the imprisonment of veteran Bob Brown Foundation activist and peaceful nature defender, Dr Colette Harmsen.

“Australia’s laws are failing nature, species extinction and forest destruction continues but Colette is on the right side of history trying to prevent senseless destruction of takyana/Tarkine. Colette is the first volunteer activist for 12 years to face prison time in lutruwita/Tasmania,” said Tabatha Badger, convenor of the Wilderness Society Tasmania’s management committee.

“It is outrageous that anyone bravely defending nature in this critical time for climate and biodiversity can be imprisoned. As UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres said the "truly dangerous radicals" are not climate activists, but the fossil fuel industry, those eroding the environment, and their lobbyists.

“Governments around the world, including in Lutruwita/Tasmania, are attempting to criminalise peaceful protest to try and distract from their woeful lack of action to protect the climate and biodiversity.

“Activists like Colette, trying to stop the decline of nature during this crisis, are heroes at a time when laws are disproportionately rigged in favour of destructive industry and against nature and people trying to protect it.

“Across Lutruwita/Tasmania, communities are standing up for forests and wildlife but are routinely ignored, not consulted with and have forest destruction inflicted on them, despite its lack of social licence.

"The community is demanding stronger laws to save and protect what little is left, to prevent species decline and extinction and to permit peaceful protest,” said Ms Badger.

Tabatha Badger
Convenor, Management Committee, Wilderness Society Tasmania

The public can support Colette through the website