Anti-wind farm campaigner threatens new Premier with violence

no-violence-480The anti-wind farm campaign showed an ugly side to its character at the weekend when Randall Bell, President of the Victorian Landscape Guardians, threatened to “break” Premier Dennis Napthine’s arms if he overturns the state’s retrograde wind farm laws.

In a Herald Sun report on the prospect of Premier Napthine “easing” anti-wind farm laws imposed by his predecessor Ted Baillieu, Randell Bell issued the following warning: “If Dr Napthine reneges on that policy, I’ll break his arms.”

The violent rhetoric of Mr Bell is troubling. Threatening the Premier is just the latest nastiness to come from some in the anti-wind farm campaign.

In late 2009, a mob of hostile anti-wind farm activists took over a community information meeting on wind farms in Colac manhandled then Energy Minister Peter Batchelor. The activists jammed Minister Batchellor’s leg in a car door. Federal member for Corangamite, Darren Cheeseman, has also received threats from wind power opponents.

Violence against elected officials, and any citizen for that matter, is intolerable. This type of violent, bullying rhetoric must stop before someone gets hurt.

Friends of the Earth Australia call on Mr Bell and the Victorian Landscape Guardians to retract the statement and issue a public apology to Premier Napthine.

We also call on closely related anti-wind farm group the Waubra Foundation, and its key office holders, Mr Peter Mitchell and Ms Sarah Laurie, to publicly denounce the violent threat against the Premier.

Violent threats have no place in a civil debate about the merits of energy technologies and policy.

Herald Sun Report

The Victorian Wind Alliance, which Friends of the Earth is a proud member, sent the following response The Herald Sun:

The Victorian Wind Alliance rejects the violent threat made against the Premier, Dr Napthine, by a leading anti-wind lobbyist, Randall Bell (‘Wind Farm Debate blows up’, 9/3/13).

Tea Party-style tactics of division and violence have no place in Australia.

VicWind brings together communities, businesses and individuals in Victoria to work constructively for more wind energy for our state.

All Victorians should be able debate the merits of wind energy freely and peacefully and not find themselves targets of angry threats.

Dr Napthine is right to call for a greater focus on regional development. Modernising our backward-looking wind farm laws is just what country Victoria needs.

17 thoughts on “Anti-wind farm campaigner threatens new Premier with violence

  1. Given the powerful vested interests behind the anti-Wind brigade, the only side they have is the ugly one. I bet Randall is a keen supporter of Coal Seam Gas, just like Big Ted was!

    1. ‘Childish beat up’? Yes 2 Renewables beg to differ. There’s simply no place for this type of rhetoric in the debate about energy policy and technology choices. It is unnecessarily inflammatory.

    2. “beat up on a throw-away line” Hardly. You can add to the list the destruction of masts and equipment, graffiti, vandalism and threats to farmers and workers. The howling down of anyone who supports wind projects at public meetings / open days and so on.

    3. The old “throw-away line” defence – wouldn’t stack up in a court of law. Threatening physical violence is a criminal offence. Simple as that.

  2. Coupled with significant acts of vandalism in Ontario and Australia and threats with a shotgun and threats of destroyed farm equipment in Ontario, the anti-wind side is feeling increasingly desperate. They appear to think that they have been cornered and have no recourse. This despite the enormous freedom of action that they actually have, including the freedom to accept the truths that wind energy is benign and an effective addition to energy grids.

  3. Randall Bell is not a supporter of coal seam gas. He is an extremist for landscape values and yet opposed preparing of guidelines for landscape value assessment. There are things that I am concerned about in windfarm development processes (I would prefer the more but smaller scale windfarms in German lanscape for instance than very large scale projects here as larger windfarms cause more problems increasing likelihood of bat and bird collision and obviously affecting more views and landscape values) but it makes sense that there are clear guidelines in determining biodiversity, wildlife, habitat, noise etc and landscape values before proposing windfarms. Bu having clear guidelines it means windfarms can be built in the right places.

    1. Yet he and his ilk are silent on anything else which may impact on landscapes: mines, quarries, plantations, urban sprawl, (non-wind) powerlines etc…

      1. I don’t know about other people opposing windfarms but Randall is pretty vocal on other developments too. Perhaps the media is not picking up these.

    2. Birds are not generally at risk from turbines.
      After millions of years of evolution, birds now have a very high sampling rate – much higher than homo saoiens. They can detect, analyse and process information very fast so that moving blades are no actual risk.
      I recall a few years back much media hoo-haa about the Bald Hills wind farm and the orange bellied parrot.
      I further recall that the only real casualty there was the Howard government’s environment minister!

      1. Indeed! The orange bellied parrot – which flys amongst saltbush and no where near blade height. Ian Campbell better of at Sea Shepard anyways!

      2. Birds and bats do have high mortality rates out at some wind turbines. In Germany the rate is very low. Studies have been done with birds but as Birds Australia has stated, it is the siting of windfarms that matters. You don’t put a windfarm on a migration route. Nor near a breeding colony. The orange bellied parrot was not at any perceivable risk – it was something like a one in 50 years possibility which is crazy. Bats have not been studied well and not at all in Australia. Again, siting is most important – unfortunately we don’t know the migration routes of many species and there is a condition that still needs further research in which case bats are not killed by blades themselves but are dead on the ground. Birdlife Australia, (for birds), National Trust (for landscape values) and other organisations are on an advisory or expert panel re windfarms. No bat groups are and I have read some very bad EIS or EIA for windframs where a bat study was supposed to be done, but wasn’t because of technical problems, but the company did not think it would be a problem. And that is not good enpough.

  4. Randall Bell further demonstrates the extremism of windfarm opponents. As Mike says, it’s further evidence that the anti-wind mob are getting desperate. They have no regard for facts, evidence or honesty so Bell’s outburst is unsurprising but very disappointing.

  5. Turf out Randall Bell. If you look a bit more carefully, you might see there is another side to his violence… Just take a look

  6. If the same threat had been made by a Muslim, let alone someone high profile like Sheik Hilali say, I imagine the police would have paid them a visit and it would have been all over the front pages of the tabloid press. Funny how conservative old white men are untouchable in these matters. Who runs this country anyway? Oh yeah…

  7. “but Randall is pretty vocal on other developments too” Evidence please: date, article, meeting, interview?

    Won’t hold my breath!

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