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Friday analysis: Protests are turning into dirty deeds done dirt cheap

Protests by anti-logging, anti-mining and anti-everything else groups are now getting way out of hand.

It’s getting very personal, and very ugly.

On the mining front, only last week a group of climate activists from Disrupt Burrup Hub were protesting outside mining company Woodside boss Meg O’Neill’s home in Western Australia.

Not only that, but what should turn up as well? An ABC Four Corners film crew.

ABC Communications said that “the team received a tip to go to an address, they had no knowledge what was at the address or that it was someone’s house”.

What a load of tosh. The chances of a television film crew just “turning up” because of a tip-off that something might happen somewhere are improbable at best.

Anyone who has media experience know that is highly unlikely.

But we will take the comment at face value.

Ms O’Neill told The Australian she had been left shaken after the climate activists turned up to her family home and their conduct was unacceptable.

“It does not matter if you are a member of the business community, a professional athlete or even a kid going about your business, everyone has a right to feel safe in their own home,” she said.

Then on Friday the Maitland Mercury published the horrific news that aggressive, violent and unhygienic attacks have been directed at forestry workers and their families amid rising tensions over the industry’s future.

The Mercury reported that claims of workers receiving 200 harassing phone calls a day, having faeces thrown at them and their wives threatened with rape had been aired in the NSW State Parliament, prompting Agriculture Minister Tara Moriarty to call for more respect from protesters.

Oh, right. That’ll fix it.

NSW Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Mark Banasiak said there was a need to create timber safety zones to protect workers.

He said he had learned of many instances of threatening behaviour towards workers.

“One wife of a worker was threatened with rape … others have had insinuations of harm being made against their children along the lines of, ‘I know where your kids get off the school bus in the afternoon’,” Mr Banasiak told parliament.

He introduced a bill that would create a specific offence for unauthorised entries to timber safety zones, similar to those enacted in Victoria last year.

The Mercury says that behind the scenes, the state opposition is set to consider supporting the proposed law or introducing its own version.

Nature Conservation Council chief executive Jacqui Mumford told AAP – presumably with a straight face – that unsubstantiated claims against protesters had “a long history of being used to justify the erosion” of protest rights.

Oh, please.

Meanwhile protesters continued to disrupt the resumption of logging in Newry State Forest near Coffs Harbour, with a local man, Brendan Scotts locking himself on to a harvester.

This sort of nonsense has been going on for well over a week, which little it would seem, is being done to bring it to a halt.

At least the protests have in this case been peaceful, if disrupting an industry’s right to operate lawfully and an individual’s right to lawful employment can be described as peaceful.

Enough is enough.

If the sort of behaviour that The Mercury is reporting, and the sort of behaviour we have seen in WA, is allowed to continue in any form whatsoever someone is going to get hurt, or worse.

The only saving grace, if there is one, is that there will probably be a film crew from somewhere on site to record the sad event.