Greens candidate faces court

following Port Blockade arrest

Greens Candidate for Lake Macquarie City Council North Ward Bryce Ham was among members of the Rising Tide 109 who faced court on Thursday 11 January following last year’s blockade of the Port of Newcastle.

(L-R): John Mackenzie, Newcastle Councillor, Adam Bandt, Greens Leader, Bryce Ham, Greens Candidate Lake Macquarie Council North Ward and Charlotte Mccabe, Newcastle Councillor.

24 January 2024

 

BRYCE HAM was announced as the Greens’ candidate for Lake Macquarie City Council North Ward last month ahead of the election in September this year.

 

Drawing on his years of experience as a community campaigner and activist for the environment and sustainable transport, and a life-long Lake Macquarie resident, Bryce was chosen as a Greens candidate for the first time after running as an Independent in 2021.

 

Mr Ham said at the time "The long-term thinking promoted by Greens policies aligned with my own, and I realised that urgent priorities in Lake Macquarie could be addressed by joining a team of committed and experienced local campaigners."

 

Bryce Ham, who is 20 years old, is a former organiser for School Strike 4 Climate and has said he hopes to engage young people in local government through his campaign. “I recognise that I am young but I believe my youth brings a fresh perspective and determined passion to address local issues on Council.”

 

Yet will Lake Macquarie voters see Mr Ham's participation in last year's blockade in a positive light to move from coal-generated power to sustainable and renewal energy as a positive step in his campaign to become a councillor?

 

NSW Greens spokesperson for Climate Change and Member of the NSW Legislative Council Sue Higginson said "The actions of the 109 community members that were arrested during the Rising Tide Blockade last year stand as a testament to the determination and courage of people resisting the fossil fuel industry.

 

“Bryce has proudly taken a principled position on the need to end our reliance on fossil fuels and to call out the corporations and Governments that are driven by short term profit motives. I will stand today, and everyday, shoulder to shoulder with Bryce and others as we work to combat climate change in this world."

 

Bryce on his commitment to climate action said “I’ve been on the frontlines of the climate action movement since I was a high school student. I’ve petitioned, penned letters, rallied, met with politicians, and helped educate our community. I have called out governments at all levels for not acting quickly enough to spare us the massive costs of climate change, from the Black Summer bushfires to the floods of 2022-23.

 

“I proudly joined the People’s Blockade, the largest civil disobedience action for climate justice in Australia’s history. We blocked coal trade at the Port of Newcastle for 32 hours. We had received an unprecedented permission from Police to occupy the shipping channel for 30 hours. But we are in a crisis, and we have to keep pushing the boundaries.

 

“Anthony Albanese’s Labor government continues to approve new coal projects. Despite the clear and present danger posed by climate change, they have chosen to prioritise short-term economic gains over long-term sustainability. This is not the leadership we need.

 

“Being arrested was not an act of rebellion, but an act of commitment and resolve to send a clear message to our governments. We cannot afford to be complacent in the face of the climate emergency. Being arrested is a small price to pay in comparison to the disasters already occurring due to climate change. I will continue to fight for our planet and for climate justice.

 

“As a Greens’ candidate for Lake Macquarie City Council, I am running to safeguard our shared future. If elected, I promise to bring the same resolve to Council that prompted me to paddle out in the Port of Newcastle in front of coal loaders and container ships. I will challenge Council to adopt policies in the long-term best interests of Lake Macquarie residents, and ensure our community’s voice is heard. Because when it comes to the future of our planet and our community, we cannot afford to be silent.”

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