Tasmanian forest defender released from prison after 3 months

Dr Colette Harmsen, a veterinarian and forest activist, has today been released from Mary Hutchinsons Women’s Prison after serving a three month sentence relating to her defence of Tasmania’s native forests. Dr Harmsen is the first woman in Tasmania to be sentenced to a prison term for environmental activism.

“Thank you to everybody who has given me their support over the past 3 months. My jail sentence has been made so much more bearable with your words of encouragement and love. But honestly – we shouldn’t have to do time for standing up and demanding a safer planet, for demanding a clean and healthy environment to live in, should we?” said Dr Colette Harmsen.

“The government and the judicial systems keep thumbing their nose at the state of the environment and the unfolding climate emergency. They are behaving as though they do not have to do anything about it. It’s time we held them accountable for their environmentally destructive decisions. It’s time we forced them to uphold our basic right to a clean and healthy environment. I didn’t do this to be remembered. I did this to remind people to act now for our whole planet.”

“The legal system has to stop silencing the voices of compassionate caring communities who are sick of the government dragging its heels when it comes to proper environmental protection and a proper response to climate change. Time to start punishing those who choose to contribute to the climate emergency and who make our world a more perilous place in which to live. We refuse to be silenced because the ongoing endangerment of our planet is complete madness. Silencing peaceful protestors is complete madness. And we will continue to risk our freedoms because a safe and healthier world is worth so much more than a broken planet.

As Peter Cundall, the fantastic environmentalist, used to say: Never, ever, ever, give in!” said Dr Harmsen.

“Colette is an inspiration for the majority of Australians who want an end to native forest logging. It is notable that her release from jail coincides with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit to Hobart where he endorses the flattening and incineration of Tasmania’s wild forests and wildlife. It is Colette, not Anthony, who stands for the public sympathy on the environment,” said Bob Brown.

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