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Adani wins injunction against activist over 'sustained harassment'

Business

Adani has won a significant battle against activist Ben Pennings after the Supreme Court granted an injunction preventing him from some campaign activities.

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The decision follows years of activism by Pennings and his Galilee Blockade organisation which had been attempting to prevent the development of the Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland.

However, it appears unlikely to prevent Pennings from continuing to attack the company in other ways.

“So long as Adani threatens my family – and the environment we all share – I will do everything lawfully in my powers to stop them,” Pennings said outside the court.

The decision was cheered by the industry.

“Amid an economic recession with unemployment in Queensland projected to increase to 9 per cent, it is hard to fathom that job creators have to go to court to be able to contribute to the state’s COVID-19 economic recovery,” Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

Adani said Pennings would have to remove online posts and campaigns, remove any online material related to the ‘Dob in a Contractor’ campaign, remove content from online channels that encouraged the collation of confidential material about the business “and to stop what we allege is threatening behaviour towards our contractors and employees”.

“The injunction was requested in order to prevent Mr Ben Pennings from continuing what we claim is a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation against our business and contractors, whilst the civil legal proceedings that we have brought against him are underway,” Adani said.

“We are pleased with the outcome of today’s hearing that the injunction is now in place, and we will continue to pursue the civil legal proceedings while hoping that Mr Pennings honours the terms of this injunction and refrains from undertaking any further activity that could cause distress to our employees and contractors.

A case relating to damages against Pennings for his activities remains to be heard.

“We have advised Mr Pennings that we would no longer pursue this legal matter if he made a permanent undertaking to: remove any online material related to the ‘Dob in a Contractor’ campaign, remove content from online channels that encourages the collation of confidential material about our business, and to stop what we allege is threatening behaviour towards our contractors and employees.

“Mr Pennings to date has not agreed to this undertaking and so we are proceeding with the civil case.”

Pennings said the Supreme Court injunction followed two recent failed court applications by Adani “to intimidate my family by raiding our home”.

“Adani claims their legal strategy is not about inflicting hardship on me. Despite this successful injunction, Adani is still undertaking legal action that could bankrupt my family. I shouldn’t have to sell our suburban family home to make a multi-billionaire even richer.

“The urgent need to stop new thermal coal mines is much bigger than any one individual. The global movement to stop Adani’s coal mine will not be deterred by the cold-hearted bullying tactics of a billionaire’s mining company targeting one individual. The Australian public will continue to oppose Adani’s destructive climate-wrecking mine.”

The Australian Conservation Foundation said Adani’s legal strategy would only serve to galvanise people against it.

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