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Has Adani's fiercest critic finally admitted defeat?

Business

Adani’s fiercest critic, activist Ben Pennings, has folded in his attack on the company, taking down his website and giving assurances that he will accept court orders made against him last week.

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But he accused Adani of lying in its public comments that it would not pursue damages actions against him if he complied with the court orders.

He has also confirmed that he can continue campaigning, just not in the form outlined in the court orders, but doesn’t know what’s next.

“They cannot and should not stop me campaigning otherwise,” he said.

Pennings has headed Galilee Blockade, an organisation that took its protests to any company that supported Adani and successfully forced several organisations to drop Adani rather than face damaging their public image through activism and calls for boycotts. It also called on workers to “dob in” Adani and its contractors and to pass on information about the mine.

The damage to Adani and its contractors was deemed significant enough for it to seek a court injunction against Pennings and the Supreme Court accepted it had a strong case.

Pennings sent a letter to Adani’s lawyers this morning saying he had already complied with the court orders and given Adani assurances two weeks ago he would do so.

“Before the first court hearing about the proposed injunction, I offered to give a permanent undertaking to do what Adani has told the media they are asking of me. I also agreed for that permanent undertaking to be enforceable through a court order, with possible criminal consequences if I broke it,” Pennings said.

However, Adani made no mention of that in its media statement after last week’s court victory and continued to say it wanted “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.”

“This is incorrect,” Pennings said claiming also that Adani seemed determined to punish his family by continuing to its case for damages.

“I deny what Adani alleges against me in the civil action and do not believe that it will ultimately succeed. But I have school-aged children, a child with a disability and ageing parents who all rely on me,” he said.

“I am concerned Adani’s civil action will stop me giving my elderly parents the financial assistance they need to move into supported accommodation. It was simply cruel for my mother to hear that Adani’s media statement was a lie.

“Adani’s media statement intentionally omits the full terms of the offer that Adani put to me. In their media statement, Adani imply they have been reasonable in trying to resolve the proceedings and that I have not. This is entirely and deliberately misleading.”

Adani has been approached for comment.

The Anglican Dean of Brisbane Peter Catt has again come to the support of Pennings in a statement issued this morning.

“Mr Pennings has openly shared that he simply now wants to care for his young children and ageing parents and yet Adani seems determined to punish Mr Pennings for previously exercising his right as an Australian citizen to stand up for our iconic reef and our farmers’ groundwater,” Catt said.

“Despite the undue pressure, including the potential for personal bankruptcy, Mr Pennings continues to show an admirable level of resilience, which is inspiring.”

 

 

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