WA premier lashes ABC in letter to Buttrose over Four Corners presence at protestAugust 4, 2023
Save articles for later
Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.
WA Premier Roger Cook has written to Ita Buttrose to ensure the ABC chair is personally aware of the depth of his concerns over the presence of a Four Corners television crew at a protest outside Woodside boss’ Meg ONeill’s home.
“I have been in public life long enough to understand the vital role the news media plays in a healthy democracy and the right of journalists to report the news without fear or favour,” Cook wrote.
WA Premier Roger Cook has hit out at climate protesters at the home of Woodside boss Meg O’Neill.
“However, the fact that an ABC TV crew attended the private home of a WA citizen to document the committing of alleged criminal acts is cause for great concern and morally wrong.”
Cook said ABC managing director David Anderson had reassured him the television crew had no prior knowledge of what was planned by the protesters, but wrote it was difficult to comprehend how a TV crew could not understand that being there encouraged the activists.
“Wittingly or unwittingly, the ABC was complicit,” he said.
A statement from the public broadcaster said the Four Corners crew had received a tip-off to head to the address, but denied they had any knowledge of what the protest was about or that they were colluding with the activists.
Woodside chief executive Meg O’Neill.Credit: Trevor Collens
“A Four Corners team attended the protest action to gather material for a potential report later this year,” the statement said.
“They had no knowledge of what action was going to occur there. When they arrived the police were already in attendance, in numbers.
“The ABC team remained on public land observing what was happening and getting some vision, as journalists do. They at no time went on to private property or had any involvement in what was happening, the ABC team in no way colluded with the activists.”
Cook urged Buttrose and the ABC to reflect on the role it played in the incident.
“As we have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, single issue activists are now engaging in a new tactic – targeting public figures and their families in their homes,” Cook wrote.
“Unfortunately, this occurred too many times when the former WA Premier and his family were targeted at their own private home. This is completely unacceptable.”
Four climate protesters have been charged for targeting O’Neill’s home in a beachside suburb of Perth.
Jesse Noakes, 34, and Gerard Mazza, 31, appeared in Perth Magistrates Court on Wednesday after being charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and spending the night at the police watchhouse.
During the pair’s bail application, WA Police prosecutor Kim Briggs claimed investigators had CCTV footage of the men, and a co-accused, “surveilling” the City Beach property in the days leading up to the arrest.
“They prepared their actions in detail including surveillance and reconnaissance,” he said.
“They parked near the residence and Ms O’Neill’s departure time was worked out to maximise disruption.”
Briggs said the protesters, who were part of an activist group called Disrupt Burrup Hub, planned to damage the property and stop the Woodside boss from leaving.
Defence lawyers for the pair argued there was no evidence showing a conspiracy was committed and instead argued at the very most the charges should be downgraded to trespassing.
The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.
Most Viewed in National
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article