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RELEASED FROM PRISON!

Updated: Nov 3, 2023



It's been a week since I was released from prison and my feet are finally starting to touch the ground. Last Friday was such a joyous blast - thankyou everybody who helped make it happen and everybody who turned up! The party on Friday night at the Ferntree Pub was outrageous and I loved it - thankyou to everyone who performed and who turned up for a hug and a boogie!


I'd like to also thank everybody who wrote to me in jail - I tried very hard to reply to as many as possible - but will continue to reply to mail over the next few months because it was so fabulous getting so much mail! The officers in jail absolutely hated it!


Sorry to everybody who had mail returned to you (see pik below for the generic reason) and sorry to all who posted me something and it did not reach me at all (there are quite a few people whose mail has gotten completely lost). I'd love to post peoples' artwork that they sent to me! I'll try to reach out to check - but you can email me on coletteharmsen@gmail.com if you are happy for me to include your artwork and poetry on this website.


Below is the speech I made on Parliament lawns last Friday:


SPEECH FOR PRISON RELEASE DAY: 13TH OCTOBER 2023

DOING IT FOR THE FORESTS!


Thank you everybody for your 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?


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.


We don’t need to flood the prisons with peaceful environmental protesters to encourage positive change. We can force system change, not climate change.


I’m not doing this to be remembered. I’m doing this to remind people to ACT NOW for our whole planet. I’m doing this to remind people to act now for nature, for our wildlife, for our forests - and as a reminder to act now for our whole flipping planet!


I’d also like to do a callout to all the ladies of the Mary Hutchinsons Women’s Prison. Thank you for your friendship and remember to take care of yourselves and each other, and take care of Zeus.


I know that deep down everybody wants a safe and healthy environment to live in. I believe that everybody wants our government to fight for a healthier planet for all of us.


Last month on national threatened species day, the 7th of September, our Federal Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, chose to throw handfuls of cash at a captive breeding program for the endangered Maugean Skate, which is only found in Macquarie Harbour, without sound supporting evidence that it would actually work, and without choosing to reduce the environmental pollution and habitat destruction in Macquarie Harbour for the skate’s safe re-release.


Throwing handfuls of cash at a captive breeding program does not address the fundamental issues that threaten our endangered native species in the first place. This is a case of sweeping the bigger issues of wildlife habitat destruction and environmental pollution under the rug.


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 inspirational environmentalist, used to say:

“NEVER, EVER, EVER GIVE UP!”


Here's the poem I wrote - thankyou to Nick McKim's media person for the video!





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