The Illawarra Knitting Nannas Against Gas (I KNAG), held a "knit-in", in Edgecliff in Sydney, at the office of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on March 21.
He was not there and had not answered the two simple questions the Nannas had left him earlier. “Do you support a ban on coal seam gas (CSG) mining in drinking water catchments?" and “Would you move federal legislation to enact a ban on CSG mining in drinking water catchments?”
"The [Mike] Baird government made draconian changes to the law that is blatantly designed to punish people like the Nannas for practising our democratic right to peaceful protest," said Nanna Cherry Hardaker. "And almost in the same breath, it announced vastly reduced penalties for mining companies that break the law.
“Both these actions fulfil Mr Turnbull's fears about the state government's conflict of interest as regulators of CSG mining, because, in Mr Turnbull's words: 'They have massive financial interest in projects going ahead.' He said this in an address to the NSW Hydrogeology Symposium in 2011."
The nannas would really have liked to ask Turnbull whether he personally support this law. No reply was forthcoming, even though he had been notified of the nannas' visit weeks before the knit-in.
Despite their peaceful presence, Nanna Rebecca Albury said she was very disappointed that, unlike other politicians and their staff, there was no welcome for the nannas. Rather, the staff felt it necessary to call police to the office to ensure that the nannas did not cause a disturbance.
Nanna Shirley Gladding said there is no ban on CSG mining in the Sydney water catchment and until there is our drinking water is not safe. The Illawarra KNAG will continue fighting for a ban in all drinking water catchments and spreading the message of the risks of CSG extraction to our water by holding monthly knit-ins at the offices of federal and state politicians. In April, they will visit deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek.