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Federal Government confirms spying on Lock the Gate protesters

In reply to a question by Greens Senator Chrisitne Milne in Federal Parliament today, Joe Ludwig, the Minister representing the Attorney-General, confirmed that the Federal Police were monitoring groups and individuals protesting against coal seam gas.

Senator Milne's question was in response to a statement by Federal Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, that he had asked the Attorney-General to monitor climate activists.

Senator Ludwig stated this surveillance was in line with the guidelines but nevertheless, this surveillance, including that of coal seam gas protesters, was occurring.

Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton said this decision by the Federal Government was part of the intimidation being practised by governments and the resource companies.

"In Queensland we have coal seam gas companies paying police to arrest Lock the Gate protesters and the Police being instructed to arrest protesters under the repressive sections of the Petroleum and Gas Act rather than the usual move-on powers," Mr Hutton said.

"Now we have the Federal Government buying into this repressive approach by spying on ordinary farmers and rural Australians pursuing legitimate, non-violent protest."

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