A couple of days ago, rugby union player Dave Pocock and 7 others (including Rick Laird, a local farmer) were arrested for locking on to a piece of coal mining equipment in the Leard State Forest to slow the expansion of the Maules Creek coal mine which is devastating local livelihoods and ecologies and fuelling climate change. Dave wrote eloquently about his reasons for acting, which you can read here.
As a result of his actions, Dave has since been given an official warning by the ARU, who claim it has breached their code of conduct for players. He deserves our solidarity and support. So this is what I wrote to the ARU in response, and I encourage you to contact them too to express your support for David.
I was really disappointed to read that you have given David Pocock an official warning for his peaceful act of civil disobedience at the Leard Forest. The implication is that he had done something wrong, when in reality he had done something very right in taking nonviolent direct action to protect the planet and the future of humanity.
There is a significant difference between the usual self-interested or thoughtless acts of law breaking that footballers engage in, and selfless acts of thoughtful, principled civil disobedience such as that David engaged in. I would have hoped your code of conduct would reflect that distinction, as does my own code of conduct as a Baptist Church minister. I would respectfully suggest that such a clause be written in to such codes of conduct in future.
This official sancion against David for his actions demonstrates an organisation which is sadly out of touch with the reality of the world in which it operates. The ARU cannot ignore the reality of climate change, or any other social justice issue, as though it exists in a separate world. Moreover, acts like David’s make him a remarkable role model of integrity and selflessness, and the ARU’s response should reflect that.
I urge you to reconsider both your response to David, and any future act of nonviolent civil disobedience for social and ecological justice.
Rev. Simon Moyle
You can also express support on social media using the hashtag #StandWithPocock.