West Australian Premier Roger Cook has blasted three “extremist” climate activists over a thwarted plan to allegedly protest outside the home of the chief of Woodside Energy.
Counter-terrorism police were waiting for Jesse Noakes, 34, Gerard Mazza, 31, and a 19-year-old woman when they allegedly arrived with an ABC camera crew at chief executive Meg O’Neill’s Perth property on Tuesday.
Cook said he would demand answers from the public broadcaster about why it didn’t alert police of the Disrupt Burrup Hub group’s alleged plan.
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“I was absolutely appalled to hear about these extremists seeking to terrorise the (chief executive) of Woodside and her family in their home,” Cook said on Wednesday.
“This activity, these actions are just unacceptable and not on, and they must stop.”
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Cook said he respected the public’s right to protest “but the idea that you can go and terrorise someone in their homes just because they are doing their job is absolutely unacceptable”.
The premier said he had spoken with O’Neill to express his outrage and sympathy.
Cook said the ABC “clearly had prior notice” of the alleged plan.
Noakes, Mazza and the 19-year-old woman were arrested outside O’Neill’s home about 6.45am before they could carry out their alleged plan to spray paint O’Neill’s home and lock one of themselves to the premises.
The trio and a 21-year-old man were later charged with one count of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.
WA’s premier has slammed protest plans outside the home of Woodside Energy chief Meg O’Neill’s Perth home. Credit: AAPJesse Noakes (pictured) and two other activists were arrested outside the Woodside boss’s home. Credit: AAP
Noakes and Mazza spent the night behind bars before appearing in Perth Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
A prosecutor detailed the allegations against the group, which allegedly included detailed surveillance of O’Neill in the days leading up to the attempted protest.
The pair were granted bail, with a $10,000 surety and strict conditions, including that they don’t attempt to go near O’Neill.
The other two people charged were released on bail and are due to appear in the same court later in the month.
Noakes told reporters outside court he was surprised to be arrested while sitting in his car, and that he was at the property to assist the ABC team.
WA Premier Roge Cook has slammed three activists and will tackle the ABC over an alleged plan to protest outside the home of the boss of Woodside Energy. Credit: AAP
“I’d like to clarify from the outset that I bear Ms O’Neill no ill will. She seems like quite a sweet person,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the company of which she is (chief executive) is presiding over the development of the Burrup Hub which will emit more than 600 tonnes of carbon over the next 50 years.”
He denied being involved in the failed protest, but did say it was planned to be a peaceful action.
The ABC said a Four Corners team attended the property to gather material for a potential report and did not know about the alleged protest plan.
“Just prior to the action the team received a tip to go to an address, they had no knowledge what was at the address or that it was someone’s house,” a spokeswoman said.
She said the camera crew and reporter did not trespass onto O’Neill’s property and in “no way colluded with the activists”.
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