A law student has been beaten with a $1,200 fine and given a two-year correction order for shutting down a machine at the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle – and all it needed was a ‘stop’ button.
In a video on the Blockade Australia Facebook page she says: ‘My name is Kirsten Hoffman and I am a 23 year old law student and I just stopped a coal machine by pressing one of the buttons’.
Hoffman, who studies law at the Australian National University, says she’s “part of a team of Extinction Rebels camping and causing pacifist disruption for as long as it takes to achieve zero carbon emissions.”
Kirsten Hoffman, 23, was fined $1,200 and sentenced to a two-year community correction order
In her video of the coal dock in Newcastle she says ‘I’m also running around putting some Blockade Australia stickers on equipment’.
“And over there, Jacinta, a mother, is strapped to this machine to prevent this coal port from contributing to the climate and environmental emergency we are all currently in.”
Hoffman adds that “the only way to stop this is to actually do the work here and turn off machines.”
In the video, which was initially livestreamed, she says there are security guards nearby, but they have not yet approached her.
“For now, I can just sit back and plan the next machine I’m going to shut down.”
Looking around, she calls the harbor ‘a gloomy landscape, like the moon’. “I can’t believe we cut down trees to make things like this, just giant piles of black.”
After asking people to join her in direct action, she pays tribute to the local indigenous people.
“I must admit that today we are in the land of Worimi and Awabakal. The first nations, whose lands were stolen and have fought in resistance ever since.’
Hoffman goes on to say that her and her compatriots’ “pacifist disruption” is a continuation of what the local Aboriginal people have been doing for hundreds of years.
A climate activist turned off a machine at the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle, bringing the whole process to a halt
“So we won’t be the first to take on this fight and we won’t be the last,” she says.
“So I’m very grateful to their elder, past, present and emerging elders for sharing this land with us and for fighting and never giving up, because I draw a lot of strength from my friends in those communities.”
She adds that her native friends “teach me about British law, that’s what I study. And it’s just a bunch of white male judges versus native law.”
Hoffman then interrupts herself to tell her a car is coming after her and she has to run. But she continues to film. And talk.
The world’s largest coal port, take a look. I’m 23, I’m not very good at climbing, but I can run around.
“I’ve already turned this machine off, but they’ve turned off the rest because they can’t rearrange their coals when people are here.”
She says another woman is ‘locked up’ [to equipment] back there, and they’ll have to cut her out. It’s going to take ages. It’s hilarious.’
Hoffman does acknowledge that the port employees are cautious.
“They are concerned about our safety, but they shouldn’t be doing this job. Coal is going to kill our children.’
Activist Eric Herbert has been sentenced to 12 months in prison, with a six-month non-parole period
And she is not without difficulties in her own life. She points out that her dog had been unwell.
“This is in honor of my little dog Flinders that I’m here today to protect other little creatures. Good on your friend.’
That’s when the police arrive.
And there ended her adventure, and the video.
Hoffman is not the only climate activist who has faced sanctions in recent days.
Eric Serge Herbert, 22, pleaded guilty to obstructing a train locomotive, attempting to interfere with the operation of mining equipment and attempting to assist in blocking a railway locomotive.
Newcastle magistrate Janine Lacy sentenced the Sunshine Coast man to 12 months in prison on Monday, with a six-month unconditional period.
Herbert is part of a trio of glamorous identical twin sisters Elisha and Renee who say their brother is being treated like a “murderer.”
Identical ‘Twinstagram’ sisters Elisha and Renee Herbert (pictured), from Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, are furious that their triplets brother is being treated like a ‘rapist or a murderer’