Day by day raising resistance
to corporately corrupt government blog about organising resistance to the Repco Motor Rally
which took place in the Tweed Valley and beyond
3-6 September 2009.


Speaking out and weathering storms
Thursday 10 September 2009

Fatigue caught up to me on Sunday 6 September and I found myself on the mike confused and lost for words. Unbelievable? Well, i started up the Uki SpeakOut that day by welcoming folks to Kyogle.

So i have been in retreat, camping by the beach, sleeping in my bunk from early afternoon into the night, surrendering myself to the care and love of friends, hot baths and tender touch.

Not blogging and all the while a media storm blows about the outrageous and irresponsible stone throwing behaviour of the likes of me and my mates. Blowing and blowing over me like the rain storm that came and went that night by the ocean.

Wet sand under my bum as i meditated on sunrise and incoming waves. Said Padmasambhava "Nothing save mind is conceivable. Mind conceives all that comes into existence. All that comes into into existence is like a wave on an ocean." Letting go, letting go.

On Sunday I had stayed over in Kingscliff after the celebratory dinner of No Rally Group Inc at the Red Hot Thai restaurant on that evening. I ate sumptuously thanks to the $50 donation given by a Uki family who had become fans. "A quick thank you for all you do for our world. A port in a storm is always here for you ..." Paul wrote in my jounal.

The company was high spirited with success, the wine fine and Suzanne Gray a most delightful dinner companion. A generation apart she and i had shared yoga teachers. "Yoga costs less than therapy", her Tshirt said.

Before we parted i made a date with Sledge and Danielle for a relaxed coffee and croissant session, maybe a debrief and a spot of broadband in their splendid apartment overlooking the Cudgen River from 10 am next day.

When I got there I discovered that they had been up and at it since 6.30 am, web searching media reports and responding to media calls. Megan Jack and her mum Liffy were there and the atmosphere frenetic.

Sledge and Danielle was about to go off to meet a NBN Tv news crew at the sports reserve where the Motor Rally was breaking down. I offered to provide him with some No Rally backdrop visuals, take and maybe set up the Wrecko flags one last time.

But Sledge fell over himself to decline with firmness and politeness; he got into his good guy gear, grabbed his white hat and hurried away without me. And I was happy to have missed media calls on my phone and to feel no need to respond to them.

Lots of ambivalence about the role of in the Rally resistance, even in our triumph.


At the Saturday No Rally rally by Kyogle Road outside Barkers Vale School i had noticed a reluctance by such as Michael McNamara former president of No Rally Inc and Peter Lanyon of Seventh Generation Group to use the PA. Even the ever ready to speak Ian Cohen MLC preferred the screech of his tiny megaphone.

Maybe it was because i arrived late. I got carried away blogging and besides no one had specifically invited me to be there. Also I lacked urgency because I reckoned our battle won by the cancellation of the racing in Byrrill Creek the day before.

There were about 100 local people there when i arrived. Maybe 20 cops. A feisty crowd with placards and the famous was received as a spirit uplifting celebratory. Sgt Matt Roberts from Nimbin station greeted me cordially ("Haven't seen you since PM's visit, Graeme.") and helped me park outside the School so i could use its fence to rig flags.

The crowd was well warmed up. There had been a bum bearing photo opportunity and the NBN News crew had come and gone. Maybe 20 people had lined up to drop their daks, some to reveal their best lingerie. Wimps!

When the Rally cars came through it was received with much chanting and pinkie gesturing. Out of respect for the no obstruction agreement struck with the cops, no one moved to blockade the road.

Feel good activism it was. And it felt good. Lots of local people turned out and neighbours were meeting each other, our resistance affirmed and its community based growing. The Goddess was there looking benign (at previous manifestations She had been advocating bridge burnings!) quoting back to me my words now published in the front page lead story of the Nimbin Good Times:

"The more Rally Australia and its corporate courtiers in government push this Rally upon the green loving folk in them here hills, the more they will come together and the stronger resistance will grow."

The Goddess manifests weekly on the Hemp Hour (2pm Fridays) on NIM-FM and She confessed that She was part of the on-air, rumour making mischief that put the fear of frozen roadkill being thrown at Rally cars into the mouth of Superintendent Michael Kenny.

Janeki was in full flight with her screeching megaphone, dressed in a Polite hat, a No Rally Tshirt, a fluoro "Martial" vest upon the back of which she had written: "Show us the evidence!" She was worked up and blowing hard about the accusations of stone throwing that had been propagated by the Police Media Unit.

In passing Janeki came to me grinning to deny she had told me to fuck off out of Byrrill Creek. I had misheard, she said. Whatever you say, Janeke.

I also heard from Peter Lanyon the story of his arrest in Byrrill Creek the day before. Seems he was walking down the road with the Hon Ian Cohen MLC for a photo shoot near the starting place when ordered off the road by a Public Order and Riot cop.

Since no obstruction was happening nor intended, he refused to comply, choosing arrest rather that comply with police tyranny. But soon after the cops realised the error of their ways; that they had exceeded their powers, had not given him the right words of warning, and duly un-arrested him.

After the passing of the Rally cars, Janeki organised a convoy to slow drive to Green Pigeon west of Kyogle. But there was confusion and fear about this when reports came in that the community hall there had been double booked. A memorial for a young man 5 years dead was in progress and his mother and mates aggressively pro Rally.

What i noticed about Janeki is that for all her martial art training she is ever quick to talk up fear of what might happen. Bikies at the pub, vengeful Rally fans and so on.

One does not build movement by talking up fear. Quite the contrary. Fear contracts, courage expands.

Cultivating courage, encouraging risk taking, is how resistance grows. Uprisings thrive on shared joy and that joy comes from the direct and shared experience of courage. People who take no risks live in dejection and regret. People who engage risk are enriched in spirit; they have stories to tell and life lessons learned.


The slow drive to the west was aborted but i wasn't up for it anyway. Driving about following a Rally and inviting harassment from cops sounded like a stupid idea to me. Indeed a couple of women arrived later at Barkers Vale school to say that they won a negligent driving charge for their slow driving on a declared fast driving Rally day.

Instead I went and joined friends at a roadside Chai stall set up by the entrance to the Sphinx Rock community on Kyogle Road. I put out the Wrecko flags there and angled the signage of to maximise visibility to the Rally drivers and their fans returning to Kingscliff from racing west of Kyogle.

The chai walllah was Johnny Chai, well known for the chai services he has provided to protest actions past. He had occupied the school bus shelter there and draped from it a save the Earth banner which he had painted and behind a tarp was rigged under shade of trees, a kind of lounge retreat for mulling up or whatever.

About 10 people had gathered in support, most of them residents of the Spinx Rock MO and well known to each from protest actions past, the Timbarra campaign in particular.

A circle of friends, I sat cross-legged on the ground with my flag sewing companion, Marie, beside me enjoying the afternoon sun, the cannabis and the music, waving to the passing cars. The beautiful, brown skinned and dreadlocked Simietta was there beside me and we were all conspicuously hippie, conspicuously at ease.

To the Rally drivers and their fans - and there were lots of them, maybe a 800 cars passed over a 2 hour period - we were an object of curiosity and contempt.

We attracted hand gestures (the thumbs down "Go Rally" and "Wanker", the disdainful shaking of a loose wrist) and also lots of verbal abuse. Of the latter we were amused by the demonstrable poverty of Rally fan imagination. Most common retort was "Get a job!" Next most common was "Get a life!" and here we were in paradise! Most bizarre was: "Go home!"

From a few cars things were thrown. Water bottles mostly but also a carton of milk, a bar of soap and on one occasion some stones. No one was hurt but a French photographer getting the image of our archetypal hippie resistance was hit on the head by a plastic bottle even as he had his camera to his eye photographing Johnny Chai.

Johnny was against any provocative responses from us; just peace signs. But i was for waving my pinkie and i did, happily stoned and dancing to guitar music in the golden light of the setting sun, one hand and one pinkie waving free.


Alan Roberts aka "The General" of Byrrill Creek, found me there and he had stories to tell. And art to deliver.

From his car he took the 1.2 m x 1 m plywood sign ("No Rally! Rack off Rees") which i had painted and delivered to him in Byrrrill Creek last Thursday, now in four pieces. He assembled the shards on the ground and told us the story.

On a slope above the starting area, he had mounted the sign: private property of Rally resister. When the Public Order and Riot cops arrived the next morning, two trail bikie cops (the same as stopped me the night before) ripped through the property (the Special Events legistlation gives them such powers) and torn the sign down.

But not only did they tear it town, they broke it into four pieces, threw the pieces down the slope onto some hard ground and trampled them with their boots. Alan pointed to a stone, a piece of road metal, still lodged in the 3 mm ply.

Their Repco duty done they got on their bikes. And fell off! Instant karma. One of them when tumbling down the embankment.

A resistance art piece with a story to tell. With the help of Michael Balderstone the pieces were screwed onto a frame and will abide ever more in the Nimbin Museum. Maybe.


Next day I visited the No Rally Chai Stall before heading off to Uki to set up for the protest there. While there the cops arrived wanting to know what was planned. The man in charge was Det Sgt Frank Natoli and he was dressed in his version of plain clothes: board shorts and joggers. He seemed to expect a battalion of ferals would be assembling at the Rally Resistance Chai stall. If only.

I was curious about how come a detective had been given the job. Seems be had been over in Kyogle on a murder case when he was called to manage the policing of this protest and I guessed it was because he was smart, the most competent organiser the Tweed command had at hand in a time of ineptitude.

Whatever, hats off to Frank for he did indeed prove competent, cooperative and polite. He suggested i go to Uki earlier rather than later and radioed ahead to let police patrols know i was coming.

When i passed the Uki pub, it was crowded with well leathered bikies and I think it was about this that he was being cautious. With plenty of time to set up, Trish shouted me a glass of wine in the Uki Cafe which seemed so twee compared to the Chai stall from which i had come.

What a splendid protest action it became. Maybe 250 people the biggest turn out of all the No Rally rallies and more people than i had ever seen before in Uki village. Frank wanted the crowd on one side of the road but when that proved unmanageable he accepted lines of protesters, their placards and banners on both sides of Kyogle Road and regulated the traffic by stopping and gathering the Rally cars outside the village and convoying them through in groups.

The PA came into its own. Now holding back by the No Rally Group Inc people this time. Great street oratory by both Michael Mcnamara and Peter Lanyon and others. Also chanting.

I contributed a few words but mostly i sat behind Peacebus in a bus shelter grinning with Sam Bernard, a Sphinx Rock mate who had returned from Thailand to be part of the Rally resistance. Laid back I left mike management to cooperative and respectful anarchy, occasionally having a say. Telling a short version of the Eureka rebellion of 1854 for example, repeating the Eureka Oath that Australian people recall whenever they come up against corrupt and tyrannous government.

"We swear by the Southern Cross that we will stand truly together and fight to defend our rights and liberties."

What a magnificent spectacle we were, the mighty peak of Wollumbi, mother guardian of the valley, our backdrop and our protector. And how Earth inspired were our words of resistance and our defence of the critters of them there hills.

John Seed came by to suggest that maybe we should award Repco with some kind of good corporate citizen award for the good work they have done bringing together and focussing our resistance. For the Earth! To the dust!


Because of the delays caused to Rally traffic by our protest in Uki, they and we were late assembling in Kingscliff for the final show. Supposed to start at 4 pm I didn't leave Uki with flags bundled and tied down till after 5 pm, setting up in failing light.

I was disappointed to learn that Detective Natoli was knocking off. "Going for a drink, mate," he said. "Been a big day."

And sure enough the No Rally Group Inc organisers of the action had not included parking in their planning and I arrived to find a squad of cops telling me to piss off. "The boss doesn't want it", they said naming an inspector.

To the rescue came our police liaison officer, Sgt Gary Sheenan. "Calm down Graeme. This show is not just about you." A good man, our Gary.

It was soon sorted. The lovely Suzanne Gray, yoga teacher from Palm Beach and No Rally Inc organiser, moved her car and with guidance from police i was able to park directly across the road from the exit to the ground from where the Rally crowd was now disgorging.

Flags, placards and banners lined the road outside the sports ground, temporary fencing and about 20 police stood by to keep the pro Rally and No Rally crowds apart as the fans came streaming out.

No holding No Rally Group Inc back from the PA now. Slow learners i reckon but now they grasped the power of the PA and the power of SpeakOut and were magnificent in their strong and heart felt street oratory.

Rally fans jeered from passing cars but i didn't have any sense of aggro; it was as if our protest was all part of the excitement and action of that day. And wonder of wonders, a crowd of Rally fans collected across the road, genuinely listening to what the No Rally Group Inc speakers had to say. This is remembered as the high point of the day.

The protest closed with some good-service awards organised by Suzanne Gray. She had brought a collection of egg cup sized, plastic trophy cups. Sledge, Danielle, Michael, Janeke and Peter were all given cups with much richly deserved applause and gratitude for their work.

Far and away the award for most loved hero of the resistance is Green Councillor Katie Milne, she who held her ground in the face of Tweed Shire Council bullying and she who put her house on the line to back injunction actions. "We love you Katie," the crowd crooned.

I was beginning the packing up when Suzanne came around to the other side of the van a few minutes later to say, she had an award for my services too. As an after thought and as an aside to the other things he was saying on the PA, Sledge presented the wee cup: "Thanks for the PA," he said.

Sound man for No Rally Group Inc; it was as close to acceptability and recognition for my efforts as i could expect. I looked around at the faces in the crowd. Beaming love most were, and the applause was warm.


Shit had been flying in the background. This email came by though the sender on the No Rally Group Inc list hadn't expected me to see it.

Hi Folks,

I think I know who started the rock hurling rumour to the gold coast media - the rat in our midst Graeme Dunstan himself!

As if riling up the community earlier with threats of fires from his Lismore protest (which could've ended in pro rally supporters doing just that to get us into trouble) - I just found out from his blog dated 2nd September that he had the NBN tv gold coast Media come to where he was in Nimbin the day before the Byrrill Creek protests to I quote 'put more fuel on the fire of Rally resistance'. He was basically jacked that none of us were treating him like King Aquarius of the planet Nay Nob and that we didn't prioritise his desire for another speakout.

I was on Graeme Dunstans site last night - he's got some massive tickets on himself - it's actually quite a crack up to read if you have time re. the carbon emitting size of his ego. He claims on his site that he was in ASIO when he was in the army and used to be employed by them to undercover the student meetings around the vietnam war. But he crossed to the other side!

I was reading what the pro rally supporters were saying about the rock hurling etc on a motorsport blog last night- they had a link to Graeme's site with a comment something like 'the hippies were having some hashish while they were making protest signs - (makes our 6 pack by the tv look lame)'.

Graeme posted the info below on his site the day before the Byrill Creek protests - is it any wonder there were so many cops their and all kinds of assumptions like rock hurling - is Graeme a shit stirrer or is he just plain stupid - whether he is conscious of it or not he did infiltrate our community and privacy and put us in the firing line for division within our greater community by putting this blog up for all the world to see.

All this crap about his Duntroon days and his military tactics add to nothing when he puts the people who live here in peril once he has been and gone. Good on you Janeki for telling him to Fuck Off and anyone else who saw this trouble coming.

A No Rally Group Inc organiser had passed this comment onto Benny Zable, currently in Woodstock USA. She wrote:

Dear Benny,

I don't know you well but I trust you. Do you have any idea what has happened here this weekend when the rally was on? That the Byrill Ck stage was stopped by people who put rocks on the road, and that a rumour hit the media that rocks were thrown at rally cars? Angry headlines all over the world, but as far as we know, it's just not true.

Graeme Dunstan came on the scene just a few weeks ago. His presence has been the source of much disagreement and people have left the group as a result. I have to say that while we did some great protesting over the weekend, we've been severely damaged by distorted media coverage.

Graeme went to a meeting at Byrill Creek a few days before the rally and posted this description of it on his WEBSITE (below). He told the press that things would be happening at Byrill Creek. He told the press that people should light fires to 'smoke out' the rally cars. There's some evidence he may have suggested to NBN news that rocks would be thrown.

Do you know him well? Can you please tell me what you think?

I think you are genuine and I trust you.

Thanks, Alice (NOT her real name which she wants withheld)

Benny copied it to me and I replied:

Oh ye of little faith, Alice.

"Came on the scene a couple of weeks ago", indeed. What scene are you referring to?

If you are talking Rainbow Region community and politics, I was on the scene before you were born. Have some respect. And consider yourself forgiven.

No accident that your email was copied to me. Benny is an upfront guy and friend of many seasons; many an action we have shared together, often arguing about tactics, again since before you were born. Now your dark doubts and the malicious gossip of your friends are revealed. Karma.

Said the Buddha: "Three things will not long be hidden. What are they? The sun, the moon and the truth."

The truth is that no rocks were thrown at Rally cars and the lies about rock throwing have been propagated by the Police Media Unit.

Hold firmly to the truth! This is Gandhi's satyagraha principle. Be calm of mind and let the lies unravel.

Then marvel at what has happened here. One boulder placed on the road and forewarned before the race, stopped the Byrrill Creek racing stage and made world headlines. That rock achieved more than all the letter writing, all the legal process, all the banner and placard painting and waving, all the protests in the streets. It stopped the Rally.

That rock is the reason the Rally will not return. It represents the rock of resident resistance, the undeniable solidarity of the opposition, the elegant simplicity of our resistance tactics and the promise of more to come.

Building community resistance to corrupt and unresponsive government is what i do. Let me tell you, one does not get liked doing such work and particularly if it is effective. Seems to me that most people are asleep most of the time and when not asleep, deluded and filled with fear by the Tv/News Ltd world in which they subsist. My very fearlessness evokes fear in them.

So it goes. Of what I have done, written and said, I am neither ashamed nor am I apologising; nor censoring what has gone down here. The truth will not harm you.

Let the narky nark. I am happy that my blog has been noticed and happy with the good people i have met and been befriended by during this campaign.

For the Earth!


To which Benny replied:

Dear All

I just want to say that the action that Graeme took was brave and meets the criteria of Non violence direct action.

I believe it was done in a way that did not threaten anyone lives.

This action will definitely make authorities think twice about forcing there gas guzzling show on in our area again.

Everyone who prepared and campaigned to stop the rally, contributed to this final obstacle which Graeme admitted party to.

Well done all.

Well done Graeme.

Yours Benny Zable

To which Alice, who didn't what the emailed gossip published, had this to say.

Hey Blind Commissioner,

Your actions are the height of arrogance. Your unimpeachable belief in your rightness doesn't make it OK to invade my privacy. Your cleaving to your own perception of reality, whatever that may be, does not make your actions unhurtful to me. You're no better than those you claimed to stand next to me and fight against. You're a ghost who feeds on attention. You're the epitome of the hypocritical ego that finds its greatest gratification in pretending to be free. I will never have respect for you, Graeme, I don't judge people by their self-professed pedigree. I believe in caring about how people feel. Post that on your boring, self congratulating blog.

To which i replied:

dear Alice,

If you don't mind, I will blog that one.

It's good writing and a warning to all who follow after.

May the storm of your rage pass soon. May your mind be at ease.

How about i take your name off it? But leave the text. Great reading.

Alice, you have been party to a trade in gossip, a questioning of my reputation, and a clawing and shredding of my credibility. And covertly too. And you accuse me of being a hungry ghost. Give me a break.

And i have blogged that stuff just as i have blogged my interactions with the cops - as honestly as I can because this is what happens when people rise up. The people with the most visibility and the most daring get attacked and the most vicious attacks come from those they are standing beside and working for in common cause.

Dear one, you are young and i am old. In my eyes you have grace, beauty, bright intelligence and a mess of swirling emotions. Beautiful to see you feeling so strongly. But in the end they are just feelings and they pass.

"Cling not to experiences; ever changing are they." says the Dharma. And gossip is specifically named as NOT being Right Speech.

If my words and attitudes seem arrogant and righteous to you, may be it is because they come with the authority of an elder. For that's what i am: old and long experienced in the ways of social action.

That blog of mine has been major in shaping the No Rally campaign and its media responses. It has had and is having lots of readers including journalists and cops. Why? I reckon it's because it reads as direct experience, authenticity unmediated by any committee. And it is wry and entertaining to read.

People seem to want to read it and talk about it, is what i notice. I must be doing something right.

Occupying pubic place, getting noticed, speaking up and speaking out.

For the Earth!

To the dust!




For those interested in my Buddhist practice it comes from a Mahayana teaching bestowed upon me by Theravadin teacher, the Venerable Santititho, resident of Wat Buddhalavarn in Wedderburn NSW. German born, he is an age mate of mine and the most senior Western monk in the Australian Sangha.

Out of his love and compassion for my social action work he introduced me to the Dyana Buddhas and in particular to Ratnasambhava, Dyana Buddha of the South; his element the Earth, Ratnasambhava is the generosity of the Earth.

His special gift he has power is to bestow is to root out the subtle poisons of pride and establish even minded in the face of gain and loss, fame and disgrace, praise and blame and pleasure and pain - the so called Eight Vicissitudes. Om Ratnasambhava Tram!

That's what I practice. That's how i train my mind. Same same. Best i can.

Also the Vajra practice of Precious Guru Padmasambhava: total presence, fearless and hopeless.

Here is how 12th centry Tibetan saint, Milarepa, described the path.

"Like a lion i have no fear.
Like an elephant i have no anxiety.
Like a madman i have no pretension
and no hope."

And do you want to know how to make God laugh? Tell Him for plans for the future.

Victory to the People
Friday 4 September 2009

The Repco Motor Rally was stopped today on the racing stage on the Byrrill Creek Road.

Seems residents and their friends put themselves on the road dancing about with yellow flags and also sizeable rocks. Also cows.

The first three cars made the run but none came following after. The police and safety officers had decided that there could be no certainty that there would not be more rocks, more people and more cows on the road. was set up with flags along Kyogle Road by the Byangum Bridge about 15 km away. There were about 100 No Rally resisters gathered there with placards arrayed waving their bent pinkies ("No one thinks big of speeding") at the passing traffic, responding to the alternating jeers and the cheers.

When I saw three black Land Cruisers of the Public Order and Riot Police go hurrying past with lights flashing at just after starting time, I knew we had success. Half an hour later a phone call from Byrrill Creek confirmed it.

The news went national and international instantly, riding on the Motor Rally's own publicity and counter to it, a PR disaster for the organising group, Rally Australia.

The stone age resistance of Byrrill Creek is likely a mortal wound. People from the Gold Coast will hardly be encouraged to buy tickets to the event this Saturday and Sunday by such bad media and the promise of such uncertainty.

And tickets are already selling a discount. The opening night in Murwillumbah last night was poorly attended.

Seems Rally Australia is so cash strapped that it had to go back to the NSW government to ask for more subsidy just to get the international rally cars off the wharf in Brisbane. And so cash strapped it has provided none of the barriers, koala fencing and so forth that it had promised.

Likely the event may go belly up. Goodbye Repco Motor Rally. No Rally in the Valley!

Let the NSW Labour government which foisted this event upon the people of the Tweed Valley hear this message. You next!


One of the stories i heard from a Byrrill Creek resident, who came down to our roadside rally after, was that she had talked to the drivers of those first three Rally cars. Top drivers, they had climbed out of their seats and were sitting about waiting for further instructions.

Not angry in the least at the resident protesters; rather they were appalled to learn that the Rally route was through World Heritage rainforest.

"What kind of government do you have that would allow this?" they asked.

Likewise the German Rally crew, I heard from a different and German speaking source, were expressing their concern at racing through national parks.


At the end of the day I got a call from Charlene King of NBN News Lismore, she trying to sort her itinerary for the next day. I had directed Byrrill Creek boulder rollers to Charlene, given them her mobile and urged them call her with eye witness accounts.

But Charlene was running with the Police Media Unit version of events. To wit: protesters had thrown stones at the passing Rally cars.

Not the first time nor will it be the last time the Police Media Unit has lied. Some people may be outraged but not me.

Like the threat of frozen road kill, this myth making story has a delicious rebellious ring about it. Stoned in Byrrill Creek!

Let the Rally Australia organisers believe it and be afraid.

Why are police lying? To cover their collective arses. Because despite their numbers, their weaponry and their special powers, they have shown themselves to be impotent against a broad based community direct action campaign.

They have lost face big time and no doubt their vindictive masters in the corrupt NSW government are looking for heads to roll, like boulders down an embankment on Byrrill Creek road.

The Rally was always going to be impossible to police but that truth has been inadmissable at all levels of command. And on top of that, the human factors of ineptitude and lack of local knowledge. See story below.


There were two arrests on the day however. First was Peter Lanyon, much loved former principal of Barkers Vale school, also a former ALP candidate, and early active as a No Rally organiser. I could not get the story straight. Seems he was walking down the road at Byrill Creek Road when arrested and taken away. No one clear about the charge at this time

Scott Sledge, spokesperson for No Rally Group Inc, was also arrested taken away by our police liaison officer at Byangum Bridge to Murwillumbah with the promise of a swift return. But instead held there and charged with offences relating to painting No Rally signs on roads the night before.

Seems someone had seen he him at work and reported the rego of his car to the cops. At their Kingscliff residence, he and his partner Danielle had had a visit from detectives in the night. Now charges laid.

This is what police liaison policy has become in this protest - arrest and intimidation of the leadership.

With at least 150 officers rostered on they need to show some scalps.

How many police officers would it take to secure a race of Rally cars through forest loving communities? At what cost?


We were festive and we were feisty at Byangum Bridge. The Wrecko flags flew proudly magnificently from a line of bollards along the road, a mock corproate sponsorship. They added height to a varied array of hand painted placards and banners.

I had camped over in the reserve and was setting up from 6 am. People gathered slowly from 8 am parents with school children and by 9 am maybe 60 cars parked and 100 people.

The Rally cars and their supporters came by from Murwillumbah on their way to Byrill Creek and we held up placards and also wagged our little fingers at them. A few were seething with resentment, revving their engines, hanging out of windows and responding creatively with the middle finger gesture and shouts of "Go Rally!" and "Get a job!"

But most of the drivers were too cool to respond to such distractions. Eyes on the road. And the next corporate sponsorship.

But every proRally car load was followed by at least one tooting No Rally supporter, often the very next car. In particular fire and ambulance vehicles, the guys who get called to road accidents, signalled their support for our resistance.

When it became known that the Rally had been stopped in Byrrill Creek our spirits took flight and our No Rally protest became celebratory; dancing by the road, slogans over the PA as the disappointed Rally drivers came by returning to Kingscliff for lunch.

Earlier in the day our No Rally rally was addressed by the Hon Ian Cohen NSW Greens MLC. He told us of the two hour debate in the NSW Legislative Council the day before, Ian one voice, the majority of the Upper House pro Rally. He said he much preferred to be standing amongst us folks, the resisters.

A convoy of about 30 slow drivers went off for a cruise and Ian went with them. When they returned and learned of the stopped Rally, Ian addressed the crowd again.

"Well done," he said. "Give yourselves a pat on the back."


The day before I called in a Byrrill Creek to deliver a sign ("No Rally! Rack off Repco!") to a Byrrill Creek friend. It had taken me most of the day to mark out and paint.

He was preparing a stone placing action and wanted me to stay but I reckoned the Wrecko flags were better deployed at Byangum Bridge where more people would see them. Including the Rally cars as they went to and returned from Byrrill Creek racing stages.

I wished him well and rolled back down Byrrill Creek Road at sunset.

On the way I passed Public Order and Riot Police cars coming the other way and when i got to Kyogle Road junction I realised they were behind me. At the flash of blue lights and a brief whirl of a siren, I pulled over in Kyogle Road.

An officer in an odd uniform took my license. Seems he was a trail bike riding cop.

Pulled over behind him were five other police vehicles, four of them black Land Cruisers of the Public Order and Riot squad. I walked down the line of cars and cops (10 of them) and was introduced to Inspector Steven Blair. A big gutted man, he clambered out of his car with difficulty, adjusted his belt, fixed on his silver braided hat on his head and ignored my hand shake.

"What's this bamboo and speakers on the roof? And this ("Stop the Rally") signage?" he asked pulling at the frame.

An old style cop, his first impulse was to defect any vehicle bearing dissent. He asked me to flash my lights and having seen his intent, other junior cops scrambled to check my tyres, stumbling down the steep shoulder of the road and shining torches on my worn but legal tyres.

"We are here because we are concerned about road safety," declared Inspector Baird righteously.

He was a man for whom lying officially came easy. When I protested that he was present to facilitate dangerous driving by Rally drivers, he claimed he didn't know anything about that.

While someone checked my license of their computer I asked my delegated guard where they had come from. Some had been rostered on from Glen Innes; others were Sydney based.

I noticed that most of them were crown sergeants and I guessed they had been doing a reconnaissance of Byrrill Creek Road in preparation for the deployment ofd their squads at the action next day.

I told Inspector Blair i was on my way to Byangum Bridge, the police agreed protest assembly area. He said he had never heard of Byangum Bridge. "I am not local," he said. On me he tried the names given to our temporary privatised roads by Rally Australia. "I am not a corporate," I replied with a shrug.

Now I knew I was dealing with profound confusion and incompetence. Strangers to the area doing a reconnaissance in the dark for an action happening at 10.15 am the next morning, what did they expect to discover? What preparations to prevent obstruction of the Rally could they make?

All make work for police. Next day I was to count 11 of these Public Order and Riot squad cars, each with four officers on board.

I wheeled away from my guard and walked down the line of vehicles and asked for my license back. "If you are laying no charges, i want to be on my way."

"Please be patient. The computer is having connection problems," I was told. No signal reception for their state of the art communication electronics! And they were just now finding out.

A couple of minutes later the trail bike riding cop handed me back my license.

"Do you have any cannabis aboard? " he asked.

What was on that computer screen? Wanting to be gone, I suppressed an impulse to tell him to go look for pot in Cullen Street, Nimbin. Instead I shook my head in wonder.

Outcast from Byrrill Creek
Wednesday 2 September 2009

My work with the SpeakOuts and media to talk up direct action to stop the Repco Motor Rally has born fruit.

All the lead up media mentions our resistance and builds the expectation and maybe a self fulfilling prophecy too. Now any action which stops the Rally will get national and international attention.

I had proposed a third SpeakOut for tomorrow in Tweed Heads but cancelled it when i could get no support from No Rally Group Inc spokespersons.

My plan was to create an event to attract the Gold Coast Tv news on the evening before the racing began. But neither Sledge nor Fiona thought it a priority.

Some people understand the power of SpeakOuts in terms of movement building. Occupying public place, speaking out and speaking up fearlessly makes a difference. At minimum it emboldens them that are present. And it gets noticed.

But some folk are blind to what is in front of their eyes, lost in some personal drama or resentful that movement leadership has been usurped by a "grandstander". For that's what i am being called by the non interventionist faction of No Rally Group Inc.

But I had no sooner called off the Tweed Heads Repco SpeakOut than i got a call from NBN Tv Gold Coast for a comment on Rally resistance. The phone call was followed up with a camera crew sent from Lismore to find me in Nimbin. Neither Fiona nor Sledge were contactable.

The crew video-ed me sewing flags on the deck of my friend's house in Jalambah.

Happily I was able to put more fuel on the fire of Rally resistance without doing a big day driving to Tweed Heads, setting up, fending off Regulatory Officers, being visible and outspoken and packing up again.

To be promising direct action without being specific about what, where and when, is a delicate line to walk. I know stuff is being organised, but i don't know and don't want to know specifics.

My authority comes not from any title associated with No Rally Group but rather from being a veteran peace and environmental activist, an elder with a story to tell, invoking memories of the Battle of Terania Creek, someone with an insight into the significance of the story of resistance which is now unfolding.

What's more my Duntroon days have left me with an understanding of battle, strategy and tactics.

General Paton was famous for his genius predicting where a battle would turn, what ground to seize, what ground to defend. In that tradition i reckon Byrrill Creek in where the No Rally turning fight will be.

Byrrill Creek Road is a racing stage on a one lane unsealed road that winds up a forested valley south of Wollumbin, the first entry of the Rally into the forests that make the Tweed Valley so spectacular.

With an estimated 70 households including long established MOs (= multiple occupancy, hippy settlements from the 70s and 80s), Byrrill Creek is a close knit community and its residents are angry.

The Repco Motore Rally juggernaut - 90 racing cars plus support vehicles, helicopters and sirens to scare away wildlife - will be going past their properties and denying them access to their road for the day; even the school bus is to be delayed.

Furthermore Byrrill Creek residents have fought battles in the past to defend their conservation values and green lifestyles.

Stop the Rally there on the first day and we will win the battle for the Rally media.

And if this hap[pens the outcome will be, at minimum, Byrrill Creek Road will be part excluded from future Rally racing, and likely that the entire Rally event will decamp from the Tweed Valley next time. If there is a next time.

The "Battle of Byrrill Creek" is what i forecast; pre-emptively coining a phrase.

But being an outsider speaking of, or for, residents is fraught and when the crew had gone and the sewing was done, i took a drive over to Byrrill Creek to check in.

I wanted to help and in my mind was an action i wanted to talk up and for which I had some young warriors interested.

Janake and about 6 other residents were out front of the Pretty Gully community hard at work painting up more banners.

The multitude of hand painted banners and placards is a feature of this campaign. Everyone it seems has at least one of their own and it has become difficult to fit them all in a frame when a group photo is taken.

Janake has been a mountain of strength on the No Rally campaign, working on it tirelessly for more than 4 weeks. She is a bit of a mountain of a woman too in her own way, fleshed out, strong jawed, stout legged, bare footed, grounded in her community and martial arts trained.

But not web savvy which means that the flight of web words that goes with modern organising passes her by.

A joint came circulating by ("Boom Shanka!") and I tried to get my business heard. No way. Constant interruptions and a jangle of cross conversations.

I never got to finish saying what was on my mind and had given up trying when Janake sat down beside me. She put her arm around me and pulled me close. Her ample flesh was warm and soft. i felt like a chicken under its mother's wing and snuggled closer.

"Listen," she said. "When you leave this place, fuck off and don't come back."

"We don't want you to organise anything here. You don't live here and wont' have to live with the consequences afterwards."

This was Janake, the wrathful deity of Pretty Gully, protecting her home from me and Rally cars.

Condescension, disrespect, arrogance and ignorance underlay her statement. But there was truth in it too: nomads do not have property rights. But sitting there, oh so snug, my primary response was not anger or resentment, but rather relief. No more organising to be done! A weight off my shoulders.

Snubbed by the No Rally Inc spokesperson on Tweed Heads SpeakOut and now ordered out of Byrrill Creek, effectively I had become an outcast in the No Rally movement even as my work was bearing fruit! Blessed relief.

The fruit was there in the headlines of today's Northern Star: "World Rally Madness. Extremists threaten to use frozen road kill to disrupt a race expected to be watched my millions across the world".

This is a furphy of the most bizarre kind, the stuff of great comedy, given credibility by coming from the mouth of Superintendent Michael Kenny of the Tweed Local Area Command.

But this is what happens when resistance is promised and expected but without there being anything specific: imaginations run riot.

But likewise amongst the fear-bellies within the Rally resistance. I had become the object for projection of their fears. A whispering campaign in the background and outright suspicion from proper people who know better how campaigns and their media work.

For example consider this email from Wendy Sibley:

"I understand how you feel, but please refrain from any actions that could cause adverse reactions or publicity. The organisers have, to date, ensured publicity is positive and have worked extremely effectively to create long-term processes to resolve the problem.

Please don't create inappropriate controversy which will inevitably backfire and work in the rally organisers' favour - they are just waiting to pounce and twist anything that's done or said!"

Or this one from Marie Cameron:

Hello Graeme
I am most concerned about your involvement/take over of the NRG's.
Over the years I have watched your actions and I have repeadly seen how your actions are all about you. Do you see the members of the NRG's as extras in your actions?
Will you honour the rights of the NRG members or will you do your usual and put yourself first as you take centre stage before the TV cameras.
I don't trust you and I'm concerned that you about to derail the careful planning of the many for your own grandeur.

Before leaving Byrrill Creek i called on another resident and was received with much more respect and welcome. Not the total outcast.

Light hearted I departed from Janake with the agreement that i would see her again on Friday morning at Byangum Bridge where I would array flags and banners and sit about and serve tea to the other protesters.

To secure this site as a place to assemble, the No Rally Group have promised no obstructive activities. I expect we will be contained by a horde of cops but there will be no aggro.

Just another day and another public place protest with my mates in blue watching cars go by.

Bearing witness.

For the Earth!


Preparing and praying for direct action
Tuesday 1 September 2009

Three days out for the first race of the Repco Motor Rally as i write this.

All the letter writing, all the petitions, all the critter and citizen protests, and all the injunctions and legal process have come to nought and the Repco Rally juggernaut (90 racing cars plus support vehicles and helicopters) is gonna roll.

Now is the time for direct action. Now is the time for the warriors.

Byrrill Creek Road is likely where the action will take place and on Friday 3 September the first racing day of the Rally.

Stop on the first day and we will have won the media battle. Any other obstructions that come after will be cream on the cake of our success.

Byrrill Creek Road is a single lane that winds up a beautiful forested valley west of Wollumbin. Mostly unsealed, it serves some 70 households.

For 5.30 am and for the duration of the Repco Motor Rally racing on 3 September,their road will be effectively privatised thanks to special legislation passed by the NSW government to override 12 different pieces of hard won heritage and environment protection legislation.

Byrrill Creek residents are angry and they have fought direct action campaigns before.

Who knows what form the resistance will take? Organising must be covert and a heady mix of courage, daring and civil disobedience.

I attended a residents meeting at the Pretty Gully community last Sunday near where the racing begins. Maybe 40 people there and lots of excitement, tension. and confusion.

Are we brave enough? Do we have the spirit that won us the Battle of Terania Creek of 1978 or the spirit of the Eureka rebellion that won us democracy in 1854?

At this time we can only pray.

It's been an interesting and challenging campaign stretching across effected communities from Kingscliff, through Murwillumbah and the Tweed Valley to Kyogle and beyond the Richmond Ranges and drawing together a diverse representatives of community resentment and resistance.

Wendy Sibley and the Seventh Generation group over at Kyogle have been prominent and also the No Rally Group Inc for which Michael McNamara, a deputy principal at Murwillumbah High School was chair.

But when negotiations failed, when shonky environmental impacts became unchallengeable and injunctions were dismissed, the dynamic changed. The negotiators and letter writers, accepting the inevitability of the Rally, began talking reviews.

"Hang on a mo!" said the activists. Direct action works and the best way to stop the Rally is to stop the rally. Wendy stepped aside and a week later Michael did too.

Scott Sledge and his partner Danielle who alternate their lives between an apartment in Kingscliff and a farm at Barkers Vale held the line and Janake, a resident of Pretty Gully, also founders of the No Rally Group, stood firm and inclusive for the protest.

All praise to their leadership and determination.

"Time is on our side" is what i have been saying out loud at SpeakOuts we have had outside Repco stores in Lismore and M'bah. If we don't stop it this year, we will stop it next year or the year after. And along the way we will bring down the corrupt NSW Labor government that foisted it upon us.

In a time of climate change and peak oil, the event is a dinosaur staring extinction in the face.

The harder Rally Australia and its corporate courtiers in government push it upon the green loving folk in them here hills, the more they will come together and the stronger our resistance will grow.

Being Visible in Bringing Down the Corrupt NSW Labor Government
A Repco Speakout In Murwillumbah
and a No Rally Inc Rally in Kingscliff
Saturday 29 August 2009

No blog Friday. The events of the day and its preparations had left me weary. After the M'bah Repco Rally i went to Kingscliff intending to camp the night there and use Sledge and Daniel's broadband to blog the SpeakOut.

But evening came while i was parked by the Cudgen River and so did my mate of many seasons, Bruce the Pixie. He came striding towards me, beaming love reaching out for an embrace. A resident of sorts, he told me, moved in with a woman in a riverside apartment nearby. We shared a smoke and he invited me to dinner.

The lady friend i learned was a recent divorcee with four grown and flown children and an accountant with offices in M'bah. Through her open window she had heard our SpeakOut clearly. Seems there was some sort of office do on and because of our SpeakOut, the Rally question had been raised.

"Some people just don't know what is going on," she observed.

We walked along Marine Drive, a dining precinct by the beach and they took me to the Kathmandu, fine food Tibetan style, and fed me well. Best I could, i repaid with stories of the day. Similar to singing for one's supper.

My most poignant memory was of a 58 year old woman named Menkit, a Buddhist activist like me and a devotee to ahimsa (the practice of harmlessness) since she was 11 years old. Slight of body, but big in spirit, she takes on the suffering planet as a personal responsibility.

Menkit had given me refuge in her enchanted garden near Uki in the days before so that i might paint a banner and blog on her broadband. She had fed me vegan fare and told me some of her story.

While I was painting she had taken a map and set out on a long drive of the Rally route, her own personal survey of wildlife and road kill.

Wildlife and road kill. Wildlife and road kill. The words ring in my ears with a grim determination.

When she returned in the evening she had tales of woe and wonder to tell, of wedge tail eagles swooping low and so on. She had said we wanted to speak and I had urged her not to prepare something written to read from, but rather let her heart do the speaking.

And so she did. She found voice for the critters and every heart was touched.

About 20 people showed for the Murwillumbah Repco Rally. Many wore the No Rally Inc Tshirts and many were the placards and banners. Many were the grey heads, many the silverbacks. We were colour and feisty.

I had expected that crowd would seek shade under the trees on the far side of Brisbane Street to listen to the speakers; being parked directly outside the Repco store with Wrecko flags arrayed against the Repco signage.

But because protesters wanted to hold up the flags and banners to the passing traffic, the protest crowd was behind the speakers and we spoke as if to the trees and the open spaces of Bruce Park; listened to by a couple of curious human by passers and a small contingent of Tweed Police who were watching but keeping their distance.

To my ear it gave the speaking a spacious and dream-like quality. people spoke with confidence and gentleness as if to their own soul.

Sledge, on behalf of No Rally Inc, spoke well wearing his trade mark white sun hat and shades. "Good guys wear white hats," he declared to me and flipping through his scrap book of newspaper clips showed me a photo of the Repco Motor Rally organiser sure enough wearing a black hat.

Dr Fiona McCormick spoke well, she a natural leader, likely to take up the mantle of No Rally Group Inc President. The news that morning was that Michael McNamara, the previous president, had stepped aside after some months in the role.

The injunction had failed and all legal efforts and written appeals have been confounded; direct action to stop the rally is the only option open to us resisters, and Michael, a school principal and as such an employee of the State Government, not that kind of a leader.

But this is how community resistance movements move: through different times and their different demands calling forth different talents and different styles.

Thanks for the good work you have done, Michael. Don't go too far. There will be negotiating aplenty to be done after we stop, or a least pause, this Rally.

I had left Menkit's garden before she had risen to get the prime car parking place outside Repco. I was also expecting an 7.30 Report film crew to come by on their way to a shoot for their Rally story in Kyogle. But they forgot about us and drove to Kyogle via Chillingham.

But this left me very visible and very alone outside Repco between 9 and 10.30 am. Naturally Repco customers tend to be petrol heads and Rally supporters and I was soon in vigorous debate about the Rally. These were direct talking mechanics who could give and take in lively argument so we had a sharp yet mutually respectful exchange as i set about putting out flags.

Then things became overbearing. A thick sort of a guy with cropped hair, balding pate and Yugoslavian accent, arrived to challenge me.

First he put his head into the Repco store to shout his support: "Go Rally!" Then he came to me and complained about my star picket banner rig; an "illegal erection" he called it. Better than no erection, i thought.

He objected to the Victorian registration on Happy Wheels and checked for balding tyres. He out with a camera and took photos while i tried to keep in frame with a smile and a peace sign. He intended to show the photos to the cops.

I went back to rigging flags and the next thing he had fallen at my feet, staged a trip up on my star pickets. What a passion, I thought. Matches mine.

"I have tripped and hurt myself," he gasped still on his hands and knees. "I hope you are covered."

When you fall, is your first thought public liability insurance? What a drama queen.

I patted him gently on the head. "There, there, you'll be alright."

In that moment of clarity he seemed to get my measure and his foolishness.

He looked me in the eye: "You are not afraid, are you?"

"No," I said. Indeed my Buddhist practice is courtesy of the great Guru, transformer of culture in Tibet, Padmasambhava: totally presence in the moment, fearless and hopeless.

"And neither are you," i said. "I like your big spirit. Croatian?"

He wasn't going to reveal the source of his accent. "We are all wogs," he said. "Boongs or wogs."

Off he went with his pix, his mission not yet complete. That part turned out to be his better half, Ms Toni Zuschke, President of the Murwillumbah Chamber of Commerce.

I was sitting in the door of Happy Wheels, the rig in place enjoying a hot cup of tea when she arrived. She was hyped up and began berating me at once. The Tweed News was there, journalist and photographer and i understood i was being ambushed.

And Inspector Greg Jago, Duty Officer for Tweed Local Area command had also arrived. I moved to greet him but he was happy to stand by and witness Ms Zushke's rant.

I sat back down and tried to focus on what she was saying. It was difficult because she kept morphing into a Larsen cartoon character: that woman with the permed hair thick rimmed glasses and pussy bum mouth, also thick in legs and thick in head, ever in a bizarre situation and saying something stupid and conventional like: "Remember to put the gorillas out, dear."

In truth Toni's legs were shapely but she was saying something stupid and it seemed to be that was bad for business, for Repco in particular and M'bah in general; she was asking me to decamp at once.

First time i have ever been ordered out of town by a Chamber of Commerce president but i wasn't going to comply. Freedom of speech and assembly does not require endorsement from Chambers of Commerce.

Furthermore Mark, the quietly spoken manager of the Repco store, with whom I had spoken earlier was not fussed about our SpeakOut. Nor was he the kind of man to call for help from a harridan like Toni was showing herself to be when roused.


When she had run out of breath I turned to the Inspector; he was not looking friendly either. First he asked be to adjust the height of a flag pole which was touching an overhead Optus cable.

We had spoken by phone and I had exchanged emails about the SpeakOut with his boss, Local Area Commander Superintendent Michael Kenny, given notice of the SpeakOut and the proposed timetable.

But I had failed to submit the Schedule 1 (Notification of Assembly or Procession) Form. Just couldn't get my hands on one; the police stations I went to in Nimbin and M'bah were unmanned and the pdf that Greg Jago himself had promised to email, never came. Seven days notice is required and the M'bah SpeakOut was decided upon less than a week before.

The power and importance of this Schedule 1 procedure is disputed. The NSW Supreme Court has upheld that it is a notification not a permit and the absence of it does not make a protest illegal. I submit them only when requested and in order to put the minds of police commanders at ease.

Inspector Jago had decided that in lieu of a timely Schedule , police would be less cooperative. We could have the SpeakOuts at Repco but he would not allow us to parade on the road between them. Footpath walking okay, road walking not okay.

Without the Schedule 1, he explained, the law regarding temporary road closures would not cover the police in case of injury, or something like that.

Gloomily I considered the Inspector's words. Walking on the footpath under the shop awnings meant we could not parade with the Wrecko flags. I also suspected it was a bit of muscle flexing to let me know that un-notified protests during the Rally would not be tolerated.

Flags or no flags on parade, what the heck! I yielded and later when it was time to move off to the Civic Centre, I introduced the Inspector and let him direct the crowd while i bundled and loaded up the Wrecko flags on the roof racks of Happy Wheels.

Inspector Jago seemed to be a gentleman of the firm but friendly style and have succeeded in being firm, he showed himself relaxed and friendly in a restrained sort of way.

Standing beside him when the footpath parade took off were two senior constables who had been listening to the speeches from afar and they were more demonstrative in their appreciation.

"Good one,'" they said to me with a kind of salute and i understood what we were saying about the corruption of the NSW ALP government and about the Rally fostering hoon driving had struck a chord with them.


But my set up troubles were not over with the satisfying of Inspector Jago. Two Tweed Shire staff appeared, called at the behest of the M'bah Chamber of Commerce no doubt. Under threat of confiscation, they demanded that i take down the illegal erection and untie the flags from the parking signs.

This too was a first for The handsome young man from Regulatory Services, Paul Power, was just doing his job of course. But creeping fascism was what is was thinking, how quick the rush of regulators to suppress dissent.

But by this time there were plenty of people ready and willing to hold the flags and the banner and after a little re arrangement we had our visual display as grand and as colorful as before.


The M'bah Repco SpeakOut went well. It's good to stand amongst friends who are not afraid to be visible and speak up and speak out.

Protest art on display at the Murwillumbah Repco SpeakOut, Friday 28 August 09

At the Civic Centre I parked Happy Wheels and directed the horns towards the administration offices above and the temporary offices of Rally Australia below. The former temporary offices that is; we discovered the Rally Australia staff had moved out during the night. Must have heard we were coming, hey?

While the protesters arrayed themselves on the steps of the Civic Centre for a photo opportunity, from around the corner and out of sight i addressed the Council staff on the folly of the Rally, responding to the cheers of a hidden crowd.

I spoke of the illusory tourism benefits of Motor Rally events and how when it comes to stopping the Rally, time was on our side. If we didn't stop it this year, then next year or the year after we will. For with every Rally held more people will be outraged and our resistance movement will grow in strength and savvy.

And as our power waxes, the power of the Rally promoters will wane. Reality will uncover their false promises; cost benefit reviews will reveal their lies; climate change and peak oil will undo their denial and erode their confidence.

As Bob Dylan sang all those years ago: "The leaders now will later be last for the times they are achanging."

And the meek will inherit the Earth.


At Kingscliff on Saturday 29 August we rallied outside the Motor Rally set up at the Cudgen Sports Centre.

It was a beautiful rally attracting about 70 participants dressed in white and bearing placards. Sledge had been thorough in his organising and it went off without a hitch.

The Wrecko flags looked splendid arrayed along a fence. There were great speeches and a great feel in the crowd. A big contingent had come from Mullum/Byron.

From passing traffic we got indications of both support and opposition and soon there was a line of protesters with placards by the road playing for the responses.

To the "get a job" and "Go Rally" calls they would hold up a hand with pinkie finger cocked. No one thinks big of you when you speed, being the billboard message of the NSW RTA.

Sledge had expected more but I reckon he was expecting miracles. 70 is a good turn out and what's more he was interviewed for the 7.30 Report against the background of the spectacular crowd

A great movement building event I would have said. But trouble trouble was brewing behind the scenes.


At the M'bah SpeakOut we learned that Michael McNamara, President and spokesperson of the No Rally Group Inc had withdrawn after 7 months of major effort organising against the Rally.

Seems he felt uncomfortable about the direct action planning now in process. The 'Non Intervention" consensus of the No Rally Group Inc was falling apart as legal efforts and letter writing failed.

This seemed to upset a few people but not many amongst those who showed up to protest.

At base of it seems to be a distrust of the direct activists sparked off by my public advocacy of smoke as a tactic to an ABC Radio journalist.

Reduce visibility with "lots of small smoky fires" is what i said. In my mind I was seeing the speeding cars slowed by smoke and the aerial view of much smoke hanging in valleys as a signal of our resistance.

I did not advocate bush fires. And there are lots of ways to make smoke without creating risk of bush fires.

The statement took off like a proverbial grass fire, helped along by the unseasonably hot and dry weather.

In terms of timing it was a gaffe i suppose. But I still affirm that smoke is an effective tactic. It has and will certainly get our resistance noticed.

But my talk has frightened a lot of people. I had intended it should do just that in terms of Rally promoters but it has also sent shivers of uncertainty amongst to No Rally group, splitting the talkers from the doers.

Though this has seriously upset some in the No Rally, it seems like a natural evolution to me.

My experience is that community based resistance movements grow and change with the demands of the times. Michael led a coalition through a negotiating time. He did well, got good letters published, focussed a lot of good energy on the issue. Michael, hear my gratitude.

But none of this has had any impact on stopping the Rally though it has prepared the ground for the follow up resistance; the review and all that.

Now is the time for direct action. People like Alan Roberts and others have seen that coming, but have been patient, giving the talkers their time.

If Michael has found the seat too hot to sit on now, then its for the best that he move aside.

Let's keep our collective eyes on the ball. Which is about stopping the rally.

Courage and daring will be required. And probably some civil disobedience too. A few brave people can make a big difference.

Nothing new about this; it is the way social change has always come.

Let each ask themselves what they might do to stop the rally next weekend. And how to be supportive to those who choose to act.

For the Earth!

Graeme Dunstan

Protest art on display at the Kingscliff No Rally Rally, Saturday 29 August 09

Talking up direct action
Sewing flags and painting a banner
Thursday 27 August 2009

The third sewing circle was conducted on the deck of the Sarkissian/Langheinrich residence in Jalamabah, Nimbin, of Wednesday 25. It is where i have been camping but it is not the Tweed Valley and it proved too far for previous sewers to come.

But Alan Roberst came bearing bamboo poles on his roofrack and painted up a Wrecko logo. And we were graced by the sewing skills of Hempseed Amanda, a former resident of Byrrill Creek, now the maker of the most delicious cakes made with high protein low THC hemp seed.

By the end of the day we had four more flags made. Ten in all, an impressive array it will be outside M'bah Repco tomorrow.

No Rally Group announced a meeting in Murwillumbah, 4.30 - 6.30 pm. And because of all the fire flak i knew i had to be there. But big job packing and driving 70 km: I let Michael McNamara know I would be late.

Elspeth Jones was putting finishing brush strokes on the Stop the Rally murals and I had to wait around Nimbin till she was satisfied. But I don't mind hanging about Nimbin. Met a dear Murri friend passing by on his way to Cullamulla. Besides Nimbin was buzzing from the success of the Big Joint action of the day before.

Still wet, the mural panels were screwed on and still Elspeth dabbed. Masterpiece i reckon. "You know Graeme, I consider it an honour to paint your murals." she said. Feeling is mutual.

Sunset in the Caldera, I hurried to Murwillumbah, to the Red Cross Hall in Bruce Park, M'bah.

About 15 people sat in a circle and Michael at a small table presiding, wotrking through the agenda. A flat feeling pervaded the room; a sign of below the surface conflict. I sensed something had gone down in regard to me and my big mouth and it slowly became clear to me that No Rally Group Inc had resolved on a "non intervention" policy. That is it would be doing any acts nor associating themselves with acts that led to obstruction or frustration of the Rally. Seems they had decided to focus on organising for an independent review after the first one.

Thanks to Alan's insistence i got to speak about the upcoming M'bah SpeakOut and proudly displayed one of the new flags. No Rally Group Inc may have disassociated themselves from direct action but not from people planning direct action. Sledge let it be known he would be speaking at the SpeakOut. That alone made my rush and effort worthwhile.

I let it known i was talking up direct action as fast and as fully as i could. The best way to stop the rally is to stop the rally. What need a review if the Rally is confounded by citizen direct action?

I put out for a place to camp where i might paint a banner and get access to broadband. Buddhist activist Menkit invited me to set up in her enchanted garden outside of Uki.

There the marking out and painting was done today while Menkit when out on a drive scouting the Rally rout. There the below media alert was composed and sent.

Media Alert 27 August 2009

Murwillumbah SpeakOut against the Repco Motor Rally

District citizens concerned about the Repco Motor Rally will be conducting SpeakOut

assembling 11 am - noon Friday 28 August 2009 outside the Repco franchise, cnr of King and Brisbane Streets, Murwillumbah.

"The SpeakOut will be an opportunity for local people to voice their concerns about the upcoming Repco Motor Rally," said SpeakOut host, Graeme Dunstan of

The Rally will assemble outside Repco in Murwillumbah and parade to the Civic Centre for an open mike SpeakOut session there.

The parade will be made colourful by an array of Wrecko flags that have been sewn up by volunteers at sewing circles conducted over the past two weeks in the Tweed Valley.

Mr Dunstan will be using the opportunity to public urge local citizens to take independent direct action to delay and obstruct the Rally.

"Up against government as corporately corrupt as NSW Labor,  further talking and letter writing will be of no avail," he said. "A deal has been done, local roads have been privatised to suit the needs of a foreign corporation and the fixers already have their commissions in their secret Macquarie Bank accounts."

 "What is needed now is big dollops of courage and daring mixed with a little creative civil disobedience," he said.

"Now is the time for the warriors."

Graeme Dunstan is not only dissenting in regard to the Repco Rally, his advocacy for direct action makes him a dissenter from No Rally Group Inc  and their non intervention policy.

"But no bad feelings," said Dunstan. "Indeed I expect there will be a few No Rally Group Inc speakers at the Murwillumbah SpeakOuts.

"Community resistance to the impositions of corrupt and unresponsive government needs many voices, many different talents, many different styles," he said. 

"Stop the Rally. Rack off Repco! Rack off Rees!

All day marking out and painting the banner and then hurrying to Murwillumbah to submit the Schedule 1 Notification of assembly form that the cops had asked for. Only to discover the Tweed police station in no longer manned.

But going to M'bah put me in phone reception again and I picked up a message from Michael Balderstone saying that a crew from ABC Tv 7.30 Report was in Nimbin looking for and the new mural. I gave them a call and told them of the SpeakOut.

And yes they will be there. Excellent. The gods are with us.

Further information
Graeme Dunstan 0407 951 688

Rudd comes to Lismore, flees Big Joint
Lismore Base Hospital
Monday 24 August 2009

On Sunday afternoon when I went down to Nimbin village after a day of sewing and banner making, the town was listless in the hot afternoon sun, very few people moving in Cullen Street, a magical movie set bathed in golden light.

It is my joy to sit on the east side of the street outside the Hemp Bar and catch the last of the sun as it goes behind the murals of the facades opposite, drink a beer and share a joint with friends.

I was doing that thinking smugly i was well on target with flag and banner making for the Rayy resistance. Then Michael Balderstone joined me to say that Prime Minister Rudd would be in Lismore at the Base Hospital Monday morning.

He had already put out a media release that the HEMP Embassy's Big Joint was going to be there and had a call back from AAP onto it.

He asked me to help. How could i not help my friend of so many seasons?

So down brushes for a day and down beer in my hand. I changed's signage forthwith, then and there in Cullen Street street. Off with "Stop the Rally!" and on with "End the Drug War!"

How deftly leaps from campaign to campaign. All the one campaign i reckon. Bringing down corrupt and unresponsive government.

Rudd, we learned from the media, was expected at 9.40 am. To get a prime parking place meant being there early. I was and at 8.30 am I had a place directly outside of the auditorium entrance where Rudd was to speak. I set about setting up flags and banners.

Michael and the hempsters had come with the Big Join and costumed as Polite Force in blue coveralls and caps. The Big Joint takes an hour to inflate and there was the problem was finding a friendly power plug near the Hospital.

Problem solved when Michael asked Bundjalung magic man, Roy Gordon. Roy knew aunties in 10 different houses near the hospital. Power to the people, no worries.

Roy too came costumed as a Polite Force member and got up to some antics for the cameras, sniffing out a paddy wagon with a 2D sniffer dog; animating it to piss on the tyres only to be warned off by a real cop; bringing it water; having it poop.

The Big Joint looked splendid and we gathered about waiting for the appearance of Rudd.

But Rudd fled from the Big Joint.

He contrived to get from the Hospital across the road to the Auditorium outside which we had set up, and away from it after, without being seen.

But it was a great action none the less. Maybe thirty people turned out. No Rally folk were there with placards and so were TOOT, students wanting longer semesters, women pro choice, a young student wanting carbon emission reduction targets kept, Omega speaking out about nukes and me wanting an end the the US Drug War, the Iraq, Afghan and Pakistan Wars and the US Alliance generally.

Rudd may have fled but we were greeted warmly by local federal member Janelle Saffron and her media man, Peter Ewan, former editor of the Northern Star. Also by honks and cheers and waves from about every fifth car passing on the road. It was like a carnival outside the hospital that day. Good medicine!

A very affirming day for democracy in Lismore. Prime Minister flees!

The police were relaxed. And sweating in the heat in the their blue uniform coveralls. Wearing a mock of it, i could now emphathise. And I could sit in the shade.

The cops were not only into stand about relaxation but also to delegation, it seems. While setting up i had noticed a close cropped, short guy in a suit fussing about and later addressing the bunch of coppers who were there to prevent me from making any trouble.

The cops called to me: "Hey Mr Dunstan. Can you spare a couple of minutes?"

I went over and was intrudced to Paul Thomas. He said he was NSW Police and showed me his badge. More reluctantly, and in my eyes shamefacedly, he revealed he was from Protective Security. And he wanted to more the Big Joint further away. To lesser the chance of it being in frame with Ruddbot.

Fat chance is what i thought but the Big Joint is not mine to direct. I agreed to introduce him to the man who is and matter settled, the boys in blue gave me a nod (they had not moved their feet) and Paul and I set off to meet Michael Balderstone, the Master of the Big Joint, when he is not smooching Janelle Saffron.

It was a scandalist display of affection and deep friendship. Ought to be in the gossip columns. In the street and in front of everyone who is anyone in Health Lismore.

As we walked together i ventured to say to Paul, "I don't know why you bother to protect these corrupt guys in the NSW govenment. The thought must have already occured for he let his ambivalence show with an immediate grunt, but kept his silence.

But maybe these days everyone is grunting approval whenever the words "corruption" and "NSW Labor" are put together. They have had their snouts in the trough too long. Gotta go.

The cops were chatty and jokey; they told me that they were rostered on for the Rally; indeed thanked me (and by inference all the resisters to the Rally) for the overtime it had given them.

Their boss and my erstwhile bete noir, Area Commander Superintendent "Bluey " Lyons, came past and i called to him and saluted. He came over to me and limply shook my hand though i am not sure he knew it was me in the Polite disguise.

Not a well man iour Bluey is my guess. I promise not to let another harsh word about him escape my lips. He was more or less being escorted by a young man with lots of silver stars and braid, doubtless the Deputy Local Area Commander. He had gave a smile of recognition, wonder and delight when i saluted Bluey.

The best part of the protest was when Rudd was in the Hall and the speeches were about to begin. I turned a speaker around so that it would be heard in the auditorium and invited speakers from all the various causes represented there to say what they wanted to say to Rudd.

The young Deputy came rushing out the door. We negotiated a 10 minute SpeakOut. The speakers had to be snappy; a sound grab opportunity. And they were and it felt wonderfully democratic.

The young Deputy came out again to confirm the deal. Check! "You are a gentleman," he said. Polite Force and the SpeakOut finished with a cry of pain from a damaged Aboriginal woman whose kids had been taken from her.

We shut down the PA and began a chant. "No Rally in the Valley, No Rally in the Valley" and me jigging about as cheer leader.

I reckoned we had got all the media exposure we needed and, wanting to get on with the flag making job, began bringing in the flags and packing up. I was rolling down the hill to the CBD before Rudd had finished his speech.

But the Big Joint stayed. They had moved it across the road so that Rudd would have to see it as his car drew away from the Auditorium. When the bustle let them know he was coming, the hempsters lifted it up and ... the front, the glowing red, front of the Big Joint, snagged on a no smoking sign.

Ripped, it began to exhale. Michael tells me he bunched and twisted the front till the leak was stopped and held it up for Rudd anyway. Big Joint with a twist: "ood Medicine".

And so another story enters the annals of myth and legend at the HEMP Embassy. Here a YouTube of the day by Jamie Heathenlovechild.


My call for lots of small smoky fires which was broadcast by ABC Radio 2NR has created widespread notice and also alarm amongst some No Rally folks judging by the emails i got. Bruce McKenzie, the journalist who did the interview and broadcast came by today looking very pleased with himself. I thanked him most sincerely.

Lighting fires in bellies is my mission.

Now is the time for the warriors.

For the Earth!

Graeme Dunstan
24 August 2009


Report of the Lismore Repco SpeakOut
Carrington St, Lismore
Friday 22 August 2009

Our Lismore Repco SpeakOut was small in terms of crowd (maybe 10 at the start) but big in presence both visual and aural.

And all the Lismore media journalists turned out as i expected they would. Lismore might not have the Rally in its back yard but it does have the HQ of most of the region's media. And they were eager for a story.

That day was the public debut of the Wrecko flags upon which I and others had been labouring for the past two No Rally sewing circles and, parked directly outside the Repco store, I rigged them so that were in juxtaposition to the stores Repco signage.

To my eyes they looked splendid. But to others the message was a bit subtle. By chance a dear friend came by and, noticing the flags before she noticed me, told me she thought the flag array to be a store promotion!

Also debuting that day was a new mural which Nimbin artist Elspeth Jones completed the night before painting late into the night.

Like Elspeth's other work, it is beautiful and whimsical. It depicts a pissed off koala fleeing from a speeding Rally car which is leaving shattered birds and a kangaroo sent flying in its wake. "Stop the Rally!" it says and "Rack of Repco!", "Rack of Rees!"

Elspeth is responsible for most of the art in the Nimbin Museum and the HEMP Embassy. She is a master of colour and master of the brush. And like many other people in the Tweed she is appalled that the Rally will be going past the front gate of the community where she lives.

The SpeakOut began just after 11 am and the horn speakers boomed out through the Lismore CBD. Directly opposite Repco in Carrington Street Lismore is the rear of old Terania Shire building, now the base for Lismore City Council rangers and parking inspectors.

I was just getting into my stride when a man in a great state of agitation and a yellow fluoro jacket came striding across the road towards me, oblivious to the cameras turned upon him.

"You want to say something?" I inquired.

"Do you have a permit?" demands he.

"No," I replied. policy: when it comes to exercising the right to freedom of speech and assembly, ask no permits, pay no dues. SpeakOuts are public liability insurance free. Participate at your own risk.

I put the mike up to his mouth to amplify his reply but he backed off and started ostentatiously writing down my rego number. And I got back into my stride again, ignoring him. No ticket was written.

I spoke mostly of the corporate corruption of the NSW ALP government; the imposition of the Rally upon Tweed valley residents being just the latest example.

Rees ALP has, in the interests of a US corporation (Repco is a subsidiary of Chase Manhattan Bank, Sledge tells me), done a deal and in effect privatised the roads and national parks of the Tweed Valley for the duration of the Rally.

A manifestly green loathing government, it holds in contempt the culture and safety of Tweed Rally dwellers. It is not to be trusted.

If allowed to continue in office, one day a foreign owned corporation will come along and offer a deal of the water of the Tweed River and the NSW ALP will rush to privatise our water in the way they rushed to sell off power generation in NSW. And came a cropper ...

Indeed water utilities all around Australia are packaging water infrastructure for sale - privatisation by stealth it is at this time, cororaptions and their courtiers in government justing waiting for the right moment to make the heist.

Stop the Rally and bring down the NSW ALP, I said.

To camera and mike I promised that we dissenters would stop the Rally, and if not stop it, then at least pause it. And if not this year, then next year or the year after as our resistance movement and our obstruction tactics grow and evolve.

Time is on our side. But the Rally production is tied to tight TV timings and time makes it very vulnerable.

Whatever, we will feed off the international media focussed on the Rally to make the point that, in a time of climate change and peak oil. Rally Racing is a dinosaur of an event. The troubles of the Rally promoters thus become our media platform.

Step by step, as we go, our resistance strengthens bonds of community; preparing us for the future challenges that will come to the Tweed Valley with climate change and peak oil. Thinking globally and taking responsibility locally for the Earth!

My voice attracted quite an audience, I could see people listening 100 m away and I could see from their body language they liked what i was saying.

I finished off and handed the mike over to Alan Roberts and as he got into his stride, a mini bus with four police officers drove up. Again the cameras focussed in, eager for the interaction.

The Lismore Duty Officer Inspector Paul Fredricks introduced himself to me. He's a big man but he hadn't expected to meet with so many cameras. I had to put him at his ease.

"Are you the son of Harold Fredricks?" I asked. Harold, aka the "Black Prince" being the late and former Detective, head of the Lismore CIB for many years and later mayor.

I had met Harold while negotiating the 1973 Aquarius Festival and I had told the story to Robin Hoopmann, singing the praises of the Black Prince at the sewing circle just two days before. Robin was beside me listening with eyes agog as i connected with Paul.

"A good man," I was happy to tell his son as the cameras closed in on our meeting.

Paul affirmed our right to peaceful protest and went off to check to see if the Repco guys were aggrieved. When i first arrived, I had introduced myself to the manager, Bob Brown, and found him most courteous and respectful.

I had assured him that we would neither enter the store nor obstruct the door and if the PA was too loud for his staff to do business, i would turn it down. Paul returned saying they wanted the volume down a bit and i was happy to comply.

More obtrusive was the young constable who climbed out of the police mini bus with a hand-held video camera and immediately began recording the faces of the people attending. Overt surveillance. With face recognition technology back up no doubt.

This made the crowd very uneasy. One time it was protesters who were in cops faces videoing; now they do it to us with attitude.

But I don't mind it.

Getting noticed is what is about; being visible is what social change requires. People who think change will come from being anonymous and invisible are, in my opinion, dreamers or worse, would-be manipulators of others.

Alan Roberts spoke at length and read a proclamation. He said he could not be held accountable for his actions if the lyrebirds on his property we injured. And while I faced the media, other speakers followed .

To the media cameras and microphones, I promised direct action, lot's of independent actions, to obstruct the Rally. Now is the time for the warriors.

in truth we activist are thin on the ground but we are invested with vast goodwill. But but mostly it is passive; just a passing thought in response to another passing Tv news drama.

But just one courageous, clever or artful obstruction will be enough to vindicate the optimism now. For it will be picked up by the eager media and broadcast far and wide.

I gotta say how sympathetic the media people demonstated themselves to be to our cause. One of the journalists kindly sent me the link to a photo of a flying horse struck my a Rally car in Argentina last weekend. Another alerted me to the fact of four deaths at a Cannonball Run organised in the Northern territory by Alan Moffat in 1994.

Paul also faced the media cameras and returned for another conversation. He informed me he would be the commanding officer for the Kyogle leg of the Rally and was interested to make contact with protesters to learn what was being planned.

I promised to put him in contact with the No Rally Group organisers who I understood were meeting with the police. He gave me his email address.

I told him that there were a some of protest assembly areas being organised and also to expect independent direct actions along the route.

"You mean like lying down of the road?" he asked.

I shrugged "who knows?" and he grimaced.

"It's going to be impossible for you to police," I empathised.

"I respect your right to peaceful protest, and I want it to be safe. Safe for the Rally drivers and their audience, safe for the residents in the Valley, safe for the protesters and safe for the police," he said.

"That is our common ground," I affirmed.

At noon we closed down the mike and began the pack up. One hour of action and we had been noticed, our point made, fires in our bellies stirred.

After farewells and thank yous had been said and our visible resistance to corporately corrupt government had dispersed, Bob Brown came out of his store to chat.

Seems he knew of me by reputation as being connected with the 1973 Nimbin Aquarius Festival and the 1978 Battle of Terania Creek. I took him around the other side of Happy Wheels to show him the detail of Elspeth's mural.

Not only did he admire it but he also said this:

"If I felt as passionate about the Rally as you do Graeme, I would be speaking up too. I respect your right to do so and reckon this is what so good about this country."

That's the kind of affirmation I like to hear.

Graeme Dunstan
22 August 2009

PS The next Repco SpeakOut will assemble at Murwillumbah Repco (20 King Street) at 11 am Friday 28 August and parade with flags through M'bah to the Civic Centre and address Council workers and Rally Australia. Then go on to Victory Ford one of the other sponsors.


Email to Inspector Paul Fredericks
Duty Officer, Lismore Local Area Command
3.47 pm Friday 21 August 2009

After a cuppa tea, a snack and a smoke with my trusty old Peacebus companion, John Peace, by the Wilson River in Lismore, i got back to work and on line, composed and sent the following email.

To: Inspector Paul Fredericks
Duty Officer
Lismore Police Station

webgreetings Inspector.

Good to meet you at the Lismore Repco SpeakOut today.

Apologies for not giving you more notice.

There will other SpeakOuts in the region between now and the Rally. As I said, likely the next one will be in M'bah on Friday 28th. But this is to be confirmed and i will let you know as soon as it is.

You told me that you are to be Operations Commander for the Kyogle district during the Rally and that you were eager to meet representatives of the No Rally Group to negotiate the conduct of the protests.

I too believe that the sooner we set up liaison with the police the better.

You told be that your base concern was safety - safety for the rally drivers and those who come to watch the Rally, safety for residents along the route, safety for protesters and safety for police too.

I am sure i speak for all of the No Rally Group when I say we all agree with that. Indeed it is the common ground we share.

Let this email be some kind of opening to our liaison. Please all me if you have any questions and i will do my best to direct you to whoever has the answers

My phone number is 0407 951 688 but reception is dodgy in them there hills. SMS messages are better. Email is best.

May you be well and happy,

Graeme Dunstan


Email from Michael McNamara
President, No Rally Group Inc
10.49 pm Friday 21 Ausgust 2009

In response I received an email copied to Inspector Fredricks from Michael. He did not say when this meeting took place but it was good to learn it had happened.

I had been cc-ing to Michael everything i was doing.

This then is the state of play in police liaison at this time.

Good evening

Just to ensure everyone is up to speed in relation to police liaison in relation to protests about the rally.

Representatives of No Rally Group Inc (NRG) and 7th Generation Inc had a very productive meeting with police at Murwillumbah this afternoon.

Attending were: ° NRG: Michael McNamara and Jenny Pearson
° 7th Generation: Mary Willis and Warren Smith
° NSW Police: Sgt Stuart Crawford, Sgt Mark Gardner and Det Snr Constable Gary Sheehan.

Michael presented the police with a package that contained:

° Planned actions endorsed by both groups

° Principles of Peaceful Protest endorsed and adopted by both groups

° Flyer for general community distribution (including maps showing locations)

° Flyer for distribution to residents along the rally route.

Stuart tabled a Draft Protocol prepared by Chris Basick from HMRA for discussion.

A range of issues were discussed frankly and openly in a spirit of co-operation.


° Police will inspect the planned protest locations to assess public safety considerations.

° Police will contact Michael and Mary by Wednesday with feedback.

° A further meeting will be arranged if necessary to discuss the feedback.

Best wishes
Michael McNamara
President, No Rally Group Inc


Wrecko Culture Jamming
Report of second sewing circle
Wednesday 19 August 2009

dear Repco Rally resisters,

The second No Rally Group Sewing Circle yesterday was a productive delight. Eight of us assembled flags and shared stories as we worked. That is what is so lovely about sewing and painting together. We get to know each other more deeply than when we sit at meetings and just talk.

Robyn Hoopman our host for the previous sewing circle, and a woman with a seriously ambivalent attitude towards her sewing machine, had an assignment to write about culture and society in the Northern Rivers. 

She twigged I had a story to tell about the making of the 1973 Aquarius Festival and the recycling of Nimbin. Sewing was put aside as she grabbed paper and pencil and began interrogating me. How come we don't know this history? others asked. Good question.

Thanks to the good folk who came, sewed, painted and shared. Thanks to Kim Hollingsworth for hosting and catering with such an excellent lunch. She and her partner Brian were also preparing a huge banner to be unfurled on Wollumbin and to be photographed from the air. Awesome.

Six "Wrecko" flags are now ready for the Lismore Repco rally tomorrow. Media release below.

One more sewing circle will see another six flags completed. 

This will take place at the residence of Wendy Sarkissian and Karl Langheinrick, Lot 4 / 78 Cecil Street Jalambah, Nimbin. From 10 am to 4 pm. Bring a sewing machine. See you there.

The media release has had two confirmations: Bruce McKenzie news journalist with ABC Radio North Coast will be there with mike in hand and Charlene King journalist with NBN TV will be there with camera crew.

Sharon kindly alerted me to photo of a motor rally death of a horse which was published in the Newcastle Herald today. She sent this link:,27574,25946095-401,00.html  

Please come to the Lismore Repco SpeakOut if you are able. Wear Tshirts, carry placards and bring voice.

I will be outside Lismore Repco from 10 am setting up. The Lismore police have been notified.

Speaking up and speaking out.

For the Earth!

Graeme Dunstan

Please put this out on the elist.


Media Alert 20 August 2009

SpeakOut against the Repco Motor Rally

District citizens concerned about the Repco Motor Rally will be conducting a SpeakOut

11 am - noon Friday 21 August 2009
outside the Repco franchise, Carrington Lane, Lismore.

Spokesperson for No Rally Group, Sledge, said that above and beyond major concerns like the implicit glorifying of reckless driving and the hazard the Rally creates for wild life, what concerned him most was the abuse of democratic process.

"The NSW government has struck a deal with a subsidiary of a foreign corporation to impose this Rally upon the people of the region with neither due consultation nor respect for our values or our rights, " he said.

"Money has changed hands, local people have been bulldozed and twelve different pieces of hard won environmental and heritage protection legislation have been overridden so that the event may proceed."

"This is an abuse of power and an abuse of democracy," he said.

"So we Rally dissenters are taking democracy to the streets and speaking up and speaking out."

Graeme Dunstan of will be hosting the SpeakOut and arraying what he describes as "culture jamming flags".

The flags have been sewn up by No Rally Group volunteers at sewing circles that have met in the Tweed valley over the past week. The Lismore Repco SpeakOut will be their protest debut.

"Repco is the brand name sponsor and we dissenters intend, by artfulness and outspokenness, that Repco's association with the Motor Rally be  negative in the extreme," said Dunstan.

"Think Repco, think Wrecko."

Further information
Sledge 02 6674 5213 / 02 6689 7466
Graeme Dunstan 0407 951 688


Fundraiser at Durrmbul Hall

Saturday 15 August 2009

Driving myself again, long hours of concentrate effort. Deadlines. I work till I am tired, rest and work again. Efficient but somehow alienated from everyone. There is kindness all about and respect too. But it is as if my heart is untouched.

Saturday night at Durrumbal Hall near Mullumbimby, mudbrick and hippy built, I put out peace flags for a joint fundraiser: the No Rally Group Inc did the kitchen and Harsh Prabhu, who was fund raising to get his Some Children of the Dream photographic exhibition to the Woodstock 40th anniversary, did the gate.

Harsh had organised some media and the NBN crew arrived at 2pm while we were setting up looking for a Woodstock story. For background visuals, we hastened to get flags arrayed, Benny Zable's (he in Woodstock) and my peace flags.

For comment on the Nimbin Aquarius-Woodstock connection Harsh deferred to me and i got to do a grab on NBN News that night.

Wonderful performances in the Hall and outside around a fire, an amazing drum and dance circle. The Chai Tent was there. Wonderful food prepared by volunteers from No Rally Group. Plenty of space for the kids to gallop.

Maybe 500 people, many old hippies; many people i have known over many years and me known by reputation to many more.

And yet I felt ill at ease, out of place, wanting to be gone, hiding in my van. My heart aching for contact and just one human interested enough to say: "How are you, Graeme?

Forlorn and dejected, I was none the less called to service. In movement building terms I knew it was important to set up an opportunity for the No Rally Group leadership to address the crowd and rally support for the action. But first they would have to have stop the drummers and they were going full tilt and would all night long.

I realised I was the only person with that insight, the connections and the authority to gather the speakers, pause the percussion and create a listening space. I threw myself at it and, miracle of miracles, got it happening after 45 minutes of negotiating, searching and finding the right people in a dispersed and dimly lit crowd crowd and sorting out the PA.

Janake was nominated the No Rally Group spokesperson, a feisty woman but nervous that night, she underplayed her speech. As soon as i could, i seized the mike and gave a fierce spirit-raising speech from across the fire.

I spoke of corporately corrupt government that had handed over roads and national parks so that a foreign owned corporation might cultivate motor hoonism in a time of peak oil, a government that had ignored and overridden the will and welfare of local people.  

"Now is the time for the warriors!" I declared. Fire at the fire.

Gina Lakosta, a friend of mine, late 40s, mother two teenage children, poet, singer, Goddess invoker at the fire that night, goddess in form too, a former super model, was standing near but to one side, clutching her heart, pain in her face. "Your heart, Graeme." she said.

Seeing her I wound up my speech and offered her the mike. The mike went elsewhere but she turned to me and said, "I will support you on this."

"Wonderful," I said. "You are the voice."

"No," she was quick to correct. "You are the voice. I am the heart."

Then she walked away and i have neither seen nor heard from her since. 

Message from the Goddess: cultivate tenderness of heart. Let it blend with fierce.

I packed up and left the gig early went to camp at Brunswick Heads, kneeling on the dune, watching the night waves to calm my racing mind. Fitful sleep. All that day my body had been feeling like wet cement, my bowels griping, my mind in pain as if under psychic attack. Frustration and time wasting in my work.

Another troubled sleep but with it came a vivid dream.

I am waiting outside an auditorium where i must defend myself from charges being made by a speaker already addressing the audience. I am not too worried. guilty or not guilty it all the same to me.

Maybe a 1000 inside. But they are all teenagers. Could be a high school assembly in a high school hall.

Too energetically charged to sit i am standing looking about. I notice the production crew need help and almost at once i am clambering 4 m up scaffolding to pass up a microphone.

In my haste the cable has tangled and my present host (Wendy Sarkissian, she who has dedicated her latest social planning book to me), is untangling it and i cling precariously.

Passing the mike to whom i do not know. Just passing it upwards.

What to make of it?

Dawn mediation on those waves of the night before. Waves coming in. "All that comes into existence is like a wave on an ocean." Bit my bit my mind cleared, like a cloth wiping glass. Light and lightness of being returned.


NVA Training at Hanging Rock Hall

Sunday 8 August 2009

A 2 day Non Violent Action training workshop had been organised at Hanging Rock Hall as a lead up to the No Rally protests and many a friend had urged me to plug into it, including Michael Balderstone from the Nimbin HEMP Embassy and Alan Roberts the organiser of the workshop. Alan and i had been at Newcastle Climate Camp together so we knew something of each others capabilities.

I was ambivalent about it because the Yeppoon/Rockhampton Peace Convergence protests had me motivated to work for an end to the Afghan War as a top priority and i was eager to get to Sydney and link up with the Standfast vets against the war.

Furthermore I wanted to be in Sydney for my grandsons 5th birthday on 15 August. Missing it would be a major sacrifice.

Seems to me that protests are like festivals, in that many have been to one or more and as a result they consider themselves to be qualified experts on what it takes to organise a successful event. Full heads can hear no more, or see other means.

So I proceeded cautiously and with some ambivalence; was not lacking campaigns and unless what i had to offer was received with respect, i wasn't going to put energy and time into supporting the No Rally camapign.

Happy Wheels needed major maintenance and the work of changing a crankshaft oil seal had taken me two days, a day longer than i expected. So I could only attend the second day of the workshop.

About 30 people showed and two thirds of these had not attended the first day.

Hanging Rock Hall is a mudbrick period piece of hippie community making, a beautiful hall with extensive grounds. It was a fine sunny day and we put the chairs in a circle outside. Placards and banners were painted while people talked and if quantity of slogans is what will win this campaign, we are on a winner.

I was given documents to read to bring me up to speed about the Rally. I was amazed at the distances involved (350 km from Kingscliff and out beyond the Richmond Ranges and back) and the National Parks included on the routes.

As discussion proceded I heard some despair about the lack of traction the organisers were getting in building the campaign. Organisers epressed feelings of overload. Furthermore there was also a lot of fear and apprehension about; fear about possible aggression from Rally supporters and fear about how the cops might respond with their Tasars and what not.

To me this was depressing. Talking up fear is not the way to talk up active participation in protest.

As the most experienced protester present I did my best to assure them that cops these days handle protests with respect and urged that high level police liaison be initiated as soon as possible to negoitate the protests.

Alan Roberts urged me on and called for me to speak at the session after lunch.

To illustrate what i wanted to say i rigged some Eureka and AnarchistA flags around our circle.

When the session began I pointed out how the flags not only transformed and defined the space, their height was also uplifting for the spirit. I suggested that as a movement building exercise, we organise a series sewing circles to sew up a batch of campaign flags.

I suggested the flag design be culture jamming (that is, allude to the Repco logo and twist it a bit) and that we build the campaign by conducting a series of SpeakOuts outside Repco franchises (Repco being the name sponsor) in Lismore, Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads.

The path to the big crowd turn-outs wanted during the Rally would be via a series of small lead up events where we learned to work with each other and the media.

I had other things to say but did not get much further. Janeke, a Byrill Creek resident who had been doing a lot of talking and a lot of early organising and placard painting, cut me off. She sat in front of me with her back to me, ignoring me and at the same time intercepting any comment that might have been directed to me and what i had said.

She protested my ignorance about the art that was already happening and the extra burden i was proposing to place on the already over burdened organisers. She had not grasped that with on board a whole new energy would be entering the scene.

"We grow from here," I said as a prophecy.

Furthermore i was informed that Repco protests had already been ruled inappropriate by people in the early organising; the franchise holders being somehow innocents in the imposition of the Rally on local residents. 'Twould be bad form and a bad look to protest outside their businesses, it was said.

Weird and getting weirder, I thought.

The talk went on but it left me cold. In despair I wandered distractedly and wondered how to excuse myself.

My dilemma was that i reckoned it important for Green morale in the Region that we stopped the Rally and conversely a loser campaign would be a bummer.

But by the end of ther day there were takers for the flag sewing strategy, a Byrill Creek venue agreed for the first sewing circle and was committed to the No Rally campaign. That evening i emailed my daughter, Softly Dunstan of Mighty Nice studios, with a request for a flag design.

Making art and building resistance, here we go again.

"Welcome aboard," said Scott Sledge on behalf of the No Rally Group. A good man our Sledge.

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