Anti-coal activist Jonathan Moylan freed with suspended sentence


Jonathan Moylan, the activist that issued a hoax press release from ANZ saying the bank had withdrawn a $1.2 billion loan for Whitehaven coal’s Maules Creek mine – temporarily wiping $314 million off the company’s share price – was today handed a suspended sentence for one year and eight months, and a $1000 surety. Supported by scores of farmers and environmentalists outside court, Moylan was fortunate to receive a good behaviour bond, avoiding a ten-year prison sentence and $765,000 fine. By risking his freedom, however, he kick started a national discussion on the threat reckless coal expansion poses to farmers, rural communities, the environment and Australia’s economy. He has also helped shine a bright light on the dirty investment practices of many Australian banks, and the increasingly risky nature of investing in the dying coal industry.


  • MT @julesallover: Moylan gets 20mths suspnded sentence. Maules Creek to drive #climatechange for 30yrs & destroy Leard forest #standwithjono


Key Points

  • The court’s decision to release Jonathan with a suspended sentence and small fine vindicates his actions to expose reckless coal mine expansion, and the dirty investments enabling it. Jonathan Moylan stood up in the public interest, took responsibility for his actions, and was relentlessly attacked by the coal industry and pursued by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission for it.
  • The coal industry and banks that lend to it have far more to worry about than activist emails, as it is becoming increasingly clear that coal’s future is one of terminal decline. Moylan’s hoax email drove a drop in Whitehaven Coal’s (WHC) share price from $3.52 to $3.21, and it bounced back to $3.53 within an hour when trading resumed. However, since January 2013, Whitehaven’s share price has plummeted in the face of the slumping global coal price, closing at $1.45 recently. Investors are abandoning coal projects, renewable energy is basically unstoppable, and as the world inevitably increases climate action the future will only grow bleaker for coal.


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Key quotes

  • “To most people ANZ is just a bank, but to our community at Maules Creek their loan to Whitehaven Coal threatens to put an end to 150 years of farming in the region. We’ve been fighting this mine for years but what Jono did means the world knows what is happening to Maules Creek farms and the Leard State Forest. Jono stood with us, so we’re here to stand with Jono.” Maules Creek farmer Rick Laird.
  • “Jonathan is a principled young man. He does not deserve to go to jail or face a heavy fine. His courageous actions have been of great significance to the growing movement for climate action and helped the campaign against coal mining.” Australian Greens senator Lee Rhiannon.
  • “The role of ASIC in particular is something that is very concerning to everybody. When it comes to this young man standing up for the public interest, he is aggressively pursued and it really does demonstrate how lopsided the system is. Where the corporate criminals tend to get let off but those who are acting in the public interest not to enrich or support themselves feel the full force of ASIC and the law and it’s simply unjust.” Greens MP Jamie Parker.

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More tweets

  • RT @alison_m_martin: Moylan sentenced to 1year & 8 months but will be immediately released; Davies J: “you did it for motives sincerely held” #standwithjono
  • MT @DavidParis: So that’s Moylan’s sentence, any word on the sentence for ppl profiting from the planet-killing industry he was protesting?
  • RT @margokingston1: Davies J: satisfied Jono didn’t intend fall in Whitehaven price & believed hoax would be uncovered quckly #standwithjono
  • RT @StandWithJono: This is what ANZ bank is funding  when it loans money to Whitehaven Coal. #standwithjono
  • MT @LucyManne: We #standwithjono and thank him for having the courage to stand up for our land, our water, our future
  • MT @jarren: I #StandWithJono & his courageous action to expose @ANZ_AU funding the dirty #MaulesCreek #coal mine