Water 4Life

This campaign took the national issues regarding the effects and regulation of coal and gas mining on our water resources to candidates in the 2016 federal election.  These issues were outlined with requested legislation improvements in the Water4life index.

There were many elements to the Water4life campaign,

including the National Highway Action day across the country on June 25, which included some Frack Free Tas roadside chanting and supportive car horns.

See national water4life coverage from LOCK THE GATE and facebook

Candidates responses to the Water4Life index

Frack Free Tas members took the Water4Life index to many sitting members' electoral offices on the 18th of May.  Most candidates were sent emails asking for their responses.  Our limited capacity to chase down all candidates meant we focused on lower house candidates in the Hobart-based seat of Denison, currently held by independent, Andrew Wilkie.  As well as responses to the Water4life index, We also asked for their opinions and positions on a permanent ban on frack in Tasmania.

Responses (in order of getting responses):

Electorate: Denison

Jen Brown (Greens):

Strong support for or all requests in the index and a permanent ban on fracking in Tasmania (and across Australia).

As a student of the law, I'm shocked that the Liberal government should implement changes that remove the right for farmers or people with environmental concerns to take a stand in court against fracking, shale gas and other areas of environmental concern.  we must work hard to widen the EPBC Act

Relevant Greens policies HERE


Marcus Allan (Liberal):

Support for all requests in the index.  Could not say "Yes" or "No" to a permanent ban.

Relevant Liberal Party policies: Hard to find, but quite clear HERE and HERE



Andrew Wilkie (Independent):

Strong support for all requests in the index and a permanent ban on fracking in Tasmania.

Relevant policies of Andrew Wilkie:  HERE



Jane Austin (Labor):

No response to emails nor phone messages.


Electorate: Franklin

Martine Delaney (Greens):

Strong support for or all requests in the index and a permanent ban on fracking in Tasmania (and across Australia).

The water4Life campaign could only have my wholehearted support.  These steps are essential to out future and that of our planet

(no other responses from Franklin candidates)


Tasmanian Senators:

Lisa Singh (Labor)

(also Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Water):

Generally very supportive.

Relevant Labor Policies:  HERE and HERE



Jacqui Lambie  (Jacqui Lambie Network)

Generally very supportive.

Most relevant policy:  HERE





Wed 18 May 2016


Frack Free Tas Inc., as part of the Lock the Gate alliance, spent Tuesday asking candidates running for Tasmanian seats in the federal election to respond to the Water4Life Index.

We are standing in solidarity with communities around Australia that find themselves having to defend their water which supports their health and livelihoods.

“All too often, the actions of governments seem to be driven by their donors rather than the people who elected them, which leads to the approval of abysmal coal and unconventional gas projects that trash our water resources” said Shaun Thurstans, Frack Free Tas President.

“We call on all candidates to indicate their positions and party policies on these national issues, so that voters are informed about the parliament they are voting for.”

“Voters deserve to know if candidates would allow flawed mining practices to operate on our island, with so much to lose in an economy thriving on the dining boom and an international brand based on our clean natural assets.”

Frack Free Tas members personally presented the Water4Life index to the offices of these candidates on Tuesday 17 May 2016:

Andrew Nikolic, Liberal Member for Bass

Julie Collins, Labor Member for Franklin

Brett Whitely, Liberal Member for Braddon

Eric Hutchinson, Liberal Member for Lyons

Andrew Wilkie, Independent Member for Denison

Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens Senator for Tasmania

Stephen Parry, Liberal Senator for Tasmania

Helen Polley, Labor Senator for Tasmania

Catryna Bilyk, Labor Senator for Tasmania

Jacqui Lambie, Senator for Tasmania

Lisa Singh, Labor Senator for Tasmania

Eric Abetz, Liberal Senator for Tasmania

Nick McKim, Greens Senator for Tasmania

Carol Brown, Labor Senator for Tasmania

“State governments have a conflict of interest in regulating and gaining royalties for mining, and have proven all too eager to bend the rules for risky practises.  There is a clear need for federal law to add a layer of oversight, so that water resources aren’t trashed forever for the sake of the quick buck” said Shaun Thurstans.

The Water4Life Index exposes the lack of mechanisms to keep companies and governments accountable, such as health impact assessments, environmental pollution insurance, and national emissions controls.

“We are joining communities and traditional owners across Australia in asking candidates if they will support a Clean Air and Water Act, a national EPA and strengthening of the water trigger in the EPBC Act to apply to shale and tight gas, as targeted in Tasmania.”

“Tasmania is not immune from the scourge of fracking. The current moratorium can be used as a stalling tactic while exploration continues, and simply removed when a commercial mining licence is granted.”

The last point on the index urges candidates to address the uneven playing field, where mining giants get massive tax breaks and subsidies after donating to political parties.

“Our democracy is broken, because there is no federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) to address the prevailing influence on governments from companies that fund election campaigns. As long as their rich mates get richer, they don’t care if they are ruining it for the rest of us” blasted Shaun Thurstans.