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Qld Greens MP cleared of contempt for ‘inciting protest’ against coal and gas

Queensland Parliament’s Ethics Committee has tabled its report recommending Greens MP Michael Berkman not be held in contempt for “encouraging or inciting protest” in a Facebook post he made about a 2022 climate protest. 

Berkman says he stands by his support for peaceful climate protesters, despite the “political witch-hunt” and the condemnation from major party MPs on the Committee.

Michael Berkman:

“It’s not only ridiculous but offensive to compare my Facebook post about the peaceful unfurling of banners and chanting in Parliament with the incitement of the deadly storming of the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.

“This report exposes this whole process as a politically-motivated farce. 

“I said at the time that I agree we need to stop new coal and gas, and we need to keep saying it until the major parties listen. Clearly they are still not listening, because Miles’ Queensland Labor Government has approved two new coal mines this year, and just voted down my bill for a phased transition away from coal and gas exports. 

“Peaceful protest is an essential part of our democracy, particularly when our political representatives refuse to listen. 

“The major parties oppose peaceful protest because they want to protect themselves from any criticism of their dangerous, selfish policies.

“The Ethics Committee wasn’t really concerned about democracy or conduct, just a political witch-hunt.” 


The Ethics Committee has recommended Berkman not be found in contempt for “encouraging or inciting protest”, in relation to a Facebook post he made in 2022. The post reported a protest in the chamber where people unfurled banners and chanted “stop coal, stop gas”. It also squashes an allegation of contempt for “reflecting on the Speaker” when discussing charges laid against the protesters in a radio interview, noting that Berkman made no reference to the Speaker or inference that he laid the charges. 

Although the report recommends no finding of contempt, it strongly condemns the climate protest and Michael’s post, describing his conduct as “little better” than the celebration of the deadly storming of the US Capital on 6 January 2021. In meeting minutes attached to the report, the Committee at one point resolved to request that the secretariat “strengthen condemnation of the protest”.

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