Elder to fight Adani ‘intimidation’

AN Aboriginal elder who led the fight against Adani's Carmichael mine has vowed to fight what he describes as the mining giant's unfair and intimidatory attempts to silence him, and punish him for resisting the mine, by using the power of the bankruptcy court, his lawyer says.

Speaking outside the Federal Court in Brisbane today after the case was mentioned briefly in court, Adrian Burragubba said he will continue to fight Adan, who he believes has violated his human rights by serving him with bankruptcy notice on November 17 last year in the Queen Street Mall where he was busking with his didgeridoo.

"Using the process to bankrupt me is another form of discrimination as far as I'm concerned by singling me out and discriminating against me," Mr Burragubba told The Courier-Mail outside court today.

Mr Burragubba is a traditional land owner who unsuccessfully fought in the courts to stop Adani's $2 billion mine.

The court earlier heard that Mr Burragubba's lawyers told Adani their legal tactics were "intimidatory and an abuse of the courts processes".

Mr Burragubba today argued Adani had unfairly tried to paint him as an "activist".

"I'm not an activist, I come from that country. My family, my ancestors come from that country," he said outside court.

"I have just as much to say something about the protection and conservation of that land, just as much as the 294 people did who signed that land away," Mr Burragubba said, referring to the April 2016 vote on the indigenous Land Use Agreement.

Mr Burragubba's lawyer Colin Hardie said outside court that Adani "wants to silence Mr Burragubba through" bankrupting him over $637,960 in legal fees accrued during his fight to block the mine.

A Full Federal Court appeal of the case is awaiting judgment.

Adrian Burragubba outside Federal Court. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Waugh
Adrian Burragubba outside Federal Court. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Waugh

Mr Hardie argued bankrupting a person for taking legal action to fight for what the believe in was "against the Australian sense of justice and fairness".

He said that Adani appeared to be using the bankruptcy process strategically to ensure Mr Burragubba - once bankrupt - "wont be able to take a seat on prescribed body corporate" and "wont have any say on the affairs of the Wangan and Jagalingou people".

Aboriginal campaigner Adrian Burragubba with native title lawyer Colin Hardie. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Waugh
Aboriginal campaigner Adrian Burragubba with native title lawyer Colin Hardie. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Waugh

"What we are concerned about is Adani's focus is not about achieving justice but about punishing Mr Burragubba for taking a stand in defence of his people and that's what we are saying is essentially the improper purpose of Adani in lodging these bankruptcy proceedings," Mr Hardie said.

"My instructions are we will fight this by whatever means we can. We think its unfair that Mr Burragubba has been singled out in this way. There are other Wangan and Jagalingou people that were part of those proceedings … but (Adani) are focused on Mr Burragubba because he is the public face of the resistance to the Adani mine by the Wangan and Jagalingou," Mr Hardie said.

"From my experience there is a lot of public support for the stance taken by the Wangan and Jagalingou people in opposing the Adani mine.

"Most people out there would be horrified that one person who has stood his ground in a democracy and said 'look I don't agree with this I'm, going to fight you through the courts' that they are trying to single him out," Mr Hardie said.

"I think there will be public support for (Mr Burragubba)," he said.

"I don't think courts should be used by large companies to stop people from taking action for what they believe in . I personally am offended that large companies such as Adani would use the court process in this way," Mr Hardie said.

The case has been adjourned for hearing on August 15.