The following statement was read in Sutherland Local Court during my sentencing hearing on 3 July 2020.
The magistrate repeatedly referenced this statement in her summary before declaring that I showed no remorse and was incapable of learning from my mistakes. The fix was in and I was given the maximum possible sentence, four months.
I was not planing to publish this statement, but having seen the Murdoch press take some of my words from January out of context while ignoring my capacity for growth (as the magistrate did), I feel compelled to set some of the record straight.
And there was never a threat to shit in ScoMo’s pool. That came from a video statement released in the hours after my arrest, in which I joked about the heavy-handed police approach in the context of there only being two people present at the protest.
The last six months have been a time of unprecedented change, adjustment and transformation. When I was first due to appear before this court, my ego and self-righteousness had me ready to blame the Prime Minister for my actions in January.
While my protest at Mr Morrison’s house was in response to what he had said and done during the bushfires, I cannot hold Mr Morrison responsible for what was ultimately a choice I made.
I would like to apologise to Mr Morrison and his family for any stress, concern, or other negative emotions or opinions my actions may have caused. I did not mean to cause any harm to Mr Morrison, and my decision to encourage others to attend the protest was not out of spite or malice.
I protested because I felt unheard, and I understood Australia to be a nation where I should be able to bring my deepest concerns to my Prime Minister, but, I very clearly went about that in the wrong way.
The idea to publish Mr Morrison’s address some months after discovering the information in a Daily Mail article only came to me following a severely stressful period of bushfires and was in response to the seemingly callous disregard held by the Prime Minister for the death and destruction faced by Australians.
I admit I was angry, but also frustrated by the continued failure of the government and the leaders of our nation to respond adequately to a rapidly growing deadly threat.
But, I cannot hold an individual responsible for my perception of failure at a national level.
In the days, weeks, and months following my protest in January, I have dedicated myself to working to help the community, instead of positioning myself at the centre of any stunts or actions of propaganda against the government.
Through the month of January, I toured fire-affected areas of the state, bringing them my business, but also delivering donations and supplies to the RFS and other community-based organisations.
I was in Braidwood as the fires closed in, dropping off supplies at the RFS sheds there, and talking to the volunteers about their needs and listening to their concerns.
Following this, I visited Cobargo, Bega, Cowra, Batemans Bay, Kangaroo Valley, Sussex Inlet, Nelligen, Bilpin, Blackheath, Lithgow, and countless other towns facing the destructive power of the fires.
The more people I talked to, the more I realised the selfish stupidity of my protest at the start of the year. I should have been working to help others, instead of trying to centre myself in a protest against the government.
Additionally, I have spent a lot of time talking to others from a wide swathe of Australian society during this coronavirus lockdown, from nurses to journalists, the unemployed to former Senators, and I can honestly say that being arrested in January was what I needed.
Not for the notoriety, but to force me to reconsider where I was headed with my anarchistic actions. If I had not wound up before this court, it is likely I would have wound up before another.
I cannot pass judgement on the motivation for Mr Morrison’s actions during the last bushfire season, but having seen our Prime Minister take the necessary action to prevent the full-scale outbreaks we have seen in other nations, I understand that I misjudged him.
Leading a team, a business, or a nation is incredibly complex, and in a time of extraordinary community need, the last thing the Prime Minister needed was the distraction I caused.
I stand here today humbled, your Honour. I can see that I was on a self-destructive path, but it was not just my arrest that helped me to see the error of my ways.
Mr Morrison, in his role as Prime Minister, effectively ended poverty in Australia by doubling the rate of most welfare payments.
It was as though the scales fell from my eyes. Through the coronavirus supplement, I was able to breathe for the first time in months, I just hadn’t realised I was drowning.
I do not want to waste the court’s time with political and economic theory, but the Prime Minister directly addressing poverty changed my whole world in the space of a month.
The opportunities afforded by my poorly-planned stunt would have remained a pipe dream, had Mr Morrison opted to abandon the poor in our time of need.
Over the last year, much of my spare time has been spent volunteering with the Australian Unemployed Workers Union, trying to find solutions to the employment crisis gripping the nation as the economy spirals into a recession.
What the last six months have taught me is that Australia needs to rebuild the sense of community we seem to have gradually lost over the last few decades.
And in that respect, if your Honour sees fit to sentence me to some form of community service I would welcome it as an opportunity to continue giving back to a country that has given so much to me.