Teen climate activists demand apology from premier

Climate activists are demanding the Western Australian premier publicly say sorry for statements about two teenagers involved in an anti-Woodside Energy protest.

It's the latest flash point in a high-profile ideological battle over fossil fuel emissions pitting the Disrupt Burrup Hub campaign against the gas company and the WA government.

The activist group issued a concerns notice letter to Roger Cook over his comments to media last Friday after the protest at the Woodside annual general meeting.

During the meeting, Emma Heyink and Tom Power, both 17, stood up and called out Woodside chairman Richard Goyder and chief executive Meg O'Neil's children's names as they asked about their futures amid climate change.

"By the time (children's name) and I are 70 (Woodside's) Burrup Hub will still be producing over six billion tonnes of carbon into our atmosphere," Emma said.

West Australian Premier Roger Cook
West Australian Premier Roger Cook is refusing to apologise to two teenage protesters. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

Mr Cook was scathing of the pair's behaviour and told reporters the action was intimidating and threatening and should be taken seriously by police.

Lawyers for the teens allege Mr Cook's comments defamed them and were indefensible and damaging.

"This has caused them considerable hurt, distress and anxiety," the letter seen by AAP said.

It also threatened legal action and noted the damages bill could exceed $459,000.

"Our clients do not want money from you or from the state. They just want vindication and an apology," it said.

The premier was asked to publicly apologise to the duo and refrain from further comments and pay $1 for their legal costs by Tuesday.

"If you do not respond, or if the response is not acceptable to our clients in the time frame set out above, our clients reserve all of their rights to commence proceedings for defamation," the letter said.

Mr Cook declined to do so.

"I'll always support people's right to peaceful protest, but it's never okay to bring somebody's kids into it - regardless of the cause," he said in a statement issued late Wednesday.

"I'm not going to spend any more time responding to this."

Asked on Thursday whether he would fight a defamation case should the teens push forward with it, Mr Cook said he believed the community would agree with his view about the activists' actions.

"I made my comments and I think people would relate to the sentiment and that is to inveigle people's children in terms of a protest movement against particular individuals is not on," he told reporters.

"But I won't be making further comment in relation to this, as you'd expect."

It's the latest salvo in a long-running battle over Woodside's multi-billion Burrup Hub gas project in WA's northwest.

The activists last June released a foul-smelling substance to simulate a gas leak at the company's Perth headquarters, forcing about 2000 staff to be evacuated.

Woodside protest
An activist releasing a non-toxic "stench" gas outside Woodside's headquarters in June 2023. (HANDOUT/DISRUPT BURRUP HUB)

They also spray-painted a Woodside Energy logo onto Fredrick McCubbin's painting Down On His Luck at the Art Gallery of WA, and on the front doors of WA parliament building.

The premier was critical of the group for attempting to target Ms O'Neil's family home with paint last August during a protest action that was stopped by counter-terrorism police.

He said the activists were "extremists seeking to terrorise" after three were arrested.

Some of the activists involved in the group's previous protests have faced charges over their actions.