The following letter to the editor was published in the Clarence Valley's The Daily Examiner, Lismore's The Northern Star and The Clarence Valley Review during the last week.
I find it very interesting that the media, Australian Petroleum
Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) and certain members of
the community are claiming ‘a mandate’ in support of the Gas Mining
industry following the results of the recent Federal Election.
Firstly, ALL candidates for the seat of Page took a firm stance AGAINST
the development of the Gas Mining industry in this electorate.
Secondly, the elected candidate – Mr Kevin Hogan has openly stated that
he ‘will cross the floor’ in support of his stance AGAINST Gas Mining.
I’m certain this would have ‘encouraged’ many members of the community
(who are predominantly conservative anyway) to vote for him. I am sure
that the electorate will keep him accountable to this statement. How is
that a vote in support of the Gas Mining industry?
The community cannot compare political parties and results in this
election, when the Nationals, Liberals and the newly formed Palmer
United Party invest many hundreds of thousands and in some cases
millions of dollars into advertising for the campaign. Smaller political
parties do not have the advantage of such huge amounts of money being
thrown at them to ‘win a seat’.
Mr Hogan’s party openly used advertising designed to deceive the
community into voting for him. In particular his television
advertisements blamed Ms Saffin for items (such as electricity price
rises) which are legislated at state level. Unfortunately, not all
members of the electorate are wise to which legislation is passed at
what level of government.
It was very inappropriate for Mr Hogan to display signs at many polling
booths stating ‘Vote Labor get CSG Mining’, again, information aimed to
deceive the electorate and an out right lie! Gas Mining it is largely a
state issue and legislated by the State Government, and which party
currently holds power in the State? – you got it the National Liberal
Petroleum Exploration and Production Licences may be revoked under certain circumstances by the State Government under the Petroleum Onshore Act 1994 without any encumbrance to the said Government. The National Liberal Coalition hold the reins with this issue!
Some action can be taken at Federal level, such as the recent
introduction of the 'The Water Trigger’ under the Environment Protection
and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act which our previous member
Janelle Saffin pushed very hard to have introduced.
So, for individuals, media or APPEA to say that the reduced numbers
voting for The Greens and the Stop CSG Party proves that the electorate
wants Gas mining is just plain ludicrous, and yet another attempt at
typical Political Propaganda and Mining Company Spin.
There has never been Social Licence to turn the Northern Rivers into gasfields, and it’s not likely there ever will be.