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Byron Shire
June 15, 2024

It’s time the pollies listened to us

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Julie McNamara, Murwillumbah

I am surprised Thomas George was embarrassed by the conduct of the people who attended the meeting in Lismore on 5/12/12.

We have been trying to get him to listen and answer our questions for months. Questions that are not addressed by the Strategic Land Use Policy. We have read the policy; it does not answer many of our fears at all. This was well noted again at the meeting, when even Mr Hazzard refused to, or couldn’t, answer them. We were not prepared to waste two hours listening to it all again; it was time they listened to us.

If Mr George was embarrassed, so was I!

Why did he give acknowledgement of Country when he had elders of the Aboriginal community standing not more than three metres from him? Why did he not ask them to give the welcome? How disrespectful!

How can he stand before these people and talk about destroying their land, and not expect them and the crowd present to not voice their anger at his hypocrisy?

He shows disrespect to everyone who writes to him when they only get the standard reply of the Strategic Land Management Policy.

The people in his electorate are well informed, and many well educated. Many of the public speakers there yesterday had more qualifications than the panel, but they had none of their serious questions answered, questions that should concern him and Mr Hazzard.

They, if genuine, would be pleased to get those questions and their alarm bells should be ringing. They should be pleased the electorate is well informed and up to date with what is happening. They should have stopped and listened.

It’s not wrong to say ‘I don’t know’ but these questions that Mr Hazzard or his panel couldn’t answer should have shown that this industry should be stopped until the answers can be found. It’s too late once the damage is done.

The SLU policy is full of spin. We want the facts; we want you to talk about the facts, the dangers; and we want to hear what you are doing about these. We want to know we are working on this together.

The policy says it is safe, all the restrictions etc have been put on place.

We then learn that not even baseline testing has been undertaken anywhere. Don’t tell us they have the good science when there hasn’t even been the most fundamental data collected. SHAME!

All INDEPENDENT science warns against CSG, or at least suggests the process should be stopped until more is known.

Why wasn’t Mr George at the recent lecture at SCU to hear from these scientists, so that he could ask questions too and learn more about this industry, or does he think he knows more than they do?

When Mr George complains about the people’s attitude, I think of Mr Hazzard’s comment to Jenny Dowell, when she explained how 87 per cent of the people voted in Lismore against CSG, he replied, ‘they better get used to it, it’s coming anyway’.

I think Mr Hazzard was disrespectful to both Ms Dowell and the people of Lismore. Mr George and Mr Hazzard should be aware now, that if they persist in forcing CSG on the people and it does come, Lock The Gate is here too, and they ‘better get used to it’.

Seven thousand people marched in Lismore; 5,000 rallied in Murwillumbah against CSG. They said we will fight to STOP CSG in the northern rivers. They will be fighting at every blockade, at every site, and they will not go away. Did you not listen to them, Mr George?

So you don’t get more surprises, Mr George – WE WILL STOP COAL-SEAM GAS UNTIL PROVEN SAFE.

I see that Justine Elliott has declared she now too is opposed to CSG. I hope Mr George, Mr Provest, Mr Page and Mr Gulaptis follow her lead, and start to do the right thing by their electorate. It is very clear: they will pay at the next election if they don’t.

We have a moral right to defend ourselves from these uninvited invaders who run the risk of destroying everything that is ours.

It is our right to defend ourselves! It is our duty to defend our country!

The Lock the Gate campaign is non-violent but non-negotiable.

As people were calling out at the end of the public meeting in Lismore, and you had better be listening, Mr George: NO MEANS NO!

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  1. Excellent letter. Politicians should not think they can impose their cosy ‘wink and nod’ with the CSG extraction speculators onto electorates where huge majorities oppose this polluting and dangerous form of gas well drilling. If they do not listen and act in their electorates favour, every voter wil be reminded of their arrogance and hostility to our communities when voting time next comes.

  2. So, MP Thomas George was left reeling with embarrassment in the wake of Wednesday’s meeting? OK, that makes two of us (and the rest)but it certainly wasn’t the intelligent if noisy hecklers that caused my embarrassment on that occasion.

    I am embarrassed to be ‘represented’ by persons willing to say whatever it takes to coerce and quieten their audience, including misrepresenting the situation.

    I am embarrassed to be ‘represented’ by persons who find it in some way acceptable to go through the motions of acknowledging ‘country’ whilst simultaneously supporting those who would plunder that same country.
    I am embarrassed to be ‘represented’ by those who find the observation of social niceties somehow more important than their constituents’ physical, psychological, spiritual and cultural wellbeing.

    On a 1-10 scale of emotions, where 0 = that level of numbness and lack of conscience that we’ve come to associate with CSG personnel, and where ‘heartbroken’ or ‘suicidal’ nudges 10, our ‘representative’s’ embarrassment barely warrants acknowledgement.

    Julie McNamara makes a valid point regarding the likelihood of these people being returned to power or position in the wake of the next election, but an infinitely more compelling reason for doing the right thing is surely the likelihood of their actions being directly linked to the future health of their loved ones, and of everyone’s loved ones.

    People who have within their grasp the means of making things better, but knowingly, or unwittingly (because they’ve failed to educate themselves on vitally important issues), make them very much worse through their individual and collective actions, can point the finger at no-one but themselves. The buck stops with our ‘representatives’. Failure to represent constituents surely is tantamount to failure to fulfil job duties. In most workplaces, that warrants dismissal.


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