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Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

Hogan to fight against CSG

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New MP for Page Kevin Hogan says he will cross the floor if necessary to uphold his stand to keep the northern rivers coal-seam gas (CSG) free.

Mr Hogan wrested the marginal seat, which takes in Grafton and Lismore, from Labor’s Janelle Saffin on Saturday night, with a swing of around four per cent for the Nationals.

He told a local TV station after his win that he would make good on his promise to keep the region CSG free by advocating against in it public forums.

Ms Saffin, who had held the seat since 2007, congratulated Mr Hogan after her defeat, but said she feared for the people of the electorate with budget cuts expected in areas such as education.

The seat however remains marginal and Ms Saffin has not ruled out running again in the 2016 election.

The Nationals pledged millions of dollars to the seat during the election campaign for things such as highway upgrades, affordable housing and extra help for small business.

Echonetdaily political commentator Mungo MacCallum said Ms Saffin was one of the country’s best local members and the electorate would sorely miss her.

At the last count, Mr Hogan had drawn 52.66 per cent of the votes against Ms Saffin’s 47.34 per cent on two-party preferred basis

The Greens candidate for Page, Desley Banks, came third in the field with 6.26 per cent of the primary vote, with a slight swing of around two per cent against her party.

Reduced margin

In the neighbouring seat of Richmond, Labor’s sitting MP Justine Elliot has held on to win, but with a reduced margin of around four per cent.

Mrs Elliot blamed Labor’s loss of government on voters frustrated with the party’s infighting but said she would work hard for the electorate despite being in opposition.

She said she feared new prime minister Tony Abbott’s policies would impact negatively on the electorate.

Ms Elliot also told Echonetdaily that retaining her seat for Labor against the national tide was a clear reflection of the community’s concerns over coal seam gas (CSG).

‘It was very clear many voters were worried about the future of our area with the threat of CSG mining and exploration,’ she said.

‘This certainly sends a clear message about our campaign to stop CSG and we’ll continue that especially with the Nationals threatening to pave the way for it here.’

The sitting MP, who has held her seat since 2004, had campaigned strongly in the past year against CSG, while the Nationals’ candidate Matthew Fraser dismissed it as a major issue, and bore the brunt of community anger as a result.

Mr Fraser’s comments that there were no viable CSG deposits in Richmond, despite the interest from major mining companies, also drew ridicule from anti-CSG campaigners.

The Greens’ Dawn Walker agreed the CSG issue had played a major role in the region, saying it was the ‘biggest concern’ for voters in Richmond.

‘They were worried about the Nationals threatening to “let it rip” before Christmas and people were becoming really concerned about it,’ she said.

Mrs Walker said she was ‘thrilled to bits’ with the Greens’ solid showing, taking around 18 per cent of the primary vote.

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  1. We want Kevin Hogan to do more than speak against csg, we want him to educate his fellow government members about it’s dangers. Especially that mad Macfarlane. Hogan would be one of the few who has even bothered to look.

  2. I am surprised Hogan would cross the floor on CSG and hope he maintains his courage when faced with the inevitable party room pressure to line the CSG industry pockets. Maybe he should start with a chat about it with Barnaby Joyce who now is MP for New England.
    The issue with CSG and broad acre Coal Strip Mining as well is that it severely downgrades or destroys forever agricultural and grazing assets (arable land and water) which we are only holding in custody for the many many generations ahead.
    Particularly where local communities are against these destructive industries; their wishes should be met. That’s called democracy.

  3. Indeed. Given the disappointing unseating of our previous local member, Janelle Saffin, who fought tooth and nail for her Page constituents, it is encouraging to know that Mr Hogan is also willing to cross the floor on this vitally-important issue and that he is committed to a sustainable, environmentally-sound future, rather than rampant destruction by the coal and mining industries. (I do wonder his promised scrapping of the carbon tax, though!)

    As the above poster noted, this is a very real issue which will require a great deal more than our local member simply speaking out against it. The people of this electorate, when surveyed systematically and on an individual basis, overwhelmingly declared themselves vehemently opposed to CSG. An ongoing concerted and united effort needs to be set in place to keep the very real CSG monster at bay, especially now that Tony Abbott, self-confessed climate change sceptic, holds the reins. Our environment is at risk, and we need to respond accordingly.

  4. Thank you Kevin Hogan! I wish our new Lyne representative David Gillespie would do the same. Here in Gloucester and the Manning Valley we are facing a onslaught from the csg industry. I wish we had a MP that would ask questions instead of blindly following the party line.

  5. Crossing the floor is a mere token gesture, considering the Coalition’s majority in the house. How many other Nats have declared there opposition to CSG? I, too, hope Hogan can “educate his fellow government members” Union Street Resident.
    Saffin didn’t get all the infrastructure in Page by posturing, she did the hard work behind the scenes. Has Kevin got the where-with-all to do the same in his organisation – only time will tell? Crossing the floor means zilch without the commitment to lobby for your beliefs within the party structure. Conscience vote, anyone?

  6. Hogan crossing the floor/ I will believe it when I see it. the most likely event will be him explaining “sincerely”to voters that he did all he could in the party room before voting for it with the rest of the prostitutes.

  7. Mr Hogan won’t see a second term if he does that Mac Nicolson. Page is now a swinging seat and he’ll have to show he’s full on fighting for us.


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