Former Labor resources minister Martin Ferguson’s appointment as chair to a petroleum industry advisory board makes a mockery of the code of conduct which prevents former ministers engaging in lobbying activities relating to any matter that they had official dealings in.
Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne says Mr Ferguson, who was also appointed as group executive of natural resources for Seven Group Holdings, is an ‘advocate of the fossil fuel industry’ and ‘on the exact same page as Ian Macfarlane when it comes to removing any kind of barrier to coal seam gas and resource extraction’.
‘The whole point of the code of conduct is to separate former ministers from the industries they have been in direct contact with,’ Senator Milne said.
‘It’s hard to see how a former resources minister going to work in the resources wing of Seven doesn’t make a complete mockery of the code,’ she said.
‘Just today Mr Ferguson is reported to have urged NSW and Victoria to follow the lead of SA, WA, Queensland and the NT in encouraging gas development.
‘He is also reported to have said the Santos project at Pilliga and the AGL project must be allowed to proceed.
‘Mr Ferguson says he is conscious of the code, but in the same breath says he wants to build community support for gas and encourage development.
‘The Australian Greens will be watching very closely to make sure former minister Ferguson does not breach his responsibilities under the code.’