Shadow minister for the north coast, Walt Secord, has accused Lismore MP Thomas George of lying to local media about the chain of events that saw him email a copy of a petition containing the names and addresses of about 17 signatories.
One of the signatories, a 77-year-old man, said he was fearful about his name and address being disclosed because of the nature of the petition, which called for more police to deal with local bikie gangs.
The petition was started by Mr Secord and Richmond MP Justine Elliot and called on Tweed MP and parliamentary secretary for police, Geoff Provest, to take action.
Mr George yesterday told APN Media that the document was public information based on advice that Mr Provest had received.
He added that he had only emailed the petition to one person and only at their request.
But an examination of the email exchange, which has been sighted by Echonetdaily (with the name of the recipient blacked out), shows no such request was made.
The petition was forwarded following a letter to Mr George from the mother of a constituent who was concerned that not enough was being done on the issue of policing. She also commented that she was aware of the petition.
Mr George responded, ‘I am in constant contact with the police in my area and am very much aware of the issues.’
‘In relation to Ms Elliot’s petition, please find attached a copy of same, which was tabled in parliament.
‘It only included 17 signatures and Ms Elliot didn’t even sign it herself.’
Mr Secord told Echonetdaily the correspondence proved Mr George’s claim that he forwarded the petition on the request of a constituent was false.
He added that had already lodged further petitions – with a total of 422 signatures – for the upcoming session, but he wanted an assurance that the signatories’ personal details would be protected by the NSW government.
Anti CSG petition next?
Mr Secord and Mrs Elliot subsequently issued a press release saying they had concerns over the anti-CSG petition signed by more than 12,000 north coast residents, which was lodged in state parliament last October.
‘The Nationals must guarantee that they have protected the privacy of the 12,000 people,’ Mr Secord said.
‘The last thing the community wants is to see the National Party pass on individual’s personal details to the gas companies.’
Mrs Elliot said, ‘the pro-CSG National Party are hand-in-glove with the CSG mining companies so they must provide a public guarantee that the personal details of CSG opponents have not been passed on to the gas giants by Nationals MPs.’