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May 8, 2021

George ‘conflict of interest’ raised in Parliament

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Shadow minister for the north coast, Walt Secord, has told Parliament that Lismore MP Thomas George has a conflict of interest over his son Stuart’s employment with Metgasco.

Mr Secord was speaking on Wednesday about proposed government changes that would see the burning of forest biomass counted as ‘green’ energy.

But in a wide-ranging speech that took in the record of the north coast communities as leaders in environmental awareness and resistance against widespread logging and land-clearing, he also raised the current struggle against Metgasco’s plans at Bentley.

‘ABC Radio North Coast and the Byron Shire Echo have been at the forefront of reporting the community’s anger about the Liberal-Nationals state government’s environmental failures,’ he said.

The north coast has a strong environmental movement, led by dedicated community groups such as Lock the Gate and the North East Forest Alliance. As recently as 30 April Dailan Pugh, who is a spokesperson for the North East Forest Alliance, directly raised with me his organisation’s concerns about the Liberal-Nationals’ plans on biomass,’ he continued.

‘We had a lengthy discussion on the impact of the biomass regulation when I visited the Bentley Blockade on the north coast to show my solidarity against unconventional gas. Dailan Pugh was among the hundreds of concerned citizens at the community-based protest.’

He continued he speech with support for the Bentley farmers and land protectors.

‘At that protest I was accompanied by the federal member for Richmond, Justine Elliot, and Labor’s candidate for the Tweed, Ron Goodman. Justine Elliot and Ron Goodman have been at the forefront of the fight against coal seam gas expansion on the north coast. I was pleased to express my public support for the locals, homemakers and farmers at the Bentley Blockade. I saw them again today at state Parliament.

‘They are alarmed by the prospect of the Baird government using police officers to remove lawful protesters from the site on behalf of Metgasco. Hard-working police should not be the meat in the sandwich,’ he said

But he next turned his attention to Mr George.

‘Police should be tackling real criminals rather than arresting lawful protesters on behalf of a commercial company. More importantly, a glaring conflict of interest was highlighted last night by Channel 7. It involved Lismore Nationals member of parliament and deputy speaker, Thomas George – a fierce opponent of the Bentley Blockade.

‘It turns out that his son Stuart George is the community relations manager for Metgasco. This is the bloke who does spin for Metgasco.’

The National Party’s Rick Colless objected to the statement in a point of order, saying if Mr Secord wanted to ‘move a motion against a member of Parliament’ he should do so ‘by way of substantive motion’.

The Lennox Head-based Liberal MLC Catherine Cusack then chimed in, asking assistant president Fred Nile ‘to order the member to withdraw that disgraceful smear’.

Having put his statement on the record, Mr Secord went on to comment the work of Team Koala and Friends of the Koala, raising the spectre of forests being razed to fire electricity generators.

‘North coast communities know that in the 1960s New South Wales communities were told that only waste products would be burnt by the timber industry but by the 1990s 90 per cent of the timber logged on the New South Wales north and south coasts went into the chipper.

‘They know that this regulation would once again be the thin end of the wedge. I must express my disappointment at the lack of representation and leadership by north coast National Party parliamentarians on this matter,’ Mr Secord said.

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  1. I wrote to Thomas George with my concerns over CSG and supplied him with information I had obtained through my own time-consuming research. My local representative has never taken the time, or had the courtesy to reply.

  2. I knew it I knew it ….no wonder he sat in silence at the town hall rally in lismore last year, while all his constituents were asking for some action from Mr George ……conflict of interest ….you friggin bet

  3. Well Rossco, it has been fairly obvious for some time that Mr. George will not barrack for our side. I think we must just bide ourselves in patience until next election as see him gracefully retire.

    On the other hand, our esteemed fed MP Kevin Hogan has always spruiked his opposition to CSG so that is good…… BUT has anyone seen him at the Blockade? He seems to be “missing in action”. He has said the people should not “break the law” in the protest but fails to give me the confidence that he will fight our corner in Canberra.

    We will overcome…………

  4. When writing to a politician it is important to supply your name, address, phone number and email address. This still won’t guarantee he/she will answer but anonymous letters go straight into the bin.

    This gives some very good advice regarding communicating with one’s representative ( key word …representative) Few politicians understand that they are their electorate’s agent in parliament. the voice of the people they are elected to represent.

  5. Thomas George should have stepped down the moment he recognized he could not represent his constituents. That us the disgraceful aspect That he would continue to be paid for a job he ‘chose’ not to do. Even more alarming, this man sits on the ICAC board.

  6. Well well well fancy… Is it really that surprising?
    The Libs & Nats are extremely greedy, short sighted & under informed through ignorance & their want of swapping their “god” for gold approach to their last fossil fuel grab they’re prepared to rape, pillage plunder the land & environment. The corruption is only just surfacing as the Murdocracy refuses to report a smear campaign as performed on labour. Damn shame this is our country we love it BUT the coalition govt. hates Australia & Australians it would appear from their performance so far…. Expect more to come as they only have their eye on the trophy!!

  7. …[Stuart George] works for Metgasco, Richmond Valley Council, Rous Water, Northern Rivers Tourism. Conveniently the first three all tie in together, and a father as State MP and in the ICAC committee… He has inside info and influence everywhere.


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