The Greens’ NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has launched a blistering attack on Liberal backbencher Scot MacDonald, calling him a ‘gas company stooge’ after the MP moved a motion in parliament yesterday calling on Mr Buckingham to apologise.
Mr MacDonald said Mr Buckingham had ‘misled the community’ when he appeared on a Prime TV news segment with a Woodenbong woman whose insurance coverage, underwritten by Allianz, specifically excluded any CSG exploration on her property.
‘This House notes Jeremy Buckingham MLC misled the community on Prime TV on Friday 9 May 2014,’ the motion read.
‘His imputation that the presence of coal seam gas on or near a property puts at risk insurance coverage has been refuted by Allianz.
‘This House calls on Mr Buckingham MLC to publically [sic] correct his assertion and apologise to the policy holder, Allianz, and the people of New South Wales,’ it ended.
Allianz spokesperson Nicholas Schofield said that while the policy in question would have been voided, the woman could have applied for a commercial insurance policy in place of the standard home insurance plan.
But Mr Buckingham held his ground, telling Echonetdaily last night, ‘I’m not going to be bullied into submission by a proven gas industry stooge’.
‘This is a man who went on a coal seam gas industry junket to Tasmania paid for by Santos, which was referred to ICAC,’ he said.
‘The Greens will continue to shed light on the risks and costs of the coal seam gas industry to communities and the environment,’ he added.
A Greens spokesperson reinforced the comments, saying, ‘while Allianz would cancel her insurance, she could apply for a different type of insurance of a more commercial nature given the greater risk profile associated with CSG. Presumably such a policy would incur significantly higher premiums, so the landholder is financially worse off because of CSG.
‘Jeremy is quite within his right to raise these issues publicly regardless of whether an insurance company tries to spin its way out of the wording on the policy, or regardless of Liberal backbenchers creating mischief with upper-house motions. Jeremy will be urging Mr MacDonald to bring on the motion for debate, as the impacts of CSG on things such as insurance should be discussed by the parliament and broader community,’ he added.