Upper house Labor MP and shadow minister for the north coast Walt Secord stands by his statement that roads minister Duncan Gay is a ‘koala killer’, even though he was forced to withdraw the comment during debate in the house on Wednesday.
The outburst came during the debate the protection of koalas in an area of bushland west of Coffs Harbour.
Liberal MLC Matthew Mason-Cox was answering a question from a member of the Shooters Party at the time
‘The Shooters asked a question about Coffs Harbour and I shouted out,’ he told Echonetdaily.
Mr Gay responded to the comment, coming to defence of Mr Mason-Cox, only to discover the appellation was intended for him.
‘The honourable member referred to my colleague as a koala killer,’ Mr Gay announced to the house.
‘No, I was referring to you as a koala killer, Mr Secord retorted.
The speaker ruled the term ‘koala killer’ to be offensive and Mr Secord was forced to withdraw.
But he later told Echonetdaily he was happy to repeat the claim outside the house.
‘I was referring to the koalas affected by the Wardell section of the Pacific Highway. Duncan knows that. I was referring to his decision to ignore community concerns about koalas,’ he said.
‘I will continue to hold Duncan Gay to account over this and I firmly believe he is a koala killer.’
In related news, Mr Secord has been given the shadow ministry for health and shadow ministry for liquor regulation while retaining his responsibilities for the north coast following an opposition front-bench reshuffle this week.
Over the next six months in the lead-up to the state election, Labor will be focusing on the massive cuts to health by the State and federal governments and their devastating impact on North Coast families,’ Mr Secord said.
‘I will be working with our north coast labor team to highlight the failure of the National Party and their MPs – Chris Gulaptis (Clarence), Thomas George (Lismore), Don Page (Ballina) and Geoff Provest (Tweed) – to fight the cuts to essential health services.’