24.3 C
Byron Shire
September 25, 2022

Labor’s north coast tribute blocked in parliament

Latest News

West Byron flooding

All east coast communities are now daily regularly warned by the ABC radio/TV, by the Bureau of Meteorology, to...

Other News

Students in the dark about milk production

NSW Farmers says an Australian university study has discovered four in five primary school students have no idea how modern milk is produced.

The Billys of Bangalow fly again

It was nothing but glorious spring weather for the Bangalow Billycart Derby on Sunday where the main drag was blocked off for a spectacular race day.

Hamster racing and home brew at King’s school

A local man who believes he was the first and possibly the only student to be expelled from the school of the King’s youth, says Charles’ opinion that Gordonstoun in Scotland was ‘Colditz in kilts’, was accurate.

Connecting with the tribe

Spring Wiggle – Equinox Tribe Connect is on this Friday and Saturday at the Durrumbul Hall. A top-shelf Crystal Grid production, the Spring...

Get your sculpture ideas in by Sept 30

The Ingenuity Small Sculpture Prize is seeking entries by September 30 from Northern Rivers artists with $6,000 worth of prizes up for grabs.

Body of missing swimmer found at Chinderah

NSW Police say the body of a man believed to be that of a missing swimmer has been located following a wide-scale search yesterday.

Labor's shadow north coast minister Walt Secord was three times blocked from making a tribute speech on the north coast floods in state parliament yestereday. Photo AAP Image/Mark Graham
Labor’s shadow north coast minister Walt Secord was three times blocked from making a tribute speech on the north coast floods in state parliament yestereday. Photo AAP Image/Mark Graham

The state opposition has accused the government of muzzling its attempt to pay tribute to flood-affected north coast communities in the upper house yesterday.

The government has dismissed the claim as point scoring but the Greens have sided with Labor, saying the issue should have been given an airing.

In what Labor described as ‘an extraordinary move’ the Nationals blocked shadow north coast minister Walt Secord three times from paying tribute to the north coast communities struggling with the worst flooding in 50 years.

Mr Secord said he was ‘profoundly disappointed that the Liberals and Nationals would stop parliamentarians speaking on one of the worst disasters to hit the north coast in living memory.’

He initially sought permission to have equal time to speak during Questions Without Notice.

When that was knocked back Mr Secord says he twice sought to suspend standing orders to make a shadow ministerial statement on the impact of the flood on north coast communities.

He added that the Nationals had ‘broken a long-standing tradition of dedicating parliamentary time to discuss a significant natural disaster.’

‘It was an extraordinary display by the Nationals and Liberals. A natural disaster like this should be above partisan party politics,’ Mr Secord said.

‘I had prepared a major speech paying tribute to those who lost their lives in the flood, the impact on the community and the brave SES emergency, health workers and volunteers who rallied behind the community.

‘It was an absolute disgrace to see the leader of the government in the upper house twice prevent the shadow minister for the north coast speaking on the floods,’ Mr Secord said.

Govt responds

But parliamentary secretary for northern NSW Ben Franklin described Mr Secord’s claims as ‘utter rubbish’.

Mr Franklin said the reason why Mr Secord was denied leave to speak at that stage of the day was ‘because he would have been the only one able to speak on it.’

‘It would have been inappropriate and unprecedented. The government believes that this issue is so significant, all members should have the right to speak on it – not just one,’ Mr Franklin said.

He added that the government is planning to have ‘a full debate on the disastrous events of the past few days, when every parliamentarian will be able to speak…who wishes to do so.’

He accused Mr Secord of ‘playing politics with the issue’, adding that ‘if Mr Secord wanted to contribute with a speech today, he could have done it in the adjournment debate at the end of the day’s sitting.’

‘This is an appropriate forum and is exactly what I have just done as parliamentary secretary for northern NSW,’ Mr Franklin said.


But according to Ballina MP Tamara Smith (Greens) a very different approach was taken in the lower house.

‘That’s so disappointing as in the Legislative Assembly it was different,’ she told Echonetdaily.

‘The government allowed both their priority motion and Labor’s to be debated (quite unusual and bipartisan).

‘Labor got a priority motion up to commend the community and SES on the north coast and I got leave to speak, which also quite unprecedented as usually only Labor and LNP get to,’ Ms Smith said.

But she added that ‘a few Labor MPs… took the opportunity whilst speaking on the flood motion to slag the government off so that may have led to “upstairs” being told [not to] give Labor any more airtime.’


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. We all know Walt Secord meant well.
    LNP, stands for Last Number Position on the ballot paper, PUT THE LIEBERAL-NATIONAL PARTIES LAST, thats where they put you.
    This is LNP politics at it’s grubbiest, the LNP are always in the gutter, every chance they get, we will all remember this insult to the flood ravaged Northern Rivers community.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Odd row of lights

Just following up the letter from Sarah Smith in the August 31 issue. It was a Starlink satellite train. My webcam captured the scene. Michael...

Trampling of the graves of the murdered: reply to Will Liley

As I read Will Liley’s response to my article in dedication to my late uncle, I recalled the poem in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel Clandestine in Chile:

Murwillumbah mega-school merger public meeting on Monday

Opposition to the merger of the four Murwillumbah Schools, which includes two primary and two high schools, remains strong. Monday will see Leader of the NSW opposition MP Chris Minns and local MP Janelle Saffin joining concerned parents, students and community members at a town hall meeting in Murwillumbah on Monday at 5.30pm.

Byron Council looking at rain damage

Byron Shire Council says they have staff out and about across the Shire today assessing damage from the rain.