Ballina Greens MP Tamara Smith and Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham have been accused of ‘blatant lies’ in relation to the decision to axe the Lennox Head ski-jump proposal.
Nationals parliamentary secretary for northern NSW Ben Franklin said the Greens pair had concocted a motion to the Upper House suggesting he had held back the announcement that the ski-jump would not go ahead, and that the deal would be off if Ms Smith spoke at a rally against the proposal.
‘This is a direct attack on my character,’ Mr Franklin said
‘To suggest that I would link a public policy outcome to some sort of petty egomania is repugnant, and I reject it out of hand.’
Ms Smith rejected Mr Franklin’s claims, and said the motion to the Upper House had nothing to do with her.
Mr Buckingham had moved the motion that the Upper House congratulates the Lennox Head community and the NoSkiJumpforLennox Residents Group for their successful campaign against the government-proposed ski-jump.
He also congratulated Ms Smith for providing ‘the funding and assistance to the community campaign, including for the rally held on 27 May.
Mr Buckingham’s motion noted that almost no consultation had taken place before the NSW Minister for Sport announced the development, and that Mr Franklin had told the residents group two days before that the minister had decided to take the project elsewhere.
The motion said ‘the Honourable Ben Franklin MLC swore the Residents Group to secrecy and insisted that it still hold the rally just so that he could make a big public announcement about the backflip, and the Honourable Ben Franklin MLC told the Residents Group that if the member for Ballina spoke at the rally then the deal was off’.
The motion called on the house to condemn Mr Franklin for ‘treating the community with such contempt and prioritizing his own moment in the spotlight over the interests of the broader community.’
Mr Franklin responded saying ‘Tamara Smith couldn’t achieve an outcome on this issue for her electorate because she is not part of the government and doesn’t impact on the decision making process’.
He said the motion from Mr Buckingham was ‘a direct attack on my character’.
‘To suggest that I would link a public policy outcome to some sort of petty egomania is repugnant, and I reject it out of hand,’ he said.
He told parliament that Ms Smith and Mr Buckingham should stop playing ‘petty politics’ and start acting with integrity’.
‘I have worked closely with some genuine, diligent, community-minded members of the Greens Party, like Jan Barham and Mayor Simon Richardson, to achieve genuinely positive outcomes for our community,’ he said.
‘It’s time for Tamara Smith and Jeremy Buckingham to grow up and take a leaf out of their books.’
Ms Smith declined to comment on the matter.
Mr Buckingham however congratuated Ms Smith for the role she had played.
‘Tamara Smith is doing a fantastic job as an effective local MP, and I’m really proud that the campaign by Tamara and the community meant the Nationals have backed down from their ridiculous plans for a ski jump at Lennox Head,’ he said.