Grave offence: MPs slammed for 'political point scoring' in wake of shooting

Glen Turner

Glen Turner

LOCALS are among a chorus of people calling for MPs to keep political point scoring out of the debate surrounding this week’s shooting death of a Tamworth environmental officer.

Emotions are running high following the death of 51-year-old father-of-two and Office of Environment compliance officer, Glen Turner, and friends, colleagues and former workmates are denouncing politicians who have weighed in on controversial legislation entrenched in the alleged murder. A contentious story in a major Sydney newspaper quoting a family member of alleged murderer, Ian Robert Turnbull, who said he had been “pushed beyond” has further fuelled the fire.

“It’s an insult to the family of Glen Turner and his friends,” Gunnedah environmental researcher and former OEH colleague John Lemon told The Leader yesterday in response to the article.

“It’s appalling and it’s offensive.

“We must remember a very good man has lost his life for doing his job.”

Speaking from experience, Mr Lemon said government employees were bound by processes and constraints, but ill-informed commentators didn’t seem to be aware of these.

“The story is just awful. It almost seems as if it is seeking to justify the consequences of recent days,” he said.

“I feel it’s inexcuseable the [paper] has taken its tenor that it has today.”

The alleged shooting murder of Mr Turner, while on inspection duties over land-clearing in the Croppa Creek area on Tuesday, has seen opinions fly from all sides of the political spectrum.

NSW Labor environment spokesman Luke Foley labelled senior Nationals MPs “deranged” after comments they made this week that he said had sought to “explain away” the alleged gunning down of Mr Turner, referencing they were in the same frame of mind “that led to right-wing American extremists committing the Oklahoma bombing.”

“For politicians as senior as the deputy premier of the state [Andrew Stoner] and the federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to endorse rage against land-clearing laws is a betrayal of their offices,” he said in Sydney.

“Murder should be condemned in all circumstances.”

This week, Mr Joyce told The Leader “you have this crazy situation where you don’t own the vegetation on your land, the state government does, and many people have had enough.”

Meanwhile Mr Stoner said land-clearing laws “have been a sore point in farming communities since they were introduced by a Labor-Greens alliance in 2003”.

Premier Mike Baird said the comments were the wrong stance.

“The onus is on everyone to have a cool head,” he told Sydney media yesterday.

– with Fairfax Media

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