More measured response called for

When multi-million-dollar activist group Lock The Gate does one of its campaigns trying to bully local councils into banning resource development, it calls it “people power”.  But when a shire council suggests its employees consider participating in a survey, this is apparently some kind of outrage against democracy.

That is the conclusion to be drawn from the shrill response of LTG-supported NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham, who would have us believe the Narrabri Shire has turned into some kind of activist organisation trying to use staff “as pawns in political games”.  (Northern Daily Leader 10 Feb).

“Councils should represent the whole community and not try to push a pro-CSG line through their employees. This could be construed as putting pressure on employees to toe the line, or potentially risk their careers,” Mr Buckingham says.

Isn’t that just a little heavy-handed?  Particularly when the council apparently gave no suggestion as to how people should respond to the survey – just that they should consider registering their views..?

Might the reality be that the Council is aware that some people are reluctant to express pro-development views because of the way they are howled down by the activist ‘catastrophe’ chorus?

And isn’t it a bit rich for Mr Buckingham to be indignant when he himself does his utmost to push his own personal views, including trying to stop all fossil fuel development anywhere in NSW – regardless of what locals worried about their future and livelihoods might think..?

Perhaps the last word should go to the more measured approach of the Narrabri Shire:

“Council will continue to encourage all members of the community to get involved in the consultation process on the Narrabri Gas Project.”   Hear. Hear.

Steve Wright

Energy Resource Information Centre

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