|Cate Faehrmann MLC with The Knitting Nanas Against Gas|
Cate FaehrmannThree weeks ago I sat with the Knitting Nannas Against Gas outside Thomas George’s office in Lismore. Their peaceful, colourful and engaging methods of drawing attention to the prospects of a damaging coal seam gas industry here in the northern rivers typifies this community movement.
It’s a genuine and nonpartisan response to the failure of local elected members to respect the voice of the communities they represent. I think it would be a shame to see the CSG movement captured by vested interests. To do so would not only undermine the authenticity of the campaign, but also create division when maintaining broad community consensus is vital to success.
So I was disappointed to read Xavier Rudd’s comments in Echonetdaily the following week suggesting a new political party could arise out of the Save the Kimberley and anti-CSG movements. Xavier’s music gives words to many of us who feel a deep connection to nature and I thank him for that. However, the idea of a new political party ignores the fact that the people engaged in this movement come from very diverse walks of life. Turning this into a political party risks splitting a movement that is already achieving results.
Xavier’s comments also fail to recognise the actions of Greens politicians in NSW and federal parliaments fighting to stop the CSG industry. These actions include:
- the recent CSG Inquiry and Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill, which were initiated by my colleague Greens MP, Jeremy Buckingham
- the actions of Greens mayors, like Simon Richardson who is giving a powerful voice to his local community
- the tireless campaigning of federal Greens MP Rachel Siewart to protect the Kimberley and its Indigenous culture from the proposed gas plant at James Price Point, and
- my own public calls for an immediate moratorium on the CSG industry and successful ‘call for papers’ in the NSW Upper House last year that exposed inadequate government regulations.
The Greens have over 40 years of political and grassroots activism dating back to campaigns to protect the flooding of Lake Pedder in the remote Tasmanian wilderness. Our values haven’t changed since then and we aren’t afraid to take up these debates in parliaments and community halls around Australia. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the speech by Greens leader, Christine Milne, at the National Press Club last week where she mentioned Doubtful Creek and work of the northern rivers community in fighting to stop CSG mining.
Unlike Labor, The Greens are not conflicted on the issue of CSG. We simply don’t believe CSG mining has a place in the northern rivers and have been campaigning for a blanket moratorium on this hazardous industry long before any other party showed any interest. So while the National/Liberal Party continue to facilitate the expansion of CSG mining and Labor contradicts itself by speaking against CSG one day, and approving new CSG mines the next, The Greens will stand firm. If elected as your Greens senator for NSW at the upcoming federal election, I will be there in part because the people of NSW and especially the northern rivers understand that their strongest voice against CSG mining is a Green one.
Greens NSW MP, spokesperson on the environment and lead senate candidate for the Greens in NSW for the 2013 federal election.
Original article at echonetdaily with other articles related to the coal seam gas protests in the Northern Rivers