'Gunner the Betrayer'


Sir – It is quite understandable that Chief Minister Gunner was not impressed with my showtime attire. The shirt I was wearing carried the logo Ban Fracking – Gunner the Betrayer.
The Chief Minster, aided by his Deputy Nicole Manison, endeavoured to avoid speaking to me, however I persisted and raised the matter of the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing having been lifted by an undemocratic process early in 2018.
The decision was made by a mere eight of our twenty five MLAs.
The Member for Katherine Sandra Nelson was one of the 17 MLAs who were deprived of a vote when the decision to lift the moratorium was made. When I raised this matter with the Chief Minister I was told by him that Sandra did get a vote when the decision was made.
I then spoke to Sandra and after initially not wanting to communicate with me, she told me that she did vote on the matter and that she voted in line with with Labor Party policy to lift the moratorium.
The voting that Sandra referred to was not in the Legislative Assembly but was merely a Caucus vote by the 18 Labor parliamentarians. Sandra is the leader of the Labor Caucus so it is not surprising that she voted the way she did.
Voting in the Caucus was behind closed doors. Openness and transparency do not prevail with Caucus voting.
On previous occasions when Sandra has been asked about this matter she has flatly refused to speak about it saying that it is confidential information. She has claimed that it was a democratic process. I suspect that the majority of Sandra’s constituents would disagree with her on that point.
Sandra was elected on an anti-fracking platform in an electorate where there is strong opposition to fracking. She is personally opposed to fracking but when the ‘chips’ were down she toe’d the party line and voted contrary to her own personal view and against the wishes of the majority of her constituents.
The message on the shirt Gunner the Betrayer could equally be applied to the Member for Katherine. Both Michael Gunner and Sandra Nelson have shamelessly betrayed Territorians.
Fracking is lunacy. The Northern Territory is being driven into oblivion by politicians who seem to be intent only on being re-elected.
Bruce Francais (pictured)


  1. Bruce, some people would sell their own mother if there was a buck in it.
    Many of these decisions, with I fear worse to come, both Territory and Federal, are being made for budget bottom lines at the expense of long term national needs. It’s the consequence of governments being in heavy structural deficit.

  2. I think it is wonderful that the T-shirt worn by Bruce will end up in the Katherine museum.
    Like a genuine time capsule capturing the mood of the people of Katherine at the time.
    Not a great legacy for a politician, but probably a fitting one.

  3. I agree with Bruce. I can also confirm that Sandra Nelson gave me an undertaking (as did the lying Labor Bastards that we did a preference deal with) that she was against fracking and would not let it get up in the Territory, hence she got my preferences in Katherine, which she won on.
    As the next Territory election draws close watch the FAILED cowards run for the hills and not contest their seats. Watch as the spending starts to go through the roof in regional NT, particularly around Aboriginal communities, but more importantly watch the lies that fly from both parties’ mouths.
    But remember this, the Territory has never been in such dire economic straits whist at the cusp of destroying our greatest asset and draw card – our environment. Thanks to both the CLP and the ALP.

  4. Fracking in the NT is fraught with risks to our fragile environment.
    After a conversation with a Santos representative at the Katherine Show who claimed that the NT was not likely to ever experience a serious earthquake, because we’re not on the edge of a tectonic plate.
    This prompted me to research into the risk of seismic activity in the fracking zones, and have been more than a little alarmed by the results.
    The largest earthquake in Australia (6.7 magnitude) was recorded at Tennant Creek in 1988, and it was only one of a series of three that all recorded an over 6 magnitude.
    These did more than $2.5 million worth of damage (in 1988 values) in Tennant Creek, particularly to the hospital, and twisted a long section of a gas pipeline, something that the gas companies should perhaps consider in their planning.
    These earthquakes were followed up by more than 20,000 after-shocks that went on for years – in fact, some of the tremors that the NT is still experiencing may still be related to that earthquake.
    The Newcastle earthquake in 1989 that killed 13 people and did more than $4bn worth of damage was 5.7 magnitude, so it stands to reason that any earthquake over a magnitude of 5 will do serious damage to fracking wells, particularly since they are intra-plate earthquakes and, therefore, totally unpredictable.
    Intra-plate earthquakes are shallow, and have the capacity to destroy infrastructure at or near the surface of the earth.
    There have been two recent earthquakes of more than 5 magnitude in the NT – one on 30th May this year about 330 km NW of Alice Springs and another in 2016, in the Petermann Ranges near Uluru.
    The disturbing quality of intra-plate earthquakes is that they can turn up anywhere, at any time, and there will be no warning whatsoever, so if the gas companies are ignoring the issue, or claiming that it’s so low risk it doesn’t need considering, we all might be in for a very nasty surprise one day.

  5. Could Gunner be telling porkies as well as being a sellout?
    Fracking has been given the green light by Gunner’s mob despite uttering noises to the contrary.
    Gunner says he knows nothing about US plans to establish a naval base near Darwin and upgrade of Tindal airbase for US purposes.
    Can we expect an about face on that too?

  6. @ Braedon: Sandra indicated last year (or before) that she will not be re-contesting Katherine in the 2020 Legislative Assembly elections.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here