Helen Bender with One Nation leader Pauline Hanson on her tour of Chinchilla last week to hear concerns about unconventional gas mining on landholders. Picture from Ms Hanson’s Facebook page.ONE Nation leader Pauline Hanson has told Chinchilla locals she will follow-up “personally” with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the whereabouts of a Senate inquiry into unconventional gas mining.
The inquiry was instigated in the previous parliament by former Queensland Palmer United Party member, turned independent Senator, Glenn Lazarus.
That inquiry was due to hand down its report on June 30 this year but the process was interrupted by the calling of the July 2 double-dissolution election where Senator Lazarus failed to be re-elected.
It was subsequently called the “Bender inquiry” after Chinchilla cotton farmer George Bender who took his own life late last year, after a decade-long battle against Coal Seam Gas mining in his home area, in seeking to give farmers the right to prevent mining companies entering their land.
That cause has since been taken up by his daughter Helen Bender who spoke at a community meeting held last week in the Queensland farming district and was one of the landholders that Senator Hanson spent time with during her tour of the region.
Ms Bender told the forum – that was also broadcast on social media – the situation with her father was, “much harder to talk about now than ever before”.
“I’m pretty proud of my father, he said ‘no’,” she said.
“Basically games are played by the industry and basically through those games, it led to the death, of George, taking his life, that’s just over a year now.”
Ms Bender said Senator Lazarus had established the Senate inquiry in honour of her father but Mr Turnbull’s decision to call a double dissolution election had provided a “very convenient” method for him to “just basically push it out the back door, and under the carpet and let’s not deal with the real issue”.
“Hopefully Pauline, and for all the voices in the gas fields, we can have our voice back again, because we do need that,” she said.
Senator Hanson said she only learned about the Bender inquiry on the day of her tour of the area but pledged to follow through and see where it was now at and “speak to the Prime Minister himself personally”.
Senator Pauline HansonThis article first appeared on FarmOnline