Fracking fears swing voters away from Labor

Published: March 02, 2020

The massive swing against the ruling Labor Party in the Johnston by-election is proof constituents are unhappy with the government’s pro-fracking agenda, according to Protect Country Alliance.

The results represent a 12.1 per cent swing against Labor. If this was replicated at the August election, the party would be left with only six seats.

PCA spokesperson Dan Robins said it was likely successful candidate Joel Bowden scraped through due to comments he made indicating he would re-examine the government’s approach to dirty dangerous fracking in the Territory.

“Mr Bowden made plenty of noise on the campaign trail about being open to taking constituents’ concerns about fracking back to the Chief Minister,” Mr Robins said.

“Now that he’s in government, we sincerely hope he honours those commitments, and we see the government back away from its pro-fracking obsession.”

Mr Bowden also told media on Thursday that “I’ve heard loud and clear from the people of Johnston. These conversations about the environment, about climate change, need to be continued. Renewables have to be the next wave, the $20 billion that’s going down into a solar farm near the Barkly in Tennant Creek area that’s huge! And that will create extra jobs, we will be transitioning to renewables to a new area which is renewables and those sorts of jobs.

Mr Bowden’s narrow victory also comes after media revealed Territory and Federal politicians knew that opening up the Beetaloo to fracking would blow apart any chance for Australia to meet its Paris Agreement emissions targets.

“Labor will suffer more significant swings against it in the Territory Elections on August 22 unless they have better policies to protect Territory waterways and communities from harmful fracking,” Mr Robins said.

“Protect Country Alliance is calling on the new Member for Johnston to honour his promises to his constituents and communicate his community’s opposition to fracking inside the Labor Party Caucus room on Monday.

“The growing anti-fracking vote shows a number of traditional Labor voters have moved away from Labor towards the minor parties in an effort to have their voices heard on fracking.”

Mr Robins said the Gunner Government’s decision to green light fracking was still very raw for many Territorians, and was clearly influencing who they voted for.

“We hope the outcome of the byelection is a wake-up call to the Gunner Government, and other party hopefuls, that voters won’t tolerate dirty and dangerous fracking in the NT, and instead want to see less talk and more action on expanding renewable energy to benefit communities, our economy and the climate.

“Voters are demanding a race to the top from parties for the best clean energy policies. We'll be campaigning hard until the August polls to ensure the future of the Territory is powered by clean solar, not polluting gas.”

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