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Buckingham garners Silver City support

Monday, 11th March, 2019

Eve-lyn Kennedy, Jeremy Buckingham and Bill and Chrissie Ashby along the Darling River. PICTURE: Supplied Eve-lyn Kennedy, Jeremy Buckingham and Bill and Chrissie Ashby along the Darling River. PICTURE: Supplied

By Callum Marshall

Eve-lyn Kennedy, once Broken Hill’s Greens candidate for the seat of Barwon, has now joined a group Upper House ticket spearheaded by former Greens MP and now Independent Jeremy Buckingham. 

The 15-strong group was announced by Mr Buckingham last week and includes fellow Broken Hill resident Mark Hutton from the Darling River Action Group (DRAG) and Wentworth Councillor Jane MacAllister.

The group is comprised of water, coal seam gas and environmental activists from across the state.

Speaking to the BDT on Thursday, Ms Kennedy said that getting Mr Buckingham back into the New South Wales Upper House was crucial. 

“I think it’s incredibly important that we get Jeremy back into parliament because he’s one of the guys that’s fought so hard to save the Darling River,” she said.

“He’s done numerous other things but when it comes to the Darling River he’s the bloke that’s been out here and who’s been thrown out of parliament several times for supporting what’s happening here.

“When the leader of New South Wales (Gladys Berejiklian) and (Regional Water Minister) Niall Blair were mocking us, it was Jeremy standing there and telling them to fess up and tell us exactly what’s going on.”

Ms Kennedy said that alongside key environmental issues, social issues such as cost of living were part of the group platform.

“So we’ll be supporting the rejuvenation of the Darling River, the care of the Murray-Darling system, trying to fight against the Pilliga being overtaken by CSG whilst protecting the Artesian Basin, and we’re trying hard to fight against new coal power plants,” she said.

“We don’t need that stuff, and other countries don’t want to buy it anymore.

“Even major companies are going against coal and yet, for some strange reason, they’re now talking about another new coal power station.

“So obviously we’re very much focused on environmental issues but we’re also against the idea of stopping incomes in the public service going above 2.5%.

“That’s depressed the economy somewhat and now you’ve got all these rules and regulations against unions from bidding to have pay rises.

“So people are now getting minimum pay, we don’t have wage growth, and at the same time the cost of living is going up and people are finding it harder to be able to meet their basic needs.

“So we need people in government who are fighting to support these people so that they can afford to actually live properly and provide for their families properly.”

The issue of cost of living was one that Eve-lyn discussed while running as a Greens candidate for Barwon.

When put to her as to why she dropped her candidacy with the Greens, Ms Kennedy said the party was moving in a direction she could no longer support. 

“I’ve only been in the Greens for about three years and from the first time I went to an SDC, so a State Delegates Council, I was pretty amazed; it reminded me of some film from the Castro era,” she said.

“There were just all these crazy far-left people, but there was also a majority of people from the centre as well. 

“We knew there were crazies but the rest were alright, and that’s the same with every party.

“But unfortunately over time, the (minority) were doing so many bizarre things that were damaging the party that it got to the point where I couldn’t agree with what they were saying.”

An ongoing factional battle within the party was exacerbated late last year when Mr Buckingham quit the party surrounding the bringing up of a previous allegation of assault levelled against him, which an independent review found could not be substantiated.

That battle was recently brought to a head when several members launched a legal challenge over party preselection following Jeremy’s departure, which was thrown out of court on Friday, March 1.

“The factional battle was dirty,” said Ms Kennedy, “It was a dirty fight.”

“I’ve been very lucky in that they haven’t picked me out but I’ve been right up against them.

“People have taken them to court to stop them as well, then the party got upset because of that. Well, what are you supposed to do?

“It was so disgusting the way the Jeremy Buckingham case was dealt with as well.

“There was found to be no cause to answer. There were witnesses, there was an outcome, there was an independent assessment, and everything was found to be fine, and yet they still pursued him. 

“People who couldn’t cope with that would’ve been in hospital by the end of what he’s been through, so I don’t know how he managed to cope so well with it. 

“He’s been very resilient and gotten through it and now we’re on the other side and fighting for New South Wales.”

In a statement provided to the BDT on Thursday, Mr Buckingham welcomed Eve-lyn’s endorsement. 

“I’m so fortunate to have a true Broken Hill local like Eve-lyn supporting my Upper House ticket,” he said.

“I’ve travelled with Eve-lyn to Wilcannia and Tilpa to talk with Barkindji and graziers about the need for restoring the Darling/Barka River to good health. 

“Eve-lyn’s commitment to the river and the community of the Far West is enormous and provides me with strength when taking on the Nationals and their rotten neglect of regional and remote NSW.”

In a separate annoucement on Friday, Mr Buckingham said that he would not be making any preference deals with the major parties.

“I’m proud of standing on my record as a warrior for our environment and climate action, and will not jeopardise my independence or effectiveness by making a preference deal at the upcoming NSW election,” he said.

“One of the powerful aspects of voting in NSW is that people can determine for themselves where their preferences will go, every step of the way, on the ballot paper for the Upper House.

“I urge people to vote 1 above the line for Group L and then make an informed decision for themselves about where their second or further preferences may flow.”

The New South Wales Greens were invited to comment.

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