Secret Santos ‘Smoking Gun’ shows Labor gagging First Nations & bypassing enviro law for new mega gas projects


Thursday 22 Feb 2024



The Greens say an explosive letter revealed under FOI from gas lobby CEOs, telling Labor to gag First Nations groups, bypass environment laws and fast-track new mega gas projects, is the ‘Santos smoking gun’ which shows Labor doing the bidding of the fossil fuel industry.

The letter, co-signed by 3 mega gas corporation CEOs to the Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King, was sent just months ago. Since then, Labor has tried to pass multiple new laws to fast-track new gas projects and give the Resources Minister the power to silence First Nations communities and circumvent Tanya Plibersek’s promise to fix Australia’s broken environment laws.

Key Points:

Senator Dorinda Cox is Greens Spokesperson for First Nations, Resources and Trade:

“Minister King last week introduced a bill for ‘Offshore Worker Safety’, and as we predicted this was to weaken the approvals processes for gas lobbyists. This is climate and cultural wrecking state capture at its worst and it has been confirmed in writing the Minister is caving to the lobbying of the gas companies like Santos.

“How can Australians trust Prime Minister Albanese when he says he cares about First Nations voices if he is gagging them at the request of gas lobby CEOs?

“This secret letter is the ‘Santos smoking gun’ that shows Labor is taking its orders from the gas lobby and Santos thinks it is above rules and regulations.

“This email shows that First Nations Sea country is seen as a commodity that can be bought and traded to the highest bidder as Santos pleads to Minister King for help and moans that they face “significant challenges” with current regulatory approvals processes.

“First Nations connection to Sea Country goes back tens of thousands of years, through this connecting Australia's history to the world's oldest living culture. This Government already agreed to change the broken environment laws and implement the recommendations of the Never Again report into Juukan Gorge. This is a slap in the face.

“As the sole approver for offshore gas production leases, Minister Madeline King is fast tracking and selling them off to the highest bidder. Without stronger legal protections. we are on a path of destroying First Nations people's connection to land and sea - sponsored by the gas cartel and Labor.”

Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP:

“Coal and gas are fuelling the climate crisis, but Labor wants more.

“​​Labor is trying to sneak through changes to fast track gas projects and make the climate crisis worse.

“In the middle of a climate crisis, Labor is letting big corporations bypass First Nations and environmental protections by fast-tracking new gas projects.

“The Greens will fight Labor’s move to fast-track new gas projects, which will make the climate crisis worse and put people’s lives at risk.

Greens Environment Spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young:

“We can’t protect our environment if we trash our already weak environment laws

“Minister King’s attempt to bypass our already weak environment laws undermines Minister Plibersek’s commitment to strengthen them and listen to the community.

“The Greens will fight to stop this favour to the gas industry getting through the Parliament without scrutiny. We will ensure there is a proper Senate inquiry to expose what’s really going on here.”