THOMAS George thought he was doing the right thing when he organised for a panel of pollies and public servants with science backgrounds to come to Lismore and answer questions about CSG.
But it was doomed from the start, because Mr George didn't understand that the anti-CSG lobby feels it has nothing to learn from those people.
On the contrary, they feel that politicians, bureaucrats and mining company executives need to listen, urgently, to them, and to the expert advice of many scientists including Drs Maher and Santos from SCU.
The public meeting on Wednesday at a packed-to-capacity Lismore City Hall took a while to settle down. An hour before the politicians arrived, the crowd gathered outside in their hundreds. They parted to let the panellists through, but the roar of booing was deafening. The tone had been set. The crowd filed into the hall to a high-volume chant of "No CSG!"
Every speaker on the panel - Planning Minister Brad Hazzard, Brad Mullard of Mineral Resources, Dr Regina Fogarty, Rob O'Neill, Dan Keary and Greg Yeates - was heckled, booed and shouted over. The crowd was quiet only when one of its own speakers had the microphone.
And one after another, biologists, geologists, hydrologists, farmers, children and a psychologist gave coherent reasons for opposing CSG exploration and extraction in the Northern Rivers.
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