Daintree power: why Billy baulked
MEMBER for Cook Billy Gordon may have walked away from a promise to take action on power solutions in the Daintree for as little as perceived involvement from federal MP Warren Entsch.
In 2016 the reported that Mr Gordon was preparing to submit a private member’s bill to parliament addressing concerns about power supply to the Daintree.
Mr Gordon had indeed been approached to submit a bill – but according to him he never went “on public record” to say that he would. Speaking to the two weeks ago he said “what I did say was I would definitely look at a private member’s bill.”
But things went further than vague promises.
According to the man who suggested the bill to Mr Gordon, the manager of the Cape Tribulation Beach House, Matthew Isabella, Mr Gordon shook his hand during a meeting and said he would “have the private member’s bill submitted to parliament within a week” last August.
The community rallied behind the news that Mr Gordon was about to do something and did all the work for him – he was given a bill by the Daintree Rainforest Power Committee, and the legwork of gauging crossbench support was done by Mr Isabella who flew to Brisbane to talk with Katter’s Australian Party representatives.
But Mr Gordon expressed concerns about the bill he was given – a month after Mr Gordon gave his assurances he was on it, he messaged Mr Isabella on Facebook to say he was wavering because federal MP for Leichhardt Warren Entsch was involved.
“To be honest really concerned about the politics behind the scenes on this one,” said Mr Gordon in messages viewed by the
“…Not as straight forward as it seems. Did you realise the document you email (sic) us was written by Entsch’s office? This (expletive) makes me a little apprehensive to say the least.”
Mr Gordon cited the properties of the word document as the source of his suspicions. He has had no further contact with anyone in the Daintree about the issue since.
As it turns out, Mr Entsch’s office had been involved in pre- paring the bill – Mr Entsch explained he’d been in contact with the Daintree community on the power supply issue for many years, and the know-how of his office had previously been used to prepare a bill.
“My office assisted in putting it together, we gave it back to them and said go and find Billy, he’s your local member it’s appropriate that he should submit it,” he told the
He was scathing of the notion Mr Gordon had backed away merely because of his involvement. “This is just a bull(expletive) excuse from Billy Gordon,” he said.
“He could have claimed credit for that. I wasn’t going to elbow in and say wait a minute, we wrote this so we should get some credit for it.”
The result of Mr Gordon’s cold feet was the Daintree community losing a chance to push forward on an issue that’s plagued it for years.
Chairman of the Daintree Rainforest Power Committee Russell O’Doherty said if Mr Gordon had backed away because of the perceived involvement of Mr Entsch’s office, “I think that’s pathetic. For him to just walk away on that premise is pretty bloody poor.”
He was circumspect about the situation though, saying “these things happen, (but) I don’t trust Billy at all.”
Mr Gordon was contacted for comment, but did not respond by deadline.