M'bah group locks gate on Jones
UPDATED, 1.52pm: ANTI coal-seam gas campaigners from Lock the Gate-Tweed have explained why they have barred the gate to radio shock jock Alan Jones.
The organisation's spokesman Michael McNamara said he felt Mr Jones' comments in regard to PM Julia Gillard lacked human compassion.
"I don't think anybody would argue that Alan Jones, in his reported comments about Julia Gillard and her father has been a thoughtless bastard," Mr McNamara said.
"That anybody would suggest that a parent died of shame because of their child is so beyond the pale that it beggars belief that anybody, let alone someone with any sort of public profile, would think it, let alone make it.
"To make such a comment within two weeks of the death of Julie Gillard's father suggests such a lack of human compassion as to be incomprehensible."
However, Mr McNamara stressed that Rock the Gate - Northern Rivers, the planned rally against coal-seam gas mining in the Tweed was not about Mr Jones
"It is about giving communities across the Northern Rivers, from Grafton to Tweed Heads, from Ballina to Drake and beyond, a chance to show, by coming together in common cause at one location, that they want, they demand, the Northern Rivers to be gas field free.
"That having been said, we find the threats of boycotts of a Lock the Gate campaign activity because a certain person is appearing or participating to be disappointing."
He said the decision to withdraw Mr Jones' invitation to speak was not a response to such threats.
"We had to decide whether, in all conscience and with our personal integrity intact, we could welcome him to the stage in Murwillumbah.
"Accordingly, we have decided to withdraw the invitation to Alan Jones to speak at Rock the Gate - Northern Rivers."
Mr McNamara said he hoped supporters would still attend Rock the Gate.
"We know you will come regardless of our decision because you see that it is not about one person but about the greater cause.
"In terms of the campaign implications, we believe that if the campaign against coal-seam gas stands or falls on the involvement, or the support, of one person then the campaign is doomed.
"The campaign will be won or lost based on support and involvement at the local community level."
INITIAL REPORT 10.42am:
Organisers of the Rock the Gate rally opposing coal-seam gas mining at Murwillumbah on October 13 are making a decision today as to whether they will keep "shock jock" Alan Jones as guest speaker.
Lock the Gate Tweed's Michael McNamara said the organisation would make a decision by lunchtime following derogatory comments made on Saturday by Mr Jones in regard to the death of PM Julia Gillard's father.
Mr Jones faced media on Sunday following widespread outrage of his comments to a Young Liberals event that Prime Minister Julia Gillard's recently-deceased father John Gillard "died of shame".
Mr Gillard died at 83 on September 8, prompting Ms Gillard to return home from abroad.
In his apology speech, Mr Jones said the "dying of shame" comment was something said to him at an afternoon party for his god-son that he regretted repeating.
Lock the Gate Tweed's Michael McNamara said the organisation was "considering options" before making a decision as to whether Mr Jones will be welcomed to speak at what could be the biggest stand made against coal-seam gas mining to date.
"We need to look at the overall cost of Mr Jones' comments in terms of their impact on the campaign and whether his presence will assist the cause or totally kill it," he said.
"Mr Jones is the kind of character people either love or hate.
"We need to make a call in regard to our integrity and the integrity of the campaign."
Mr Jones is reported to have said he did not "personally dislike the Prime Minister, just her policies."
A list of companies that advertise with Mr Jones' show on 2GB has now been circulated with Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt calling for a boycott.
Mr Jones said he had so far failed to speak to Ms Gillard to apologise personally, although the Prime Minister has told other media she had no desire to talk about the comments.