Noel Pearson

The fate of vast tracts of Queensland bushland hangs in the balance as a group of Cairns-based indigenous leaders led by Noel Pearson pressures the independent state MP for Cook, Billy Gordon, to vote against the Palaszczuk Labor government’s new tree-clearing laws.

Gordon was the indigenous Labor candidate elected for the Cape York seat in north Queensland in the January 2015 election but was forced to resign from the party soon after when details of his criminal history were revealed. He now might support moves by the Liberal National Party, state farmers’ peak body AgForce, and Pearson and his acolytes in Cairns to scuttle the tree-clearing laws. The minority Palaszczuk government needs Gordon’s vote to pass the legislation.