Coal from a coal seam gas well rig in the Pilliga forest, part of Santos' Narrabri gas project (Image: AAP/Dean Lewins)

The New South Wales government tried to stop Scott Morrison from putting Santos’ controversial Narrabri gas project on a list of fast-tracked gas projects for fear it would undermine public trust. 

Emails between NSW and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal NSW was concerned about the perception it would create given its Independent Planning Commission (IPC) was yet to decide whether to approve the project.

The emails back up everything we knew about the project: that political forces and corporate interests made it inevitable from day one. But it also paints a picture of a federal government happy to disregard due process and deeply committed to keeping things secret.