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Parliamentary committee investigates fake signatures on Illawarra wind farm petition 

Credit:  By Connor Pearce | Updated November 13 2023, first published November 12 2023 | illawarramercury.com.au ~~

Almost 200 signatures have been found to be duplicates in an anti-wind farm petition that attracted over 11,000 signatures. The petition was presented to the House of Representatives today.

Labor MP Susan Templeman, chair of the Petitions Committee, said that following reporting in the Mercury which revealed that anti-wind farm campaigners had offered prizes or vouchers for anti-wind farm signatures, the committee secretariat investigated whether the signatures on the petition were real.

The secretariat found that nearly 200 names or 1.7 per cent of signatories signed the petition more than once using the same name but different email accounts. Ms Templeman said it was unknown whether people signed the petition using different names as well as email accounts. “The committee also wrote to the principal petitioner who has told us that he was unaware of the inducements being offered until he read our letter,” she said. “That he has not seen the media coverage in the newspaper and that the offer of prizes or some people that signed the petition had been quickly removed.”

Cunningham MP Alison Byrnes, who is also a member of the Petitions Committee, said while the great majority of those who signed this petition were genuine, there was a “coordinated effort” to undermine support and inflate community opposition to the wind farms. “The proposed offshore wind farm in the Illawarra has raised a lot of questions and concerns, and this is justified, there is a lot to learn and consider with renewable energy generation for Australia, and I have been listening to my community’s questions and concerns,” she said. “However, my office has been waylaid in having to sort through the countless fake emails, fake profiles and pseudonyms. This is a coordinated action by a select few, whose clear intention is to hinder and hamper my ability to engage and answer questions from genuine members of the community.”

The petition requests that the House of Representatives stop plans to create an offshore wind zone. Ms Byrnes said there were reports of petitioners using “fake” email addresses to sign the petition multiple times. “There is evidence of further allegations of people sending multiple responses and a fake email addresses or aliases to both subvert the legitimacy of this petition and the community consultation process.”

Consultation on the zone closes on Wednesday, after which Climate Change and Energy Minister Bowen will decide whether to declare the zone at its current size, a different size, or not declare a zone at all. Following the revelations, the Petitions Committee will investigate strengthening the integrity of the petition system.

Source:  By Connor Pearce | Updated November 13 2023, first published November 12 2023 | illawarramercury.com.au

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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