FAR-west NSW MP Kevin Humphries says he was justified in booting Animal Justice MP Mark Pearson from a rural crime forum at Broken Hill this week.
Mr Pearson registered his disgust on Twitter at being “frogmarched” from the Stock Theft and Trespass Review meeting at the Pastoralists’ Association of West Darling on Tuesday, and accused the Barown Nationals MP of shutting him out of a public debate.
Mr Humphries said meeting attendees later voted unanimously that Mr Pearson’s presence was inappropriate.
Mr Pearson disputes this.
Mr Pearson said he travelled to Broken Hill to meet with Western NSW constituents, and planned to attend the meeting to raise concerns from people traumatised by illegal hunting, trespass, and the maiming of animals.
He said Mr Humphries – who has been meeting with stakeholders across the state’s west with former NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Bradshaw – was “hostile and defensive” at Tuesday morning’s meeting and ejected him before he could ask a question.
Mr Pearson said two NSW Police officers stood with Mr Humphries as he asked him to leave.
Mr Humphries said Mr Pearson’s office had been advised early last week that the meeting was for local stakeholders affected by rural trespass and stock theft and it would be inappropriate for him to attend.
Mr Pearson said his office had been told it was okay for him to join the meeting.
However, Mr Humphries said: “It was an opportunity for local stakeholders who are facing these issues every day to contribute to the review, and not an opportunity for politicians to hijack the meeting to suit their own agenda,” he said.
Mr Humphries also said meeting attendees voted unanimously that it was not appropriate for Mr Pearson to be there.
Mr Pearson said this was not the case.
Mr Pearson plans to return to Broken Hill to host his own public meeting where police, rangers, animal rescue groups, indigenous elders, and regulatory authorities will be invited to attend.
“My aim is to lobby for a proactive task force to address this issue in this region and for a pilot task force to be established in other regions of NSW where this violent culture has developed,” he said.