‘Disgusting’ – Local MP gagged in Parliament as fight to save Hurlstone continues

11 March 2016

The Member for Macquarie Fields, Anoulack Chanthivong MP, has labelled the Government’s backflip over the sale of the Hurlstone farm ‘disgusting’ and called-out the Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli’s blatant hypocrisy, branding it cheap political spin.

In a speech to the NSW Parliament on Tuesday 8 March, Mr Chanthivong highlighted Mr Piccoli’s unequivocal opposition seven years ago to the then Government’s plan to sell off some of Hurlstone’s educational farm. At the time, Mr Piccoli called the plans “disgusting”. 

In a complete about-face, Piccoli then said on 18 November 2015, “We will sell the farm at the existing Hurlstone Agricultural High School.”

Mr Chanthivong said that Mr Piccoli had gone from “Hurlstone’s defender to its destroyer”.

“The Minister said one thing when in Opposition and has done exactly the opposite when in Government.

“Piccoli’s plans are disgusting because – like the true political spin master he is – the Minister is using sleight of hand and deception to sell his deeply flawed argument.

“In all honesty, I can’t improve on Mr Piccoli’s own words seven or so years ago – disgusting. There is no other word for it. This Minister’s plans are plainly and simply disgusting. So are his hypocrisy and his duplicity when he cried foul over the plans to sell off Hurlstone’s farm. His contempt for my community is also disgusting – to lull them into believing he was a friend of Hurlstone and its farm,” Mr Chanthivong said.

In delivering his speech, Mr Chanthivong was constantly interrupted by Government MPs, Mr Kevin Anderson and Mr Kevin Humphries. Ironically, Mr Humphries and Mr Piccoli appeared in a photograph in the Campbelltown Macarthur Advertiser on April Fool’s Day in 2009, proudly walking through the grounds of Hurlstone Agricultural High School under the headline ‘Nats vow to stop land sale.’

The same article quoted Mr Piccoli as saying, “Governments should be investing in education, not taking away resources from schools.”

Mr Chanthivong said he was furious his attempts to speak about Hurlstone in Parliament were continually interrupted by Government MPs.

“I will keep calling Minister Piccoli’s hypocrisy, backflip, betrayal and deceit over Hurlstone exactly what it is – disgusting,” Mr Chanthivong said.