Margo Kingston

Margo Kingston

Co-publisher and editor-in-chief at No Fibs
Margo Kingston is a retired Australian journalist and climate change activist. She is best known for her stint as Phillip Adams’ ‘Canberra Babylon’ contributor and her work at The Sydney Morning Herald and #Webdiary. Since 2012, Kingston has been a citizen journalist, reporting and commenting on Australian politics via Twitter and No Fibs.
Margo Kingston

THIRD GENERATION Liverpool Plains farmer Rosemary Nankivell has been active for more than a decade trying to save the top NSW food bowl, the Liverpool Plains, and the surrounding Pilliga nature reserve and State Forest, from coal and coal seam gas mining.

The campaign united farmers, environmentalists and the Gomeroi people to successfully stop proposed BHP and Shenhua coal mines, but failed to stop the Leard State Forest, an endangered habitat, being felled for Whitehaven’s coal mine. David Pocock was arrested at the #LeardBlockade for locking on. I met Rosemary at the #LeardBlockade camp, hosted by Maules Creek farmer Cliff Wallace. 

No Fibs recently published Rosemary’s briefing paper on the campaign, The Liverpool Plains, koalas and the #CSG industry. The moment that added young locals to the campaign was the face-to-face lie by former NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro in 2021 that his government would stop all new coal and coal seam gas mining on the Plains. 

Instead, the NSW Government reactivated two Santos CSG exploration licences on the Plains and authorised a gas pipeline to Newcastle.

Campaigners are desperate to elevate their struggle to a mainstream NSW election issue, and recently won the support of two Sydney #IndependentsDay MPs, Kylea Tink and Sophie Scamps, after a visit to the Plains. 

The campaign has also won the support of some community independents in blue ribbon NSW seats.

Rosemary and other campaigners recently hosted a lunch in Sydney to spread their message. Nick O’Malley’s deep dive is Farmers finding allies among Sydney’s well-connected to fight gas giant. 

It seems obvious to me that our food bowls are too precious to plunder for coal and csg, given the enormous risks to prime agricultural land, including water volume and quality, let alone the climate change implications. 

Former MP for New England Tony Windsor has been an important player in bringing together a new coalition to stop CSG mining on the Plains. So far, as with the push to save our native State Forests from logging, has not broken through in the NSW election campaign, and no wonder. In both cases, power and money politics reigns supreme via the bipartisan embrace of short termism. 

Farmers in the Darling Downs, Queensland’s top food bowl, are also engaged in a very long struggle to halt coal and CSG mining. Their cause is now championed by Groom’s #IndependentsDay candidate at the last federal election Suzie Holt, who, with local farmer Liza Balmain, joined the Plains meeting with Kylea and Sophie. They, like the  Plains farmers, are pressing for a ban on coal and CSG mining on prime agricultural land.

So, meet Rosemary

She’s exhausted by the unexpected leap from minding her own business on the farm she was born on to campaign to preserve the Liverpool Plains as a food bowl. But she believes the fight is winnable and cannot give up. 

Rosemary, thank you for opening up about your personal journey and the horror politics of power and money up against locals. The interview begins with her reading a passionate post she wrote in 2014 after attending a Santos AGM in Adelaide, A nation where Miners are Government: #Pilliga farmer @nocsg predicts a Liverpool Plains revolution. She also wrote a 2014 post on a farmer on the Narrabri local council who took a stand, Maverick Narrabri Councillor Bevan O’Regan ‘a certain style of country bloke’.