ONE Territory leader Braedon Earley publicly declared yesterday that Pangaea Gas offered him $1 million to “step away from the fracking argument” and appeared to further allege the company had paid off current “decision makers on the fifth floor in Parliament House, too”.
Pangaea were quick to deny the claims, calling them “absolutely baseless”.
Mr Earley, a former CLP president, is running as an independent for the federal seat of Lingiari and is expected to run in the Territory election in August.
He was speaking on Territory FM yesterday morning when he said the company had offered him cash to change his stance and walk away from the fracking debate. He has publicly stated he would ban fracking if elected.
“I am grateful though to Pangaea Gas, they offered me a million dollars to step away from the fracking argument,” he said. “If they’re offering a possum like me that, imagine how much they’re offering the decision makers.
“It’s been going on — been going on with all those decision makers on the fifth floor in Parliament House, too.”
He told host Daryl Manzie that he did not report the accusations to police.
“I’m not going to go down that path, mate,” he said.
When contacted yesterday afternoon, Mr Earley told the NT News he stood by his comments and said there were witnesses to a meeting he had with company representatives when the offer was made.
He also said he did not take the matter to police because they had been hesitant to investigate other matters he took to them before.
He also stood by his accusations that Government officials had been paid off.
“I stand by that as well,” he said. “That’s a question to be answered. The only way to answer that is that if we get elected we will do an ICAC inquiry that will have teeth and the power to pursue and prosecute.”
Mr Earley said he was “not prepared to answer that question” when asked if he knew of any potential pay-offs while he was president of the CLP in 2013.
A spokesman for the Giles Government denied Mr Earley’s claims.
“These are very serious unsubstantiated allegations, and as far as the Government is concerned, they are false,” he said. “Mr Earley should refer the matter to police instead of making … claims in the media.
Sydney-based Pangaea stated in February they were forced to lay-off 140 Territory workers because of Labor’s proposed fracking moratorium.
Pangaea holds lots in the western McArthur and central Beetaloo Basins southeast of Darwin, adjacent to the towns of Elliot and Katherine.