Statements from ALP MPs “speaking out” over the Federal Government’s gas policy are strikingly similar, suggesting a behind-the-scenes government strategy to limit the fall out in urban seats.

Software used by universities to detect plagiarism shows the statements from inner-Melbourne MP Josh Burns and Sydney MP Sally Sitou are “88 per cent similar”.

And the “speaking out” statement issued by inner-Melbourne MP Carina Garland is “92 per cent similar” to Burns’ statement, according to text comparison tool GoTranscript.

Since last week’s Future Gas Strategy announcement — which opens the door to major new gas projects and for gas to remain an important source of energy “until 2050 and beyond” — at least seven Federal ALP MPs have issued statements “speaking out” over the policy.

None of the statements were released in connection with each other — inner Melbourne MP Michelle Ananda-Rajah claims she was “blindsided” by the gas announcement — and none of the MPs have issued joint statements or conducted joint media conferences.

The statements have been described as the “biggest revolt” within the Government since the ALP came to power under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese two years ago.

Source: Twitter/X


The gas policy was announced on Thursday last week. Burns, the MP for the inner Melbourne electorate of Macnamara posted his statement on social media early that afternoon.

Sitou’s statement was posted a few hours later, in the form of a thread of messages posted to Twitter/X.

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Source: Supplied


An online researcher took the text from both statements and ran it through the GoTranscript text comparison tool.

“Just visually looking at the two sets of text content…from Josh and Sally, it’s quite obvious that the inner-urban Labor MPs had coordinated talking points – either sent over from Labor HQ of formulated together — then did slight changes,” he said.

“These MPs presented these statements as autonomous ‘speaking out’, yet it’s clearly a coordinated effort between MP’s (or even from HQ)”.

Source: Twitter/X


The statement from Burns at 1.51pm says: “we need to continue to move towards low emission technology, not prolong fossil fuels”.

“We are delivering on our reliable renewables plan which will deliver 82 per cent renewables, it states.

“This is work that should have started 5 or 10 years ago, but the Liberals have left it to us to fix this mess.

“There’s been a 25 per cent increase in renewables in the National Electricity Market since we came to office”.

The statement from Sitou at 5.51pm says: “we need to transition as quickly as possible off fossil fuels and on to renewable energy”.

“That is already underway as we work towards meeting our target of 82 percent of renewable energy by 2030,” it states.

“This is all work that should have been done a decade ago.

“There’s been a 25 percent increase in renewable energy across the National Electricity Market since we came to office”.

The same day Carina Garland issued a statement: “The future is renewables and to reach a net zero future we need a sustainable transition”.

“I back our reliable renewables plan, which will deliver 82 per cent renewables by 2030,” it states.

“It already has seen 25 per cent increase in renewable energy since we came to office”.

Source: Twitter/X


The statements are all extremely similar, but appear, almost certainly, to have been written to give the appearance they were prepared independently.

The two major parties are suffering a systemic shift in support as voters increasingly turn to independent candidates and to the Greens, particularly in inner urban areas where climate is a major concern.

Sydney MP Ananda-Rajah also issued a statement, saying “we must accelerate away from fossil fuels as fast as possible without driving up bills”.

She was further quoted by the ABC: “I feel like I was blindsided by this announcement and would have preferred more consultation to improve my understanding of gas in our future energy mix”.

Ananda-Rajah’s federal seat of Higgins in Melbourne’s inner-east borders Kooyong, where independent Monique Ryan was swept to victory in 2022 ousting then Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

So does Garland’s seat of Chisolm.

Nearby, bordering Higgins, is Burns’ seat of Macnamara, which spans from the Melbourne CBD to St Kilda and Caulfield.

Sitou, whose seat of Reid includes the Sydney suburbs of Drummoyne, Five Dock, Strathfield and Croydon, is a long- time communications expert.

“Sitou is a long- time communications expert”

Before being elected in 2022, she worked as an advisor to ALP MP Jason Clare and spent almost a decade as “international media adviser” at the University of Sydney.

Other Federal ALP MP’s to “speak out” were Deputy Health Minister Ged Kearney of the Melbourne seat of Cooper; Jerome Laxale, the MP for Bennelong in Sydney; and Josh Wilson, MP for WA’s Freemantle.

“As the Member for Cooper my position is clear: there should be no public money spent on new coal or gas projects,” a statement from Kearney said.

“We cannot draw out our reliance on fossil fuels any longer than is necessary”.

In a statement Wilson said: “gas will be part of that transition for a longer period than coal, but for no longer than necessary”.

In a statement Laxale said: “we must move away from fossil fuels, not champion them”.

Veteran ABC and Australian Financial Review political reporter Laura Tingle described the gas policy as “perhaps the most egregious and dishonest bit of parochial toadying we have seen from this government”.

The policy was “at the cost of undoing a lot of political work persuading voters” that it was “more serious about both climate change and an energy transition than the Coalition”, she said.

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