WA Labor Senator Glenn Sterle has attacked colleague Melissa Parke for "sticking her nose" into the James Price Point gas hub furore, saying their party had supported the project from the outset.
Ms Parke, the Federal Labor MP for Fremantle, has visited Broome twice recently to support the anti-gas movement.
Last month, she joined a coastal walk on the "songline" to James Price Point with Goolarabooloo traditional owners who are in a bitter dispute with Jabirr Jabirr people who support the project.
This week, she stood with former Greens senator Bob Brown and Sea Shepherd Australia director Jeff Hansen as they launched a campaign to defend whales in the area.
Senator Sterle, who works in Kimberley Aboriginal communities, said he had seen the despair Jabirr Jabirr elder Rita Augustine outlined in her plea to Dr Brown to support her people's decision.
He said Ms Parke should concentrate on issues affecting Fremantle and respect the majority decision of the traditional owners.
"I am sick to death of politicians from outside the area sticking their noses in when the traditional owners of the land have made a collective decision that will be best for their kids," he said.
A former United Nations lawyer, Ms Parke is known for her passionate views on human rights and animal welfare. Her partner is Labor powerbroker and Climate Change Minister Greg Combet, who last month joined an attack on the Greens, saying his party did not share their views.
Ms Parke defended her stance, criticising the State's planning and assessment processes and "unacceptable marine impacts".
"These are a matter of legitimate concern for my constituents in Fremantle, who have expressed their strong views to me," she said.
Ms Parke supported Aboriginal rights to get benefits from developments but said it was wrong for the State Government to threaten compulsory acquisition of their land.
"The WA Leader of the Opposition has expressed these identical criticisms both WA Labor and the wider community recognise that the Barnett Government has bent this process to the outcome they have wanted," she said.Senator Sterle said Sea Shepherd did a fantastic job in the Southern Ocean but not in Broome. "It's not as though Woodside and the Jabirr Jabirr people are harpooning whales," he said.
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