Darren Lockyer: Destroying The Country He Once Captained.

Darren Lockyer captained the Australian national rugby league team but since retiring from the sport has devoted himself to destroying the country he loves.

The Kangaroos and Queensland captain now uses his exalted status to promote the interests of the Coal Seam Gas / Fossil Fuel industry, which is attempting to expand its operations in a country whose populace is ready to embrace renewable energy.

Lockyer was enlisted as ‘safety ambassador’ for the Origin Energy Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) project in Gladstone, QLD, in 2013.

It’s interesting that a major corporation would appoint a safety ambassador who confessed to a gambling addiction, joked publicly about a football gang rape scandal and started a drunken pub brawl.

The APLNG project was accused of causing bubbling along the Condamine River near Chinchilla, which prompted an investigation by the state government and Origin Energy. Critics also raised concerns that CSG caused health problems for locals in rural-residential estates such as Wieambilla near Tara, incidents which were also investigated by the state government.

Lockyer himself confessed to being against coal seam gas operations, before he became a spokesperson for the industry. Before Origin started paying him.

What’s wrong with coal seam gas?

The environmental and social risks of coal seam gas include:

  • Encroachment on productive farming land
  • Disruption of other land uses and industries
  • Clearing of bushland
  • Air pollution
  • Contamination or depletion of ground or surface water
  • Pollution of waterways
  • Negative health impacts on workers and nearby residents
  • Damage to biodiversity.

Coal seam gas poses a huge risk to the quality and security of water, but Lockyer promotes the practice on the driest continent on earth, which is still suffering through drought.

But lots of athletes promote companies

Yes, many sportspeople are ambassadors for corporations. They’re paid to convince the public to buy one brand of sports shoes, watches or energy drinks instead of another brand. Lockyer, however, is not being paid to convince Australians to pay one company to power their homes over another. He is being paid to promote the industry itself.

Why?

Because the industry knows it has a lot to hide. The industry knows it destroys the environment.

Do I have something against Darren Lockyer?

I admit, I’m from NSW, so I dislike Queensland league players, but I’m also Australian and Lockyer’s brilliance led my country’s national team to many victories. In fact, I saw him play his last NRL game in Sydney when the Broncos comfortably beat the Sharks.

Exporting destruction

The league legend’s path of destruction extends beyond Australia’s borders. He is currently listed as the Head of Business Affairs for Mayur Resources, an Australian-based resource company with operations in Papua New Guinea.

Lockyer’s masters recently dispatched him to PNG and his presence provoked the ire of the nation’s leaders, who claimed he was sent to ‘brainwash’ the local people into supporting a new coal mine and coal-powered power plant.

Foreign mining companies, including Australian companies such as BHP and Rio Tinto, have a tainted history in PNG. It’s Australia’s way of thanking the local people for saving us from invasion during WWII.

PNG idolises Rugby League players. They worship league stars perhaps even more than Australians do. Rugby League is their national sport and league greats are awarded almost god-like status in the developing nation.

Why does Lockyer support the fossil fuel industry?

Did he inhale coal seam gas?

Maybe that explains his permanently croaky voice. Maybe that’s why his throat is fracked.

Does he have some form of personal connection to mining?

He grew up in Roma, which is the birthplace of the state’s oil and gas industry, so he has can at least claim some personal affiliation with the industry. Then again, fellow Origin players Willie Carne and Brent Tate also grew up in Roma, as did the great Arthur Beetson.

Does he genuinely believe in the benefits of coal seam gas?

Rugby League players are not famed for their intellect, but for their toughness, skill and athletic prowess. Maybe Lockyer genuinely believes the claims of the fossil fuel industry, the claims that he himself is paid to repeat to uneducated, impressionable Australians.

Is he doing it out of patriotism?

Average people cannot truly understand the depth of patriotism instilled in athletes who have represented their country, let alone those who have captained their country. Lockyer’s pride in his country is undeniable.

The mining industry has paid advertising agencies millions of dollars to cleverly position it as central to Australia’s national identity. Apart from promoting its contribution to ‘jobs and growth’, the industry has convinced many people that miners are true Australians. Miners are as vital to our nation as diggers, farmers, lifesavers…and athletes. Mining is positioned as ‘true blue’ because real Aussies work with their hands, in the sun, working up a sweat and battling the elements. Although Lockyer wears a suit and tie in his role with the industry.

How much money does Lockyer need?

He must have earned a substantial wage during a long and successful career which included captaining Australia and Queensland, winning four premierships and multiple Origin series, and attracting lucrative sponsorship deals.

He would be paid a handsome sum to sit on the side lines and make the odd comment as part of Channel Nine’s commentary team, and he is a director of the Brisbane Broncos club.

Maybe he’s still paying off the gambling debts he accrued the mid 1990s.

Out of curiosity, does Lockyer have solar panels on the roof of his house?

Would a true patriot and former leader of a national sporting team support an industry which is scientifically proven to be destroying the country’s natural environment?

Image: Chris Brunskill / Getty Images

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