The former Member for Murray Adrian Piccoli has leapt to the defence of the NSW Department of Education, which has come under fire for shutting down a student meeting.
The meeting was between the current Member for Murray Helen Dalton, The Area News, and Murrumbidgee Regional High students, who'd planned on publicly voicing their concerns about teacher shortages until the department intervened.
Mr Piccoli, who was the former education minister, said the department was right to do so because the meeting was a "publicity stunt" orchestrated by Mrs Dalton, who was "using students for political advantage".
"If I was the department I'd be reluctant to let anyone talk to Helen Dalton, because all she does is bag and undermine the schools," he said.
Mr Piccoli also lashed out at the "three or four" teachers at MRHS who were, in his view, deliberately sabotaging the merger by leaking information to Mrs Dalton and the media.
He said the teachers "had an agenda to make the merger fail" and should either "put their personal views aside and do their job" or leave Griffith.
"I'd say to those who are undermining the school, if you don't like it, get out of here. Move," Mr Piccoli said.
"Leave town. Leave the school. Go and get a job somewhere else.
"If you don't like the one-school structure, then leave."
Mr Piccoli said the "negativity" surrounding the merger was reducing enrolments, harming the school, and reducing student outcomes.
He also hit back at the media for focusing too heavily on the negative aspects of the school merger.
"These schools have more resources than most high schools: three deputies, more than $25 million in capital works, big IT upgrades - there's a lot of really great things happening," he said.
Mr Piccoli also pushed back against the idea of using financial incentives as a way to attract and retain teachers in Griffith.
"I don't like this notion that the only reason people will come here as teacher is if they get all these extra benefits," he said.
"The risk you run if you start boosting incentives in places like Griffith is that you then make it even harder to attract teacher to places like Hay and Hillston and surrounding communities that don't have all those benefits."