First Stop Queensland
Anthony Albanese has been a Member of Parliament for Grayndler since 1996. He has also served as Deputy Prime Minister from 2007 and 2013 for the Rudd and Gillard Governments. After Shorten was defeated in the Federal election, he decided to step down as opposition leader and move on. Albanese had been the only candidate wanting to be the next Labor Minister and had the full backing of the rest of the Ministers of Parliament.
The newly elected Labour leader will make his first visit as a leader to the Longman area in Queensland, an area that showed a major swing towards the Liberal party during the Federal elections last month. The Longman seat has been won by Labour over the years but there appears to be a shift in what the people of the area desires and demands more of from their elected party. Strong swings in the Northern Queensland region were driven by support of the Adani coal mine as voters in the regions were obvious in wanting the coal mine to go through. The Australian Labor Party now just hold 6 of the 30 seats in Queensland.
Mr Albanese aims to build a bridge once again with the public that voted against the Labor party. Victorian Minister of Parliament, Richard Marles, who will be appointed deputy leader of the Labor Party has since apologised for his remarks earlier in the year when he said that the demise of coal was a good thing for Australia. The Adani coal mine promised to generate 10,000 jobs which would be extremely beneficial to the state of Queensland, generating economic growth and higher incomes for individuals.
Details of the Mine
Adani is an Indian multinational corporation with businesses all around the world with sectors in resources and energy. In 2010, Adani proposed to establish a coal mine in the Galilee Basin, Queensland, to supply coal to Indian power plants and generate electricity for millions of people. Production was intended to start in 2014 however the Queensland Premier at the time, Anna Bligh, explained that the project will need to undergo a major environmental assessment to investigate the project’s impact to the environment and economy.
The project saw immediate backlash from large scale public protests and environmentalists. It is believed that the project will steal groundwater, damage Indigenous rights and harm the Great Barrier Reef. Supporters of the project argue that Asia will get its coal elsewhere, bottom line being they will eventually get their coal, so why not from Queensland? It will benefit locals with jobs and property booms. The coal mine will be one of the biggest in Australia. It will be on par with the country’s largest existing coal mine with BHP’s Mount Arthur Mine and BMA’s Blackwater mine.
Adani has environmental and mining licenses from the Queensland Government but still requires a sign off on two environmental plans which include the black-throated finch and for groundwater. There have been several delays due to these environmental concerns but due to pressure from both the public and government, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s will try to wrap things up in the next two weeks to ensure the beginning of the mine.
Adani Mine influential in Coalition victory
Queensland was a key state where the Coalition thrived in the 2019 federal election with the Adani mine being the catalyst in victory. Regional Queenslanders favoured the mine heavily due to its economic output and the Labor party failed to listen to their concerns. In regional Queensland, 48 per cent of people wanted the coal mine to be build, with the other 38 per cent against, statistics show. In Queensland, Michele Landry, George Christensen and Ken O’Dowd recorded swings of up to 15 percent. This transformed a marginal electorate into safe seats which was once Labor dominated. These swings are the direct effects of the state’s sentiment towards the mine and what they want moving forward. Queenslanders claim that previous Opposition Leader Bill Shorten did not have a clear plan on how to generate more jobs in the region if the coal mine was stopped and also did not have a clear equation on how to reduce emissions. This resulted in disaster for the Australian Labor Party.
Albanese refuses to comment on Adani Mine
In his visit to Caboolture on Tuesday, Mr Albanese will hear out the voices of concerns by regional Queenslanders to try to win the voters back in three years’ time. The opposition leader refused to publicly endorse the coal mine but claims he will “respect the process”. This is a different approach to his predecessor, who did not want to raise a debate on the matter and did not want to give regional Queenslanders a fair chance at securing more jobs and increased economic growth in the state. Mr Albanese’s visit comes as the Coalition amps up pressure on the Labor party to support its emission reduction plan.
By Rizwan Sayeed
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