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In an astonishing display of cognitive dissonance, Matt Canavan accuses environmental activists and traditional owners of “abusing our judicial system to further a political agenda”

Matt Canavan, aka the Minister for Adani, has hit the ground running after the courts decided his Mum’s application for him to have Italian citizenship did not preclude him from serving in parliament.

In an article in the Australian on October 26, Canavan claimed that “green activists have been abusing our judicial system to further a political agenda”. This from the man whose government leaked information to the media about police raids on union headquarters to secure information that had already been given to their previous union witch hunt, the Trade Unions Royal Commission.

Canavan talks about “foreign greenies” because, of 10 protesters arrested by police last month, only two, from Airlie Beach and Mackay, could be considered “locals”. Of the other eight, three were from Canberra, and the rest were from Brisbane and NSW.

Excuse me Matt but I don’t think you can call other Australians foreigners. Some of us have a much longer heritage here than you.

He talks disparagingly about the “US-based Rockefeller Family Fund created with profits from the US oil boom” who apparently funded an action plan produced by GetUp!, Greenpeace, Lock the Gate and the Environmental Defenders’ Offices.

The Rockefeller Family Fund has said that it will divest from fossil fuels as quickly as possible and “eliminate holdings” of Exxon Mobil Corp, saying the oil company associated with the family fortune has misled the public about climate change risks.

Canavan claims that the traditional owners of the land where the mine will be located, the Wangan and Jagalingou people, voted 293 to one in favour of the mine last year. But the spokesperson for Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owner Council Adrian Burragubba said: “The registration of Adani’s sham land use agreement is being challenged by us because it was engineered through rent-a-crowds, deceit and dishonest tactics.”

In evidence submitted to the Federal Court, the W&J argue the attendance record at the meeting organised and paid for by Adani shows that many attendees were not present at prior native title group authorisation meetings, and are not Wangan and Jagalingou claimants.

Canavan said he agrees with the prominent Indigenous academic Marcia Langton’s speech to the Minerals Council of Australia that much of the green opposition to development projects that Aboriginal people support amounts to the second coming of terra nullius. “These greenies are just the latest army of whitefellas the Wangan and Jagalingou people have had to fight.”

Tony McAvoy SC, who became Australia’s first Indigenous silk in 2015, dismissed these claims by Langton that Indigenous people had become “collateral damage” as the “environmental industry” hijacked the Adani issue.

He said the rhetoric of Langton and Warren Mundine, who likened anti-Adani campaigners to colonial oppressors running roughshod over Indigenous self-determination, “serves a purpose for them but is just so inaccurate”.

The barrister said to suggest that “the greens are puppet masters pulling the strings and we’re somehow puppets” was wildly off the mark and disrespectful to the many families opposing the mine, including his. Langton’s “jobs at any cost” rhetoric is hers and hers alone. Her complete disregard for the environmental cost of this mine and the company’s atrocious record make her just another mouthpiece for vested interests as well as her own political advancement.

Strangely, Langton didn’t mention CO2, climate change, the Great Barrier Reef, or renewables and the jobs and opportunities they could also provide, just without the pollution.

Instead, she dialled up the rhetoric to attack environmentalists, calling them anarchists, the alienated, uninformed, extremists, dangerous and deceptive. Her thrust was that naughty environmentalists are cleverly exploiting Indigenous people using “sophisticated manoeuvres” and “flimsy evidence” to conduct “lawfare”. Talking of flimsy evidence, Ms Langton couldn’t provide a single example of these subversive activities. And you thought academics liked evidence?

When Canavan appeared on Q&A a few weeks ago, he was asked “Should the High Court rule on your citizenship issues in your favour and you return to your role as resource minister… will you continue to advocate to loan Adani $1 billion of taxpayers’ money, despite all the evidence that proved the Carmichael coal mine is economically unviable, that Adani will deliberately attempt to not pay any tax, will seek to automate all the jobs away, and leave a devastating wake of environmental destruction?”

Canavan waxed lyrical about the “opening up of the Galilee Basin” and rosy job prospects and following the wishes of the traditional owners, with absolutely no facts to back up his bullshit.

If he persists in his endeavour to gift taxpayer funds to an unprofitable foreign business with a shocking record of environmental and financial breaches of the law, then he can expect this “foreigner” from NSW to get very active in opposing his subsidies for foreign business against the wishes of the traditional owners of the land and against all commercial and environmental considerations.

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  1. susanai

    Am lost for appropriate words!!

  2. john tons

    On the whole a good article but you missed one important issue.

    You state:

    Canavan talks about “foreign greenies” because, of 10 protesters arrested by police last month, only two, from Airlie Beach and Mackay, could be considered “locals”.

    This statement alone indicates he is not fit for the job. The environment is indivisible. The proposed mine impacts not just on Australians but on everyone on the globe. Hence everyone has a legitimate stake in the mine. Every person on the planet will be impacted by this mine. The tragedy is that this government takes the view that environmental concerns are local issues – perhaps the young man needs to take some time out and read Chaos theory.

  3. bobrafto

    A statement by Adani CEO said that mine will be the world’s first autonomous mine which then begs the question where will these magical 10K jobs come from?

  4. passum2013

    Defiantly on the take / payroll

  5. Andrew Smith

    Good try from Canavan but disingenuous claim of astro turfing against him and Adani by the Rockefeller Family Fund, one of many related by name, yet many other trusts etc. are less transparent with their links to them. The Rockefellers have always been flexible and are capable of simultaneously holding different public-private views on same issue, hence can be confusing (purposely).

    One should be very sceptical of any Rockefeller family claims of divesting all shares in Exxon Mobil (and the other fossil fuel interests created when Standard Oil was split by trust busting laws), and it appears they knew generations ago about climate change through fossil fuels. Hence, hosting the Club of Rome 1972 (with Fiat, VW et al.), keeping in mind their nativist obsessions, conserving their income streams and strategic position, cooked up a ‘conservative conservation construct’, putting the onus upon individuals and non-European immigrants, while precluding environmental legislation and regulation to come up with ‘limits to growth’, ‘sustainable population’, ‘sustainability’ and appearing ‘liberal and environmental’ by good PR.

    According to Silverstein at the Observer:

    ‘It’s all quite heartwarming, yet there are a few reasons to be at least a little bit skeptical. First, the two foundations took these steps almost a century and a half after Standard Oil was created. Family members have made a lot of money in the meanwhile and it seems pretty late in the day to win plaudits for dropping fossil fuel investments.’

    Rockefeller Foundations Enlist Journalism in ‘Moral’ Crusade Against ExxonMobil

    Like modern day Australian politics, business and society, it’s all about PR and astro turfing while avoiding or denigrating grounded education, science and analysis; Koch’s FreedomWorks cum ‘media assembly line’ was inspired by the old fossil fuel and related oligarchs from pre-digital times.

    To understand how the Rockefellers (and their ilk), their businesses and obsessions about ‘human biology’ (including support for Kaiser Wilhelm Institute’s research into eugenics in Germany from pre WWI through WWII….) evolved, Danel Yergin’s The Prize is excellent, book and documentary,_Money,_and_Power

    Locally they are active with the international ‘Resilient Cities’ funding positions to promote ‘resilience’ (new buzzword along with sustainability) including Melbourne City Council, and local government too via ICLEI International Council for Local Environment Initiatives; good examples of how they access, influence and shape government policy, from the grass roots.

  6. Max Gross

    How the fukc did dopey Carnavan get the HC green light???

  7. Michael Taylor

    He may very well be eligible to sit in Parliament, but he clearly doesn’t demonstrate that he is fit to.

  8. Janet Simpson

    What can you expect from a man whose father was gaoled for fraud committed against his long term employer, when he was in a position of trust? And the media did not raise that in the wait for the High Court’s decision.

    Canavan is Enemy Number One and Turnbull should rein him in. But he won’t.

    Janet Simpson

  9. Glenn Barry

    If Canavan is put back in charge of the NAIF – then he will gift the entire fossil fuel industry with concessional loans without fear of consequence or prosecution.

    If I had to rate the most dangerous among the COALition, it is Canavan – he is an absolute, unabashed coal lobbyist with the most loathsome thought processes, he even gives both Abbott and Turnbull a run for their money on both toxic thought processes, dishonesty and lack of self awareness

  10. PK1765

    Agree with what you are saying right up until you repeat that neoliberal ideology about it being taxpayers money…. let us be clear it is NOT taxpayers money as taxation does not fund Federal Government spending… continuing that vein doesn’t help the poor, the vulnerable nor the economy. The taxpayers neoliberal lie is what is at the crux of most of the grief this country is facing…

    Operationally, it is impossible for the federal government to spend the proceeds of tax collections. Since this is a major topic of interest for laypersons, I’m going to explain operationally why your dollars paid in federal taxes are not spent by the federal government on anything.

    Works exactly the same for every country that has its own currency… like Australia with the AUD.

  11. Johno

    Good stuff Kaye.

  12. totaram

    PK1765: You are correct, it is not taxpayer money, but it is govt. dollars that can be far better spent on health, education, infrastructure etc.
    Agree about this Canavan fellow – he is a bought up criminal.

  13. Johno

    Canavan is another LNP bully boy.

  14. Keith

    We keep being told by Turnbull that ratcheting up legal and human resources against terrorists is to create safety for Australian citizens.
    But, they promote matters that are against the economic and physical safety of Australians.

    Should the Carmichael mine not go ahead; then, the Abbott Point Port becomes a stranded asset for Adani.
    Should the Adani mine go ahead; then, the mine is likely to become a stranded asset in the long run.

    The Adani mine will be the largest coal mine in the Southern Hemisphere. Such a huge mine feeds a business as usual degree of emissions being voided. Science informs us that a business as usual voiding of emissions will increase sea level rise, increases temperature, warms Oceans, worse extreme weather, and slow down major Ocean circulation. They are not political matters.
    A recent assessment of the breakdown of Antarctica indicates significant sea level rise by 2050 putting at risk cities along coastal areas.

    We are already witnessing catastrophic climate change:

    Climate & Extreme Weather News #76 (October 21st to 25th 2017)
    00:12 Japan: Typhoon Lan
    03:29 The USA: Oregon flooding; Carolina storms; California heatwave & Hawaii storm
    20:07 Ireland & The UK: Storm Brian
    20:37 Italy: Northern Italy wildfires
    23:17 Corsica wildfires
    24:23 Inida: Odisha floods
    25:37 Thailand floods
    27:05 El Salvador: Usulutan flash flood
    28:40 Honduras floods
    31:01 Global temp anomalies

    Since episode 37 which showed extreme events from 20 June ’17 to 22 June ’17, we have had 39 films of devastation taking us to the current episode 76.

    Increasing fossil fuel emissions through Adani is not safe for Australian citizens, nor anybody else around Earth. Canavan is completely reckless.

  15. helvityni

    The photo (above) paints an ugly picture of the way Oz is governed today…

  16. Johno

    Keith.. your first two sentences are so spot on. The effing irony of LNP behaviour.

  17. jim

    Gobbed smacked again, Police do not have resourses to stop 1.6 Tons dangerous drugs
    from going to our streets but do have 38 police to raid the workers trade unions and their opponents the ALP.

    Media always backs the mongrels the LNP.
    The Liberals have allways got an argument No shit Sherlock.
    The Liberals are in Chaos, well this at least makes me happy.

  18. Harquebus

    Something related that I read this morning. It’s from the U.S about the U.S. however, as we all know, we are quick to copy and follow our big brother.

    “Police forces, as Vitale writes in his book, were not formed to ensure public safety or prevent crime. They were created by the property classes to maintain economic and political dominance and exert control over slaves, the poor, dissidents and labor unions that challenged the wealthy’s hold on power and ability to amass personal fortunes.”
    “Modern policing is largely a war on the poor that does little to make people safer or communities stronger, and even when it does, this is accomplished through the most coercive forms of state power that destroy the lives of millions.”
    “Saying mass incarceration is an abysmal failure makes sense, though only if one assumes that the criminal justice system is designed to prevent and control crime. But if mass incarceration is understood as a system of social control—specifically, racial control—then the system is a fantastic success.”

    Our Ever-Deadlier Police State

  19. totaram

    Kaye Lee: As I pointed out before, there is no cognitive dissonance here. That happens when you have beliefs that contradict each other. This crook has no beliefs except the one that looks after his interests. He has been paid and he will project the lies he is required to project, since actually it is his side that are using the law in their own interest. No matter, spout the spin, get on with the job you are paid to do. You will be rewarded in various ways in the near future. Mission accomplished.

    Harquebus: a very good quote.

  20. Kaye Lee


    Canavan, or an over-zealous staffer, has spent all day removing the following post from his facebook page. I keep reposting, he keeps removing.

    Adani advice to shareholders….

    “We will be utilizing at least 45, 400-tonne driverless trucks. All the vehicles will be capable of automation. When we ramp up the mine, everything will be autonomous from mine to port. In our eyes, this is the mine of the future,” said Janakaraj.

    What a gutless little turd. He doesn’t want people to know the truth. He writes crap like “I am sick of greenies from down south telling Central and North Queenslanders what we should think”. Well I am sick of self-serving politicians purposely misleading us. Why would he keep removing the link to what Adani itself is saying?

  21. Matters Not

    KL re your quote:

    am sick of greenies from down south telling Central and North Queenslanders what we should think

    He does so because it resonates big time. With positive electoral results. Those who live (let’s say) North of Rockhampton regard the rest of Australians as Mexicans. Not to be trusted. Ignorant – and so on.

    Canavan is a very good politician. The next Leader of the Nats. Not to be underestimated. He inherits the JOH tradition

  22. Kaye Lee

    I guess it depends on what you think a “very good politician” looks like. I assume you mean he lies well to people who are too ignorant to check for themselves. The fact that he won’t allow me to post Adani’s own report to shareholders shows he is not interested in any form of truth. All he is interested in is his own political advancement. He got in by cold-calling Barnaby to give him a job in his office which apparently inevitably leads to preselection. He disgusts me.

    And I refuse to believe that EVERYONE in Northern Queensland is that stupid.

  23. corvusboreus

    Kaye Lee,
    No doubt there are many people in North QUeensland who are not stupid/gullible enough to swallow the Adani = good, greenie = bad bullshit currently being peddled, just as a significant percentage of that areas population respect and heed the over-riding scientific message on the likely consequences (global and local) of burning crap-loads more coal.
    However, such parochial attitudes of environmental ambivalence through to anti-scientific hostility are still regionally prevalent, and are seemingly entrenched deeply enough to ensure the re-election of odious, dishonest cretins like Matt Canavan and George Christensen.

    You have yourself encountered situations during discussions on this site where, despite citing solid scientific and economic evidence, your expressions of belief that approving and subsidising huge new automated mega-mines, run by dodgy foreign corporations, at obvious detriment to both local and global ecology with likely flow-on costs to aspects of the local economy (esp farming and tourism), is an unwise move, has led to accusations being flung (often by supposed ‘progressives’) of ‘latte-sipping environmental elitism’, and questions of why you hate Queenslanders enough to want to kill off all their ‘promised’ jobs.

    I applaud and encourage your efforts at bringing valid facts to the attention of the people of NQ electorates, but there are enormous cognitive barriers posed by the placebo comfort of swallowing snake-oil, the lazy appeal of intellectual indolence.and the hostility to outside inputs engendered by geo-regional tribalism.

  24. Harquebus

    “The fact that he won’t allow me to post”
    I know what that is like and empathize with you Kaye Lee.

  25. Terence Mills

    I live in North Queensland and I can tell you that there are a lot of people opposed to this mine and many who think it just won’t go ahead based on economic realities and the prospect of a stranded asset. I would say that there is almost unanimous agreement within the community that no federal or state funds should go towards supporting this venture and whilst the Queensland Labor government support the mine – as do the LNP and One Nation – they have been adamant about no government funding.

    The Adani mine will feature prominently in the upcoming state election campaign and I can anticipate that Pauline will support it one day and oppose it the next.

    I’m guessing here but I expect the NAIF to approve the one billion dollar sugar-hit for Adani it’s just a question of timing for the announcement : around the Christmas break should be a suitable time to let it slip.

  26. Kaye Lee

    Sharon Warburton is the Chairman of the NAIF. She also works for Twiggy Forrest. She is “a full-time Chairman and Non-Executive Company Director.”

    She joined the board of Fortescue Metals Group (FMG, one of Australia’s largest listed companies, in 2013 as a Non-Executive Director. She now also chairs the Fortescue Remuneration & Nominations and Finance Committees. She is a Non-Executive Director for ASX Listed NEXTDC Limited and Gold Road Resources Limited; Publicly Unlisted Barminco Holdings Pty Limited; and WA State Government owned Western Power as well as a Director of the fund raising NFP Foundation for the Perth Children’s Hospital. She is also a part time member of the Takeovers Panel, a Director of the Gold Industry Group, an Advisory Board Member for the Curtin Business School Asia Business Centre and the Patron of the Women in MBA Scholarship Programme at Curtin.

    Sharon became the Chairman of the Federal Government funded Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) on 1 July 2016.

  27. David Tyler

    Timely piece with some excellent rebuttal of the outrageous falsehoods peddled by one of the most vociferous mining lobby shills in parliament. Much of his disinformation is recycled from Peabody and other mining company propaganda which seeks to misrepresent what’s happening so effectively that masses are seduced into accepting that it’s either mines or jobs – or greenies versus progress.

    “Canavan waxed lyrical about the “opening up of the Galilee Basin” and rosy job prospects and following the wishes of the traditional owners, with absolutely no facts to back up his bullshit.”

    A farrago of lies: no mention of experts who predict that just this mine would put other Australian mines out of business.

    Aside from the mystery of how it will be funded in the first place.

  28. Kyran

    “…a special Roy Morgan Snap SMS Survey taken last weekend finds the majority of Australians (53.5%) do not think ‘the Adani mine should go ahead’. Only 16% that say the Adani mine should go ahead while a further 30.5% either haven’t heard of the Adani mine or didn’t indicate a preference for whether it should go ahead or not.
    Of those who had heard of the Adani mine and had a view as to whether the mine should go ahead or not an overwhelming 77% were against the Adani mine going ahead compared to only 23% that wanted the mine to go ahead – effectively a more than 3:1 ratio against.
    This special Roy Morgan Snap SMS Survey was conducted over last weekend of October 6-8, 2017 with a cross-section of 1,547 Australians aged 18+.”

    So what does our government do? Help them source finance from China.

    If you search ‘conflict of interest naif’ there are some gems. The board itself has provision for board members to recuse themselves from voting if they think they have a conflict of interest. They do not have to disclose if they did recuse themselves, or the grounds for their decision as to whether they did, or did not, recuse themselves. Two articles of note;

    On a related matter, the inland rail project was the spark for a Nat’s spat leading up to Joyce’s ejection.

    Whilst the following is not directly related to Canavan’s shenanigans, it does bring up the inherent corruption in the Nat’s DNA. Diana Hallam was Joyce’s former chief of staff, up to her ears in the APVMA debacle. She is now the general manager in the Department of Infrastructure, Inland Rail Unit.

    What do they do? Well, in part;
    “Refining the route
    The route from Melbourne to Brisbane is largely settled but there are some sections which are undergoing further refinement.
    Inland Rail uses the existing network as much as possible. However, for the hundreds of kilometres of new track, new corridors will be defined and protected. Each state has its own environment and planning laws in addition to Australian Government approval requirements.”

    Notwithstanding their army of spin doctors, this is a government that can no longer feed us bullshit and call it foie gras. The truth is that, whilst they might believe their own bullshit, the majority of us see them for what they are.
    Thank you Ms Lee and commenters. Take care

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