When the Coalition under Malcolm Turnbull won 76 seats in the 2016 election, it was generally accepted that Turnbull had “blown it” and the knives were quickly sharpened. Yet when the ad man wins 77 seats, he is hailed as a messiah that has delivered a decisive victory enabling the Coalition to do whatever they damn well please.
Let’s be clear about that election result.
Leaving out Queensland, in the rest of the country, Labor won 62 seats compared to the Coalition’s 54. That is a resounding victory.
We have the government that Queensland thrust upon us against the wishes of every other state and territory (except WA – the only other state where the Coalition won a majority of seats).
Instead of highlighting that endorsement, Labor are flapping around like a dying Murray cod, desperately trying to find something or someone to blame.
Labor’s agriculture and resources spokesman, Joel Fitzgibbon, told Gerard Henderson’s Sydney Institute that the ALP should offer “a political and policy settlement” on climate policy “to make 28% the target by 2030”. Matt Keogh agrees.
This view has nothing to do with science or jobs or responsible governance and everything to do with self-serving politics.
“How many times are we going to let it kill us? Indeed, how many leaders do we want to lose to it?” said Fitzgibbon whose primary vote in his coal-mining electorate fell 14% at the last election.
If Fitzgibbon was worth his salt, he would be pointing out to his constituents that opening Adani will lead to job losses in existing coal mines. He should recognise that automation will also threaten coal-mining jobs and be transitioning his electorate towards more sustainable industries and employment.
Did I mention climate change?
At the time when we need them most, Labor are losing their nerve.
Fitzgibbon did say one thing with which I agree – “Labor’s equivocation over the Adani coal mine left us in no man’s land,” though I doubt we mean the same thing when we say that.
Speaking of Adani, despite government approvals being fast-tracked and a timetable of what happens next being published by the Coordinator-General, Adani continues to fail to meet deadlines.
The royalties agreement with the Queensland government was supposed to be finalised by September 30. That deadline has now been put back to November 30. Worryingly, the timetable now says “Agreement not required for construction of mine or rail to commence.”
Infrastructure and interface agreements with the Whitsunday RC and the DMRT also missed their September 30 deadline with hopes now that they will be concluded mid-October.
Accreditation as a Rail Infrastructure Manager (RIM) and Rolling Stock Operator (RSO) – Stage 1: construction and Stage 2: commissioning of rollingstock – were supposed to be concluded by July 31. The latest release on October 1 states that “Adani will continue to work with the Commonwealth Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator to obtain necessary approvals. This approval not on the critical path and the Coordinator-General will continue to monitor.”
As climate activists around the world hit the streets pleading with governments to take urgent action, Labor is missing a crucial opportunity, preferring to investigate how they can be more like the Coalition.
Trying to appeal to Queenslanders is a road to ruin. Have a go at the people they choose to represent them – Peter Dutton, Matt Canavan, George Christensen, Stuart Robert, James McGrath, Andrew Laming, Pauline Hanson, Malcolm Roberts, Bob Katter – what a sorry bunch.
We need strong leadership and conviction to tackle the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. Sadly, Labor seems more interested in courting votes from those who will never vote for them than in saving the planet.