Should Adani go ahead?

Ross Greenwood speaks to former state Labor MP for Mirani, Jim Pearce, who says the coal mine should go ahead despite Bill Shorten’s backflip.

Introduction: Should Adani go ahead?

Ross Greenwood: Welcome back to money news, right around the country. Well, Bill Shorten MR. Flip flop. In other words say what you need to sign to become the Prime Minister of Australia. But then subsequently maybe do in office other things that might therefore be less palatable.

In regards to the Adani coal mine in Queensland, Bill Shorten, does he support it? Does he not support it? That has always been the question. Okay. Let’s get back to, I’ll take you only back to last year, April the 12 2017. One year ago.

Bill Shorten, at that stage, where he? He was in Yatala. He was actually at the federal funding for the disaster affected Queensland. He was talking about that. He was there with Jim Chalmers a member for Rankin, Luke Smith for Logan City Mayor. He was there with a number of other.

He was asked very straight out, do you support the Adani coal mine? He goes, “I support the Adani coal mine so long as it stacks up financially.” All right, that’s it. I support the Adani coal mine so long as it stacks up.

I hope it stacks up by the way. Let me be clear I want to see more jobs in Australia. I want to see more jobs in regional Queensland. Bill Shorten absolute quote from last year. Here’s what he said today.

Interview with: Jim Pearce, Former State Labor MP

Bill Shorten: I’ve made it clear that I’m a skeptic and increasingly skeptical of the Adani proposal. Labor has said since the last federal election that if it doesn’t stack up commercially or environmentally this project shouldn’t go ahead.

Ross Greenwood:  Okay, there is a significant change in view in the space of 12 months. I’m increasingly skeptical. The reason is, of course, you’ve got the seat of Batman. Where the Greens are threatening to take it over on the grounds of the Labor Party’s support of the Adani coal mine.

Then you get to the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Here is what she says.

Annastacia Palaszczuk: The Government supports the Adani project as long as it financially stacks up, Mr. Speaker. I have been very clear on the public record about that from day one, Mr. Speaker, from day one, Mr. Speaker.

Mr Speaker, unlike those opposite, I will stand up for Queensland. [background cheers] I will stand up for Queensland and the jobs that the resources sector brings to this state.

Ross Greenwood:  Which is exactly what Bill Shorten said 12 months ago. Now, I’m not suggesting it Anastasia Palaszczuk is changing her tune, she’s not. She’s been consistent on this. Bill Shorten certainly is not.

That is costing members of the Labor Party their jobs. Potentially, even in parts of North Queensland. One person who’s lost their seat already, the former state Labor MP for Mirani, which runs basically between Rocky, Rockhampton and Mackay, is Jim Pierce, who’s on the line right now. Many thanks for your time, Jim.

Jim Pierce: Hello, Ross.

Ross Greenwood:  Do you believe that the Labor Party the federal basis, is going lose terribly much in Queensland if Bill Shorten does change his mind completely on Adani, as he appears to be?

Jim Pierce: Look, my experience from being around Central Queensland for over three decades, would suggest that the people of that region in favour of Adani going ahead.

It means jobs. It means jobs for mine workers. It means jobs for small business. It’s means jobs for the support industries. It’s a big step forward and would bring those areas of Queensland back into position where they’re more viable. The economies of those small towns and regions are flourishing again.

Ross Greenwood:  Just explain to people what Labor could lose potentially in that region. They might be trying to win the seat of Batman from the Greens. Clearly trying to compete with the Greens on policy. In particular, regarding Adani but what did I stand to lose in Queensland if they go down this path?

Jim Pierce: Well, I’m no specialist in these a particular areas of the way the Labor Party works. Let me say from my experience, that it would make it very difficult for a Labor member or a Labor candidate to win those seats that I rely on the mining industry.

Whilst there are supporters of the mine not going ahead, the majority of people in those areas want to see Adani kick off, start producing coal, simply because they want jobs. They’ve moved to that area. Lived in that area for many many years worked the coal industry.

That’s their lifestyle. That’s what they want to do. They want to be there with their families. It would be a very negative step for Shorten to go down that path.

Ross Greenwood:  The truth is, Jim, that many of those people, those workers, are working people. They’ll be members of unions in some cases. They’ll be subcontractors or whatever it might be. They, in many cases, will be Labor Party supporters.

The problem is, if effectively you got the leader of the Labor Party for something that’s happening in a city 2000 kilometers away, there is basically one inner suburb there where they’re fighting the Greens. Loses jobs in another part of the country.

This is a real problem. I would have thought for many of those people. Even their support of the Labor Party, which is supposed to be backing the workers.

Jim Pierce: Well, I think you’ve identified a problem there for the party system. If that’s the way that they wanted to go about it, they’ll will have to live with consequences. I personally believe from my experience around Central Queensland for over three decades, is that if the Labor Party sticks to their guns and on what Mr. Shorten has been saying in recent days. Well, I think they’ve got problems with regard to taking up any additional seats in the Federal Parliament in that area.

Ross Greenwood:  Appreciate your time. Jim Pierce, the former state Labor MP from Mirani. Lost that state and of course he’s now got experience as he points out in that region. There’s genuinely been a change in philosophy. It does affect jobs and does affect work in those areas.

Now, just get picked up that little audio of Bill Shorten, 12 months ago, April last year. Let’s just play this for you. You can see the change in attitude that’s happened in 12 months.

Bill Shorten:  I support the Adani Coal Mines so long as it stacks up. I hope it stacks up by the way, let me be clear, I want to see more jobs in Australia. I want to see more jobs in regional Queensland. It’s got to stack up commercially. It’s to stack up environmentally.

Ross Greenwood:  Okay. That was 12 months ago, April last year. Let’s go to, again, what do you have to say?

Bill Shorten:  I’ve made it clear that I’m a skeptic and increasingly skeptical of the Adani proposal. Labor has said since the last federal election that if it doesn’t stack up commercially or environmentally this project shouldn’t go ahead.

Ross Greenwood:  Increasingly skeptical. Shouldn’t go ahead. As I say you can’t have it both sides, you can’t play it both ways. That’s exactly what’s happening right now. Well, let’s go to one quick call before we get to a break. Stevens in Brisbane. Good night Steven.

Steven: Hello. How are you, Ross?

Ross Greenwood:  Good. Thank you. Thanks for the call.

Steven: Of course, you can have it both ways. I was just saying to your producer, if anyone down south has just analyzed the recent Queensland State election, The Premier of Queensland came out and effectively did not support Adani and North Queensland re-voted Labor seat by seat by seat by seat back in.

It’s had absolutely, no effect on the election. Queensland voters proved it only just ultra-recently. You can try and extrapolate it over federal. They were just proven to on a state basis in a state election. Doesn’t transfer into winning seats.

Ross Greenwood:  The interesting thing, Steven, is today in the parliament, Anastasia Palaszczuk, We played grab just very shortly, has continued to say that she supports the Adani coal mine. Supports the jobs that will be created.

Steven: Of course she does. Exactly what she said during the State election. They all say they support it based upon, if if if. They keep winning. The only way Central Queensland and North Queensland will ever win is if they change their vote.

Ross Greenwood:  Okay. Steven, tell me this, do you believe the Adani Coal Mine will go ahead or not?

Steven: Ask North Queensland, they’re the ones who decide it.

Ross Greenwood:  Steven in Brisbane, thank you so much for that one.


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