Australia — 2019 Federal Election.
So often novelist, Richard Flanagan, speaks for me on matters close to my heart. He is spot on when he says the fight to stop the Adani Carmichael mine is not just about Adani. (Read Richard Flanagan’s speech to the Stop Adani rally by clicking on the above link.)
The Adani mine infrastructure is needed to make other prospective mines in Galilee basin viable. Political power broker, Clive Palmer, also has mining interests in the Galilee basin. Mr Palmer’s political party, United Australia Party. has just signed a deal to direct preferences to the Liberal and National parties. The tag line for the United Australia Party is “Make Australia Great”. Seriously! In addition, the family of Matt Canavan, the Minister for Resources in the Morrison Government, also has interests in the Australian coal industry.
Several years ago, I attended an event where the Australian Council of Trade Unions had an information and merchandise stand. They were selling T-Shirts advocating for wind power. I remarked to the woman on the stand that there was an inconsistency between what she was selling and the views of then leader of the Australian Workers Union (AWU), who was concerned about the how the shift to renewable energy would affect his members. She said to me that the AWU does not represent the views of her union or the union movement as a whole. The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (rivals to the AWU), has recently been applying pressure to the Australian Labor Party to support the Carmichael mine. It should be noted that the PM-in-waiting, Mr Bill Shorten, was once head of the AWU.
Do I need to remind Mr Shorten and his party that the AWU and the CFMEU do not represent the views of the entire Australian labor movement? Voters, if you come across representatives of the ALP door-knocking, remind them of this and send them a strong message that the Adani coal mine must be stopped and our environmental legislation amended immediately to ensure that the carbon footprint impact of projects is taken into account. Carbon neutrality must be a minimum for project approval.
Currently the world is on track for a 4.5c degree increase in global temperature. Sure temperatures fluctuate more than that between Summer and Winter, but this is different. A sustained global temperature increase of this level would lead to a world that is incompatible with any organised society in our children’s lifetime. This would render arguments about States rights, sovereign risk, jobs and the financial costs of transition completely immaterial. Holding temperature increases to a catastrophic 1.5c degrees will be extraordinarily difficult. Adani and other proposed coal mines represent the “low hanging fruit”. If we can’t prevent this mine going ahead, then I’m afraid there is no hope.
There is no time to waste. There is no time to slowly transition with minimal disruption to the economy. There is no time to muck around setting up a new carbon pricing mechanism. That is the price we now pay for our past intransigence and lack of political bipartisanship.
The Indian Government wants to phase out coal imports within a decade. This makes it imperative that Adani wring as much money out of the Australian Federal and Queensland governments for the construction and start-up phases of its project to make the project worthwhile. I wonder if Adani paid a fair price for the water that the mine needs?
Perhaps Adani and other coal miners should be held legally liable for their role in contributing to dangerous levels of global emissions?
Australians, what is your priority? Vote well, vote wisely on 18 May.