Bob Brown at the stop Adani rally in Mackay in April.
Bob Brown at the stop Adani rally in Mackay in April. Emma Murray

How Adani played a role in the Federal Election result

A POLITICAL scientist has described the Adani Carmichael Mine project as the "lightning rod" of the election.

The project dominated the media after the Federal Government approved the mine's environmental plans. Many central and north Queensland voters were looking to the Labor candidates to back the mine and make a commitment to the future of coal mining in the Galilee Basin. But many voters didn't get what they were searching for.

 

Adani Mining CEO Lucas Dow.
Adani Mining CEO Lucas Dow. Allan Reinikka ROK260419aadani2

University of Queensland lecturer and political researcher Dr Chris Salisbury said Labor's hesitation to throw their support behind the mine likely played a major role in the votes of central and northern Queenslanders.

"Labor's ... platform of changes to taxes, retirement savings and housing provisions didn't find favour with enough voters," he said.

"The swing in Queensland to the government is stronger than anywhere else.

"The ability of the Coalition to argue (Adani) was something they were well and truly behind (made a difference).

"This project ... was representative of a real desire of regional voters. (In Queensland), and up here in the region, it was seen as the solution to unemployment, job prospects, it was front of mind for people in Mackay, Townsville and Rockhampton.

"If you look at what might have made Queensland an outlier nationally, it's that issue more than others."

 

Dawson MP George Christensen celebrates his 2019 Federal Election win with his fiancee April, family, friends and supporters.
Dawson MP George Christensen celebrates his 2019 Federal Election win with his fiancee April, family, friends and supporters. Caitlan Charles

With the State Government yet to make a decision on the final approvals for the mine, some Federal politicians, including George Christensen, have said the state Labor MPs may be feeling the pressure with an election next year.

Dr Salisbury said people shouldn't pay too close attention to this, with predictions on the Federal election based on State Government results not going well in the past.

"There is always traps for reading results at a Federal level too closely," he said.

Dr Salisbury added state Labor MPs would need to consider their stance on the project carefully.

"Labor will need to make an effort to be seen to be listening," he said.

Queensland State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Deputy Jackie Trad have both refused to concede their handling of the Adani coal mine played a role in Labor's tally.

They fronted the media yesterday to discuss the results, admitting jobs were a factor. But neither would say if the ongoing saga involving the Galilee Basin mine was at play.

"I am quite sure that there is going to be a huge detailed analysis of what when wrong but I think at the end of the day Labor had a very complex message and it needed to be a very simple message," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"At the end of the day it's about jobs.

"At the end of the day there were swings against Labor nationally and there were states in which Labor thought they were going to pick up extra seats and they didn't either."

 

Senator Matt Canavan and Capricornia MP MIchelle Landry who claimed victory in the seat for the third time.
Senator Matt Canavan and Capricornia MP MIchelle Landry who claimed victory in the seat for the third time.

During his post-election speech, Mr Christensen said the election result proved how important coal mining was to the region.

"If we didn't get across the line then you would have both major parties saying ,'well, look, they campaigned on coal mining and didn't win up there so it doesn't matter'," he said.

"Then they would be sacrificing both of us to inner-city votes - well, it hasn't happened."

Mr Christensen went on to say central and north Queensland state Labor MPs would be shaking in their boots heading into next year's election.

Capricornia LNP member Michelle Landry thanked environmentalist Bob Brown, who she said united Central Queenslanders "who don't like to be told what to do by blow-ins from down south".

Resource Industry Network chairman Dave Hartigan said it was clear voters had leaned towards candidates with the "clearest message".

RIN campaigned extensively in the lead up to the federal election, pushing the For the Future of our Region advocacy campaign.

 

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk DARREN ENGLAND

The For the Future of Our Region campaign included two rallies in support of the Galilee Basin, one of which was on the same day The Bob Brown Foundation's Stop Adani Convoy visited Mackay and Clermont.

"We look forward to working with all levels of government to make Queensland the preferred mining investment state, to share our great minerals with the world, and to get the Carmichael Mine and Galilee Basin established to the benefit of all Queenslanders, Australians and the people of the world who need power for many years to come," Mr Hartigan said.

But Peter McCallum from the Mackay Conservation Group said while the massive shift towards the Coalition was unexpected, it did not change the future.

"Here, there may have been some element of the fight against the Adani campaign, of course, but that wasn't the only thing influencing peoples votes," he said, refering to the perception of Labor's mining transition policy.

"The processes that are happening and warming the climate haven't stopped before people voted against them.

"It's still happening."



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