Thursday, May 23, 2019

Queensland Labor swings behind Adani

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has begun signalling her support for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin. Following federal Labor’s poor performance in central Queensland at the election on Saturday, where One Nation and United Australia Party preferences led to strong Coalition swings in several key seats, Palaszczuk said on Wednesday her office would seek to expedite approvals for the Adani mine. “We need some certainty and we need some timeframes, enough is enough”, Palaszczuk said. In 2017, Adani was granted a 60-year lease on unlimited volumes of water from the Great Artesian Basin. The project is estimated to generate 4.7 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifetime.

At least nine refugees in offshore detention centres have attempted suicide since the federal election on Saturday. Speaking to News Corp on Tuesday, Manus Island refugee Shaminda Kanapathi said detainees’ morale had collapsed in recent days, saying “no one comes out of their room, no one is talking to each other and [they are] keeping themselves isolated”. Iranian Kurdish refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochani said “the situation in Manus is out of control”, and that “no one is able to help anyone”.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen has pulled out of the federal Labor leadership race just over a day after announcing his candidacy. Speaking on Wednesday, Bowen said “it would be unlikely for me to win the ballot” against shadow transport minister Anthony Albanese, who has secured pledges of support from senior Labor figures Tanya Plibersek, Penny Wong, Joel Fitzgibbon and Kristina Keneally. Queensland MP Jim Chalmers has indicated he may stand for the leadership.

And the Ngarrawanji people of the east Kimberley have won a decades-long fight for native title over their traditional lands. In her determination, Federal Court justice Debra Mortimer paid tribute to nine of the original title applicants who died since lodging their claim in 1996, saying “they will be present in the minds of all those who listen to the making of the court's orders, and their contribution will be acknowledged and remembered, but the tragedy of their absence remains”. Speaking at Moola Bulla station on Wednesday, Ngarrawanji native title claimant Greg Tait said “all the old people and the spirits will be very proud to see us and our kids here today”. Native title claims covering an area the size of Belgium will be decided upon this week as the Federal Court moves through the east Kimberley, with Malarngowem and Yurriyangem Taam traditional owners set to hear their determinations today.


Lifeline: 13 11 14



“Awareness of the unhealthy influence the food industry exerts over public nutritional advice has been gaining momentum across the world. Among those leading the charge is esteemed British cardiologist and author Dr Aseem Malhotra. In a 2018 Diet Doctor podcast, Malhotra said: ‘One of the reasons we have a complete healthcare epidemic failure is because there is a root of misinformed doctors and misinformed patients, and that stems from biased funding of research.’”


“Aspirational politics isn’t dead – far from it – at least in this country. The backlash against neoliberalism? Seems like it’s fizzled out. Real and dubious why-I-voted-Liberal takes suggest there are more socially progressive yet economically conservative voters than anyone thought.”


“Why in God’s name would you put a baggy monster like Cloudstreet on stage? For the same reason that we put War and Peace on stage and on screens of varying size – we have to because the level of achievement is so inherently dramatic. It makes perfect sense that a work that stirs the national soul in a manner far beyond the pallid pieties of canonicity should be adapted into a five-hour epic.”


“Another climate milestone soared by last weekend when scientists announced that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels hit 415 parts per million for the first time ever. It’s the latest in a long list of broken records, and like the others, it promises to hold the title temporarily. Atmospheric CO2 is rising at accelerating rates – currently climbing at close to 3 ppm each year, and getting faster. Every year, the world sees new levels that were previously unrecorded in modern human history.”


“Queensland’s environment department has dropped legal action against an Adani-owned company after it promised to monitor water quality in real time at its Abbot Point coal terminal. The state’s environment department was pursuing Abbot Point Operations in court for allegedly releasing eight times the allowed limit of sediment water into the Great Barrier Reef during Cyclone Debbie in 2017.”


“With Bill Shorten standing down and Tanya Plibersek announcing she will not contest the ballot, the field has opened up, with Dutton claiming to be the leading contender. Under Labor Party rules, Dutton would need to appeal to both the party room and grassroots members. Sources say zero – or around 55 per cent, by Dutton’s counting – have committed to Dutton so far.”

Alex McKinnon is Schwartz Media's morning editor.