Let’s just delve into the politics of the Adani mine a bit more because it remains an extremely difficult landscape for Labor to navigate.
The Left faction met last night and there was some discussion about this.
Unsurprisingly, there is still a lot of concern about the environmental implications but there is also recognition of the political dangers for the party.
Labor needs to a) push back against the ever-growing threat from the Greens in left-wing, inner-city areas – most pressingly at the Batman byelection – where there is real awareness of environmental and social issues, while b) not allowing blue collar voters in Queensland and beyond to think they are being abandoned.
“If this is seen as being a response to Batman, and only that, a good policy might get lost,” one Left MP told me.
Another said the argument about Adani is a stupid charade because it is based on falsehoods.
“It’s not the economic hope and future of those communities,” the MP said. “The jobs figures are nonsense.”
This person also said “you can’t out-Green the Greens” and dismissed their attacks as nothing more than populism because there are very real doubts about the mine even going ahead.
“Having an argument about Adani plays into the hands of the Libs and Greens and in no way does it help communities up there.”
Here’s what that political danger in Queensland looks like:
“Bill Shorten has now chosen his side clearly, he has now chosen the Yarra River over the Ross River, he has chosen Melbourne over Townsville, he has chosen Victoria over Queensland because he has decided to sell out thousands of jobs in north Queensland that could be created from the Carmichael mine to try and win a byelection in inner-city Melbourne.”
That was Resources Minister Matt Canavan, easily the mine’s biggest fan in Canberra, speaking to reporters earlier today.
Some facts on the job creating ability of the mine here thanks to my Brisbane-based colleague Felicity Caldwell.