Morning Doors 30-05-17

Subjects: Adani Carmichael Mine; Labor’s deals with the Greens; Uluru Statement


Well over the past week we’ve seen an embarrassing situation emanate from George Street Brisbane, where the Queensland Government is based. It would appear that over the past week we've had Monty Python's Flying Circus in Kent in George Street, where we've seen continual backflipping every day from the Queensland Government, on a different position on royalties, on a different position on a loan to build a rail line in North Queensland. What it is all delivering is uncertainty and confusion for the people of North Queensland, who just want economic opportunity and just want a job. And most of all, they want a Queensland Government that can lead and has a plan to create those jobs in Queensland.

I welcome the fact that finally, finally after a week of division factions and confusion, the Queensland Government has apparently prepared a royalty arrangement for the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine and other potential mines in Queensland, and has said they will support any NAIF projects in regards to a rail line in North Queensland, consistent with what they wrote to us last year and agreed only two months ago with us. I don't understand why it's taking so long and with so many backflips from the Queensland Government that's been in power for years and clearly has until last week, had no plan for jobs in North Queensland.

Over this past week, there's been a huge loss of trust in North Queensland with the Queensland Labor Party, as they seem to be trading off and selling out the interests of North Queensland for preferences with the Greens Party in inner city Brisbane seats. Can I say to the Queensland Labor Party, to regain that trust, the way to regain now is to rule out doing any backroom preference deals with the Greens on seats or preferences on how to vote cards in the upcoming election. Because the Greens Party are anti-worker, they're anti North Queensland, they're against jobs in our coal mining sector which North Queensland needs and they are also trading in the worst kind of bigotry in regards to an investment from an Indian company.

The Greens Party and their friends in GetUp! are out their spreading xenophobia and dog whistling about India, a country we should have a strong cultural, historical and future relationship with. It is the worst kind of dog whistling, it is as bad if not worse than One Nation. And if the Labor Party continues to run around and say that no one should do deals with One Nation, then they should also rule out deals with the Greens. And until they do, they are not serious about North Queensland. And the people of North Queensland can have no trust that the Labor Party won't sell them out again to the Greens and sell out their economy future.

In terms of the Uluru Statement, on Q and A last night they were discussing what will be the greater hurdle in terms of implementing those reforms – the Australian Parliament or the Australian people. What’s your answer to that question? What’s going to be the tougher challenge?

Well look, I don't have a particular view on that. I don't pretend to know the views of the Australian people on these kinds of matters. They're significant matters that have only really been aired in the last few months. I think it's a little early to say where the Australian people exactly are. I think it's a bit early to say where the Australian Parliament is as well. The Uluru Convention will be writing a report to the Recognition Committee. They'll produce a report for us and that's something of course we'll have a look at it.

I mean I am a little skeptical though of the need for another body for indigenous peoples, when the main game for me is unlocking the economic opportunities that exist for indigenous people in existing Native Title Law and traditional ownership. The great stain on our country that remains is that we have not provided the ability for traditional owners to unlock the economic opportunity, the financial security that should be embodied in something like Native Title Laws. And we still have problems with this. If I could go back and use the Carmichael Mine in the Galilee Basin, the traditional owners there, the Wangan and Jagalingou peoples met last year and voted 294 to one in favour of the Adani Mine. Yet we still hear in our southern media that somehow there's a suggestion that traditional owners are against this mine, which is patently absurd.

If we're going to listen and respect the views of traditional owners, let's start there. Let's start there. I think we need to open our ears before we create another body to talk more. We need to act more and do more. That's what I'm focused on as the Minister for Northern Australia. When I get around talking to indigenous people, that's what they want.

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