In The New Matilda (10.6.16) Roger Scott, Executive Director of the TJRyan Foundation, writes:
‘Climate change and environmental management have been the great overlooked issue in this election campaign. Both have particular relevance in Queensland, where the ALP state government led by Annastacia Palaszczuk has given in-principle support to the Adani proposal for a massive coal mining development in northern Queensland.
‘The Palaszczuk government says its primary concern is to maximize employment. Facing the escalating consequences of the downturn in global demand for mining products, the government has opted to promote any perceived opportunities for new jobs, especially those located in the same areas where mining jobs have been lost and drawing on the same set of industry-specific skills. …
‘The continuing internal tension was personalised in the contrasting roles and speeches of the Queensland Minister for the Environment and Heritage Protection and the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines.
‘Dr Stephen Miles had a long-standing party affiliation and contact with the union movement; he held a PhD in industrial relation; he was a strong environmentalist and he campaigned under the slogan “Miles better for the Reef”; he went straight into a Cabinet post after the general election in 2015.
‘By contrast, the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Anthony Lynham was a doctor who had been a late entrant into political life in 2014 after a career as a maxillofacial surgeon. Driven by specific health-related issues, he stood in a crucial by-election and attracted the massive 19 per cent swing which heralded the threat to Newman’s supremacy. Lynham came into a Cabinet post after a short period as a Shadow Minister and proved adept at promoting the virtues of closer ALP collaboration with business and professional groups.
‘Both Miles and Lynham represent constituencies in Brisbane’s inner-west where polls show consistent support for environmental issues and for the Greens – both candidates received significant Green preferences in 2015. The opponents of Adani within the ALP focus on the danger of alienating peripheral party members to the point that their loyalties would transfer to the Greens.’