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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2521


Mr CHRISTENSEN (Dawson) (15:51): It's my pleasure to speak on this MPI as the son of someone who was a coalminer, as the brother of someone who was a coalminer and whose best friends are coalminers. Australia has not opened a new coal basin since the 1960s. That will change with the opening up of the Galilee Basin. The focus for the past five years has been on the Carmichael coal project and the 10,000 jobs it will generate. Green activists who have no understanding of economy or business, let alone the mining industry, try to suggest that the number of jobs will be lower, and we heard it from the Labor Party in this chamber just now.

I had one extreme Green suggest that the Carmichael coal project would create just 1½ full-time equivalent jobs, but economic analysis puts job creation at Carmichael at 11,800 jobs—3,900 direct during operation. Construction will see the creation of 8,300 jobs—2,500 of them direct. In addition to the mine, Adani will expand the port at Abbot Point and build a railway line to the Galilee Basin. It is these vital pieces of infrastructure that will open the door to another five projects. We've got GVK Hancock's Alpha coal project, with 3,400 jobs in construction and 3,2000 in operation; Hancock's Kevin's Corner project, a further 1,500 jobs in construction and 2,000 more in operation; Macmines China Stone project, a further 3,900 jobs in construction and 3,400 in operation; Waratah Coal's Galilee coal project, 3,500 jobs in construction and 2,300 jobs in operation; and the South Galilee Coal Project, 1,600 jobs in construction and 1,200 jobs in operation. That's how valuable the Galilee Basin is to workers, to North Queensland and to the state and national economies.

But not everyone wants north Queenslanders to have a job. The Labor Party have tried sitting on the fence on the Carmichael coal project for more than five years, but they finally fell off the fence this week. The Leader of the Opposition was pushed off the fence by someone who knows exactly what side of the fence he truly sits, and—surprise, surprise—I've got to say it's not on the side of the workers. The Leader of the Opposition has confirmed that the Labor Party do not support the Carmichael coal project, the 10,000 jobs or the $16½ billion investment. The former CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Geoff Cousins, confirmed that at a secret meeting the Leader of the Opposition repeatedly agreed on what stance he would take. This is what he said: 'When we're in government, if the evidence is as compelling as it appears now, we will revoke the licence in accordance with the law.' While the Leader of the Opposition was gifting his commitment to the greenies, they were gifting him a $17,000 holiday, cruising the reef, taking a scenic flight around North Queensland—$17,000 and a few green votes. That's the price of Labor policy now. Who says corruption doesn't pay? This lavish gift from the Australian Conservation Foundation was requested by the Leader of the Opposition and arranged by a greenie millionaire mate.

I note that, according to the House of Representatives Register of Members' Interests resolution, a member must within 28 days declare any gift worth more than $750 from an official source, such as the Australian Conservation Foundation. According to the resolution, any member who:

… knowingly fails to notify any alteration of those interests to the Registrar of Members' Interests within 28 days of the change occurring … shall be guilty of a serious contempt of the House of Representatives and shall be dealt with by the House accordingly.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Coulton ): The member for Shortland on a point of order?

Mr Conroy: The member for Dawson imputed the Leader of the Opposition and accused him of something with a quote that ended with 'who pays'. I ask him to withdraw that imputation of the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr CHRISTENSEN: I withdraw. I continue: it says they will be 'guilty of a serious contempt of the House of Representatives and shall be dealt with accordingly'. I know that some members on both sides have neglected to update the register, but this is the first instance I've seen where any MP has done it knowingly—knowingly failing to do it. It's a critical distinction. In normal circumstances it would be difficult to prove that a member has deliberately concealed that information; however, as we've seen this week, the Leader of the Opposition specifically asked to keep the $17,000 gift and everything else around the dodgy deal secret. He had to keep it secret because he was about to tour North Queensland telling a different story. Having promised to kill off the project, last week he was in Mackay, Townsville and Rocky with coalminers saying that he supported the industry. He needs to come back and tell them how he's going to destroy their jobs now, because that's what he's promised the greenies.