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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2545

Mr CHRISTENSEN (Dawson) (10:15): For more than five years, North Queensland has been asking the Leader of the Opposition and the Labor Party one simple question: do you support the Carmichael coal project? For five years they have dodged the question or used wishy-washy weasel words to answer it. Well, now we have a definite answer, and the answer is an emphatic no. The Labor Party do not support the Carmichael coal project. They do not support the $16½ billion investment in the construction of a mine, the expansion of a port and the construction of hundreds of kilometres of railway line. The Labor Party do not support the thousands of jobs that this project will create. We know this now because the Leader of the Opposition made a firm promise to a green activist millionaire that Labor would revoke the project's licence if Labor were to ever win government. At least it's out in the open and North Queenslanders know where they stand.

The only reason that promise is out in the open is that the millionaire greenie who made this dodgy deal with the Leader of the Opposition flushed him out in the media. The former CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Geoff Cousins, confirmed the Leader of the Opposition repeatedly agreed that the stance he would take was this. He said: 'When we are in government, if the evidence is as compelling as it appears now, we will revoke the licence in accordance with the law.' I note that the Leader of the Opposition was gifting this commitment to the greenies while they were gifting him a $17,000 holiday: a cruise on the reef and a scenic flight around North Queensland. That lavish gift from the Australian Conservation Foundation was requested by the Leader of the Opposition and arranged by his millionaire greenie mate. It is the kind of gift that must be declared on the Register of Members' Interests within 28 days of receiving it, in accordance with parliamentary rules. It wasn't declared in that time frame. The Leader of the Opposition rushed an update to the register when the secret deal was outed by the media. He wanted to keep it secret, insisting that the whole dodgy deal and secret meeting never be made public because he was about to go to North Queensland telling a very different story.

Last week, after already promising to kill off the project, the Leader of the Opposition was in Mackay, Townsville and Rockhampton, standing with coalminers and saying he supported mining. He needs to come back to North Queensland and talk to port workers at Abbot Point or the people whose jobs are up in Townsville with Adani. He needs to tell them he won't support their jobs. He needs to tell those hundreds of people in Townsville already working on the Carmichael project not to get too comfortable because their jobs will go immediately under a Labor government. If he's going to pull the rug on a billion-dollar coal project, he should have the guts to tell people in North Queensland who will be directly affected.