ALP coal quandry

WHERE does the Australian Labor Party stand on coal? After this federal election and some of the efforts in Queensland, HOGSBACK is really not sure.
ALP coal quandry ALP coal quandry ALP coal quandry ALP coal quandry ALP coal quandry

In the federal election, the ALP had to resort to weasel words to try to articulate its ambivalent attitude towards coal.


On the one hand it wanted jobs and on the other it wanted to keep climate change warrior voters happy in inner city Melbourne and Sydney.


Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was at pains to distance her government from all things coal before the federal election.


Her government even appointed external experts to study Adani's ground water and black throated finch management plans - thereby dragging the approvals process.   


After the ALP was punished in the federal election by Queensland voters, Palaszczuk wasted no time in donning a hard hat and wearing her high-viz gear and holding a press conference at the Hay Point Coal Terminal to plug the importance of the state's coal industry.


These polar opposite ALP views even stretch to its support base. Just look at the rift between the mining and construction divisions of one of its main supporters, the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, over support for the Adani project.


CFMEU mining division district president Stephen Smyth made clear he strongly supported the Carmichael mine as long as Australian unionised workers were employed.


He even joined with Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane to fly the pro-coal banner.


"The Queensland government should give mine workers, their families and their communities a commitment that it supports the industry and that it rules out increasing taxes and royalties that hurt the industry and force it to review planned investments and employment," the two said in a rare joint statement.


Meanwhile CFMEU construction and general division state secretary Michael Ravbar warned that Palaszczuk risked being "taken for a ride by a shonky multinational with a chequered corporate history".


"This coal, and the 12.5 billion litres of water that Adani also plans to extract every year, is owned by the people of Queensland, yet we see little evidence that Adani is offering anything in return," he said.


"Our concern is that the promise of jobs and prosperity that was such a touchstone in the federal election is a myth, a fiction designed to hoodwink people into thinking Adani will be a good corporate citizen."


The front runner for the ALP leadership is Anthony Albanese, the member for Grayndler in inner city Sydney. He is so paranoid about losing his seat to the Greens that he promotes renewables at every convenient occasion to the delight of his environmentally conscious constituents.


But it is not the inner city electorates that lost Labor the election. How does the party's leadership think it will win over Queensland workers with that sort of approach?


What does the ALP think the voters in Mackay and Townsville will make of him? 


Not much, if the last election result is any guide.


Hogsback reckons the ALP should take its medicine and be prepared to support coal if it wants to regain the coal worker heartland in the Bowen Basin and Hunter Valley.