Labor candidates come out in favour of coal mines

CENTRAL Queensland Labor candidates Cathy O'Toole, Zac Beers and Russell Robertson have backed new coal mines as the Coalition ramps up attacks over ALP division on Adani's Carmichael project.

But others, including Labor's climate change spokesman Mark Butler and Griffith MP Terri Butler, have expressed outright opposition to the Adani mine.

In a sign of growing tensions, the CFMEU demanded Labor candidates sign a document supporting "coal mining developments that meet regulatory requirements" within hours of the election being called.

Labor candidate in the ultra-marginal seat of Capricornia, former coal miner Russell Robertson, was the first the sign the pledge.

Cathy O'Toole, Member for Herbert. Picture: Shae Beplate
Cathy O'Toole, Member for Herbert. Picture: Shae Beplate

"My dad was a coal miner and my grandad was a coal miner. I eat coal for breakfast," he said.

Flynn candidate Zac Beers also signed the pledge. Asked about Adani he said: "If it stacks up and ticks the boxes than I support it going ahead like any other project."

Herbert MP Cathy O'Toole said she had not been asked to sign the pledge but said "projects like Adani should go ahead if they tick all the regulatory boxes."

But Labor candidates in inner city seats, Brisbane's Paul Newbury and Ryan's Peter Cossar, both declined to spell out a position on the mine.

 

Terri Butler is opposed to the Adani mine. Picture: Kym Smith
Terri Butler is opposed to the Adani mine. Picture: Kym Smith

 

Labor candidate in the NSW seat of Cowper, Andrew Woodward, wrote to Annastacia Palaszczuk in 2017 telling her "the Adani mine must be stopped and you can do it".

Liberals from Victoria and NSW including Josh Frydenberg, Tim Wilson and Dave Sharma have also expressed doubts about the mine but have not publicly opposed it.

Environment Minister Melissa Price refused to answer questions about the process for granting the final major approval on groundwater.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth said his union would "support candidates who support the issues that matter to our members".

Bill Shorten and Russell Robertson in Rockhampton.
Bill Shorten and Russell Robertson in Rockhampton.