Shorten’s visit adds fuel to fire on Adani
THE war of words around the vexed Adani mine project and opening of the Galilee Basin is expected to escalate this week, as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten brings his election campaign to North Queensland.
Mr Shorten, on the hustings in Cairns yesterday, refused to rule out reviewing key Adani mine approvals signed off just days before the election was called and would not be drawn on the issue.
"Adani has become a political football," he said.
"If I'm prime minister, I'm going to be governed by the law. I'm not going to be governed by either a mining company or an environmental activist."
He then buck passed the issue, saying the "ball really is in the Queensland Government's court".
Mr Shorten's campaign will be based in Townsville until tomorrow, as Labor targets marginal North Queensland seats including Herbert.
Mr Shorten yesterday described incumbent MP Cathy O'Toole as a "classic North Queenslander".
"She doesn't cut the cloth of her opinions to suit the current fashion," he said.
It comes a day after Ms O'Toole blasted her three state Labor colleagues, demanding MPs Coralee O'Rourke, Scott Stewart and Aaron Harper pledge their support to the opening of the Galilee Basin.
"I demand that the state members and all candidates show their commitment to the community by signing the pledge," Ms O'Toole said.
Coalition politicians yesterday seized on the perceived internal Labor warfare.
Opposition environment spokesman and former Mundingburra MP David Crisafulli said not backing mining in Queensland "is like not eating chocolate in a Cadbury factory".
"Politics is about being a fierce advocate for people who put you there," Mr Crisafulli said.
"Right now the region needs to know that they're backing the Galilee Basin.
"You can win a preselection but if you aren't standing up for your region then your day of reckoning will come."
The three state MPs in the Townsville region are yet to sign the pledge, with Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper hinting he would have more to say come Friday.
Mr Harper, in a two-page letter to the editor on the weekend, launched a scathing attack against Townsville Enterprise, accusing the lobby group of "nailing the LNP flag to their mast".
Meanwhile, Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan yesterday piled pressure on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who is in North Queensland this week campaigning in marginal seats.
He accused Mr Shorten of using "weasel words".
"(He needs to) come out one way or another and say whether he supports the Adani Carmichael mine and supports the jobs it will produce," Mr Canavan said.
Additional reporting by Jack McKay.