By Glen Klatovsky
Over the last six weeks, 350 Australia has been working with the people of Batman to highlight the issue of the the proposed Adani coal mine. Hundreds of locals have been getting active as their passion for climate protection comes to the fore.
People have asked why the Adani issue is relevant in inner-city Melbourne — far from Queensland’s Galilee Basin where the mine would be located. Why 350 should be active in a seat that the Liberal Party are not contesting and why we would not support a progressive candidate for the ALP?
The short answer is: we need to break bipartisan support for the Adani mine.
The Adani company proposes to build the biggest coal mine in Australia, which will operate for more than 50 years, in a brand new coal basin. If the Adani project goes ahead, other coal mines in the Galilee Basin will undoubtedly follow. The Adani coal mine is the core question about our response to climate change because, to meet the Paris climate commitments, we have to stop digging up coal. That means no new coal mines… anywhere.
350 has been central to the #StopAdani campaign. We have seen this movement grow into one of the biggest social movements in Australia in decades. There are over 150 #StopAdani groups across Australia and thousands of Australians actively fighting to stop this mine.
In Batman, the concern about Adani was obvious in late January when 350 convened a local community meeting about the issue. Some 200 locals turned up, about 150 more than we expected!
Whether you live in Batman or near the Barrier Reef, Adani is an issue of national significance – and one that can and should influence the outcome of every election going forward.
Obviously, the current federal government is pro-coal and pro-Adani. Last year, our Federal Treasurer turned up to Parliament with a big lump of coal in his hand – an embarrassing gimmick to show support for a dying industry. Meanwhile, despite prevaricating by Bill Shorten, the ALP still stands by support for the Adani coal mine.
What we don’t understand is why the federal ALP has failed to oppose the Adani mine. Two-thirds of Australians oppose the Adani project and the voters of Queensland voted in the ALP state government largely with Adani named as a key reason.
While the federal ALP refuses to oppose the mine, Adani workers can say they have bipartisan support for the project in the halls of power in Canberra.
We know that even without direct federal money for the Adani mine, the Australian government provides billions of dollars of subsidies and other incentives to coal miners in Australia, regardless of which party runs the country.
So 350 is campaigning to get the ALP to oppose the Adani mine. And if there was a Liberal candidate, we would campaign for them to do the same.
350 Australia’s job, backed by 70,000 supporters, more than 150 #StopAdani groups and the two-thirds of Australians polled who oppose the Adani mine, is to fight for our climate and ensure this mine never goes ahead. In order to do that we need to break the bipartisan support for Adani in Canberra.
Regardless of who wins in the seat of Batman, our campaign will not cease. After the by-election, we will continue our efforts to break the all political support for the Adani mine and for coal in Canberra. Given the urgency of climate change, it’s a campaign that, together, we have to win.