Contributed by Ben Wilson
The attack by Liberal MP George Christensen on former cricketer Ian Chappell’s and other prominent Australians, for opposing Adani’s Carmichael coal mine as “elitist wankers,” is dirty politics. The sort of response that comes from a politician who has no solid ground on which top argue his case
The cause of the outburst is a letter signed the 91 prominent Australians and sent to the Indian media.
Chappell’s reply to the name calling is that it is “worthwhile,” if joining his brother Greg in an open letter calling on the Indian miner to abandon its coal plan, thrusts the issue into the public.
He said, as when previously speaking out about Australia’s hardline refugee policies, “you realise as a former Australian captain that there are times when you have a louder voice than a lot of other people [and] there are times to use that louder voice”.
“If it has helped in that regard, to get some publicity in India and give people in India another view on it – and not the view that everyone in Australia is falling head over heels in love with this project – and if it’s got that message across, it makes that worthwhile.”
The Chappell brothers’ involvement ensured the letter was reported in Indian media.
This is what Adani’s supporters in the government and mining circles are upset about.
The letter “respectfully” called on Adani’s billionaire chairman, Gautam Adani, to drop the mine plan for three reasons. It would drive global warming that threatened the nearby Great Barrier Reef . The medical journal Lancet suggests, the mine is a “public health disaster.” Nor “does not have wide public support in Australia.”
Australia has a right to be properly informed and those who have vested interests in the project need to disclose their conflict of interest. If inducements have been offered, in line with Adani’s reputation, this needs to come out into the open as well.