Contributed from Queensland
If anything is as clear as day, it is that Gautam Adani and his company are adept at courting the favour of politicians. The Turnbull government in Canberra is in. So is Queensland’s Labor government. And this may well prove to be a problem for the party’s national image.
Queensland does have a particularly colourful history, with its politicians getting involved in extra-curricular business. But the fervency with which premier Annastacia Palaszczuk goes in to bat for the multi-billionaire and his operations is astonishing.
Now, she is jetting off with a group of regional majors to India, to be convinced to be firmly tied into the cause. This is a junket and government expense. This is a view shared by the critics. No doubt, it will be the royalty there. Something was about visiting cooking oil and solar panel plants. But this is only a sideshow to the main purpose of the junket.
In a way, this is also a back handed compliment to the strength of the opposition in Queensland and around Australia.
Regardless, the push continues, using the argument that the economic benefits and the provision of jobs outweigh any environmental risk that there may be.
The $21.7 billion Carmichael coal mine project involves the digging of six open pits and up to five underground mines. Transport of coal will bring a considerable risk to the Great Barrier Reef scientists have said.
It makes little longer-term economic sense, when there is a global shift away from coal, which includes India, where the coal is to be shipped to. Damage to the reef has the potential to devastate the large Queensland tourist industry. This alone will cost many more jobs than Carmichael could ever provide, opponents say.
It is no secret that politicians that politicians can sometimes be bought. This is not just about brown paper bags. Flattery and promise can do just as well.
For Annastacia Palaszczuk, this is a dangerous game that is most likely to end up in the destruction of her political career. Labor will lose office in Queensland and the trust of many, if the present course continues. It appears that Queensland’s history of politicians in the pocket, is proving to be hard to shake off.