Senate debates

Tuesday, 13 June 2017


Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017; Second Reading

6:23 pm

Photo of Peter Whish-WilsonPeter Whish-Wilson (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I have read their correspondence and Senator Siewert, my colleague who I acknowledged earlier in the debate, has spoken with them and a large number of Indigenous communities across this country. We recognise that this is a very complex area. I have said that three times. This is about you trying to get a deal for a coal baron and a large multinational company so that you can secure votes and prevent leakage of votes to One Nation. That is what this is about, in my humble opinion, and no doubt in the opinion of many other people around this country who look at this and say: 'What's going on? Why are you so determined for this project to go ahead that you would do things like rushing this kind of legislation?' It is because you want to give certainty to a large multinational, which, may I say, has a very poor track record, not just in environmental terms but in social terms and in paying tax. Why would you go to these lengths?

It is time to draw a line in the sand if we are serious about getting native title right in this country and if we are serious about stopping climate change. By supporting this legislation here today, by voting for this, you are not only riding roughshod over the local Indigenous community, you are giving a green light, potentially, for the Adani mine to proceed. That is what this will do. We know that Senator Brandis is involved with the legal proceedings around decisions—that is my understanding; you can refute that later if you disagree with it. What we are deciding here today is not just a decision on this legislation; it is whether you support the Adani mine or not. That is really what it is for—let's be clear about that. Rushing through this legislation is about giving a large multinational business certainty.

I cannot believe that—given the debates we are having in this country around transitioning out of coal, clean energy targets, meeting our Paris agreements, trying to find new industries for coal workers and retraining, reskilling and all the things that we should be showing leadership on—we are politically supporting one of the largest coalmines in the world, a new coal development, at a time when 70,000 jobs on the Great Barrier Reef are at stake if the reef continues to bleach. The reef will not survive more mass bleachings, especially if they occur in the upcoming years—of that I can assure you. That is the evidence that we have heard from some of the best scientists in the world. There are already parts of the reef that will not recover, and that is not even looking at the ecosystem damage. There are things that we cannot even quantify in dollar terms.

Senator Brandis, when you get to speak, perhaps you can tell us why those jobs are so important for the Adani mine, why you are giving such preferential treatment to one company, why you are not showing any leadership on, or vision for, transitioning the economy and why we are rushing through very complex, very sensitive and critically important legislation today that we need to get right. Senator Siewert made it very clear in her contribution here that there are all sorts of things that were not looked at by the committee that affect these ILUAs and that potentially have very adverse consequences that we need to look at in a holistic way. The Greens will not be supporting this legislation in a vote today.


No comments