Senate debates

Thursday, 15 June 2017


Environment and Infrastructure Legislation Amendment (Stop Adani) Bill 2017

11:28 am

Photo of Malcolm RobertsMalcolm Roberts (Queensland, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | Hansard source

As a servant to the people of Queensland and Australia, I rise to speak to the Greens tiresome Environment and Infrastructure Legislation Amendment (Stop Adani) Bill 2017. Senator Waters admits in her earlier comments that this is yet another step in stopping this project. This bill seeks to prevent the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, NAIF, lending funds to Adani to construct a railway to ship coal mined in the Galilee Basin by introducing a so-called suitable person test. As Senator Macdonald said, the Greens would not pass such a test.

In addition, this bill yet again seeks to strengthen Australia’s already ridiculously strict and unfounded environment and biodiversity laws. Here we go again—another day and another farrago of green rubbish. Both the bogus suitable person test and the environmental babble are just more cloaks to hide the Greens real anti-jobs, anti-prosperity Luddite agenda. Don't other senators tire of their endless bleating? Unlike the Greens, informed and responsible senators would be aware of the real facts. They know that the Adani Carmichael coalmine to be built by the Adani Group in the north of the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland represents a $16.5 billion investment. It opens the Galilee Basin to supply clean coal, which is in huge and growing demand globally. It is expected to produce 2.3 billion tonnes of coal over a projected 60-year life span. This wonderful project will generate thousands of jobs and many hundreds of millions of dollars of export earnings for our nation. How great is that for our state of Queensland and for our Australian nation?

As the first of a number of large mines expected to be built in the Galilee Basin, the infrastructure to be built for the Carmichael mine will greatly facilitate the development of subsequent mines, which in turn will generate yet more jobs and yet more earnings for Australia. This is the reason, of course, that the northern Australia infrastructure fund—NAIF—plans to spend the $1 billion to which this ridiculous bill refers, because this will not only facilitate the development of the Carmichael mine but will also assist the development of numerous other subsequent mines by other companies in the future.

I make it very clear to the whole of the Senate that we have, in One Nation, some serious questions about the loan, but this bill is not the way to do that. This bill aims to stop the Galilee Basin. We aim to open it up responsibly. For the Greens to claim that the NAIF loan to build vital infrastructure somehow means the government is 'working for billionaires' is simply, logically, incoherent. It is false. It is working with us, for us, with Queensland jobs. We compliment Senator Canavan for his effort to get this project up, finally, despite all the obstacles. Also, note that I said 'lend', because, contrary to what the Greens claimed in their MPI the other day, no-one is giving Adani anything.

The northern Australia infrastructure fund was set up to lend money to assist in development—of railways, port and airport facilities, roads, water, communication facilities et cetera—that specifically assists in the development of northern Australia. Our One Nation party, through our leader, Pauline Hanson, will be ensuring the government does its due diligence. She will be asking the Prime Minister, personally, about Adani's use of funds and the risks in that project to make sure that we are not held responsible for anything that falters with Adani's project. We specifically note the rail line: we want that to be for the use of all Australians.

The NAIF loan and the Carmichael mine will open up the Galilee Basin to the world, creating untold thousands of jobs and a treasure trove of government revenue and export earnings. We note that the Queensland government got into surplus just as a result of billions of dollars from the coal industry, thanks to the state of Queensland. Much of the coal mined in this region will go to India to power Prime Minister Modi's amazing industrial revolution in addition to fuelling power generation that will help to transform much of India and provide the lighting, heating and cooling that we take for granted. This coal will also directly provide many with fuel for domestic cooking. Instead of facing the severe adverse health effects of burning animal dung or scarce wood, millions of Indians will benefit from being able to burn clean coal. As any rational person knows, cheap power drives industrial development, creating jobs, prosperity and progress. Australian coal will help to lift the poorest in India out of poverty.

As someone who was born in India myself, and who visited India just three years ago, I know firsthand the grinding poverty and disease which has afflicted the subcontinent. I am proudly a citizen only of Australia, but I am also an inhabitant of the world. I am a part of the human race, and I am very, very proud to be that. We need to help our fellow humans around the world.

The real truth is that the last 170 years has seen billions of people lifted out of poverty and removed from the vagaries of nature's weather extremes of drought, flood and famine. We have enjoyed vastly lengthened lifespans, greatly increased comfort, safety, ease and security. This has occurred hand in hand with the miracle of coal and hydrocarbon fuels—gas and oil—that, until recent government interventions fuelled by the Greens' nonsense, used to be ever falling in real prices. The key to sustaining human development and sustainable economies is decreasing energy prices. The Greens reverse this trend.

Now Prime Minister Modi in India wants to bring this kind of development and prosperity to India, and I congratulate him and his Bharatiya Janata Party in the strongest terms. Prior to the election of this visionary Indian prime minister and his progressive BJP, much of the country was locked in its own time warp by the socialist policies of the Indian congress party. Like a fly in amber, prior to the BJP government, India seemed lost in a heat haze of ramshackle colonial infrastructure, meandering polluted rivers, reverse engineered old British cars, sprawling slums, chirping cicadas and spreading banyan trees, forever trapped in 1946.

Prior to the BJP, basic necessities like power, clean water and sewerage, which we and the Greens in Australia take for granted, were the luxuries of the wealthy elite in major towns in India. Like One Nation, the BJP is a nationalist workers party that seeks to drastically improve the material situation of everyday, decent people, along with seeking the restoration of traditional national values. The BJP seeks to do this, not through socialism, but through enhancing the marketplace to serve the nation; not through control, but rather through free markets. The BJP is struggling to drag India into the 21st century and to embrace the greatness that could be theirs as a major world power. Adani is part of that movement for a new, modern India and is not just helping to give India cheap power and affordable, low-polluting fuel for cooking and lighting; it is also committed to delivering fresh water and sewerage to many parts of the country that have never known this. It is therefore of great concern to us in One Nation that a tax by the odious Greens and the extreme left faction of the Labor Party on Galilee Basin coal mining has been not just on the Carmichael mine project but on the Adani company itself. This bourgeois hubris that makes the Greens and their ilk imagine that their undergraduate obsessions with carbon dioxide are more important than the lives of Indian workers and families is sickening.

What this ridiculous bill and the Greens' endless attacks on Adani and coal and coal miners demonstrates is not just that the Greens could not care less about creating jobs or generating export incomes here in Australia but that they care even less about lifting much of India and the world out of poverty, out of the Third World. For all their feigned concern about impoverished, underdeveloped countries and despite all these Greens crocodile tears, when it comes to selling India something that will actually help lift its people out of poverty, the Greens are not interested. They are not interested if it does not fit in with their fairies at the bottom of the garden fantasy of windmills and solar cells. This is actually racism of the worst kind—not the self-conscious racism of the determined bigot, but the unconscious racism of elites, who are simply oblivious to the suffering of those beyond their own smugly superior social circle. I can genuinely imagine that when told Indians have no bread, the Greens might actually suggest that they eat cake. Everywhere they go and in everything they do, the Greens do all in their power to close down productive industry and rob honest working Australians of their employment from logging, mining, power generation and manufacturing—the list goes on and on—and add to that farming. Now with Adani, we see the Greens trying to do the same to India.

Fundamentally, while the Greens think they are pro-environment, in fact they are anti-human. They do not care about people's livelihoods, like the Australian workers they seek to throw out of work or the struggling Indians they want to prevent ever being lifting out of poverty and avoiding disease. And the Greens have the nerve to try to call One Nation racist. The truth is that the Greens are the worst kind of racist of all. They are human-racists.

I will now take a few minutes to address Senator Waters' claims in regard to the environment. And I make note to everyone in this chamber that three times I have invited Senator Waters to a debate; three times she has refused. Let us just talk about the fact that the Greens never present science. You will notice that they refer to the word 'science', but they never present any science. Instead, they use pictures of cuddly little animals and pictures of beautiful green turtles or diving dolphins—but never the science, never the evidence. So let me give you some of the evidence right now.

First of all, global temperatures are not rising unusually. Global temperatures are doing what they have done for the last thousands of years. They are going up and down cyclically: warming, cooling, warming, cooling. We have now had 22 years of atmospheric temperatures being flat—no warming at all. The largest and longest temperature trend in the last 160 years was 40 years of cooling from the 1930s to 1976, at a time when the human production of carbon dioxide dramatically increased. The temperatures in this country, in our country of Australia, were higher in the 1880s than they are today. That is fact.

Dr John Reid, formerly with the CSIRO, recently released a paper statistically analysing the temperatures, and there is no trend at all, none at all. If you look at rainfall; if you look at snowfall; if you look at floods' severity, frequency, duration; if you look at droughts' severity, duration, frequency; or if you look at storms' severity and frequency—if you look at all these factors—there is no change going on. It is just natural variation. That is why the Greens will not debate me and that is why the Greens will not actually quote the science: there is nothing to support them.

Second, not only is there no temperature increase but we know that their claim that the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere drives the temperature is in fact the reverse of the reality. The reality is—and it is in the data, the hard data, the measured data—that temperature changes lead to changes in the level of carbon dioxide. The level of carbon dioxide is not the cause of temperature; it is the result of temperature.

The third fact that is inconvenient to the Greens is that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is independent of what we produce. It does not matter how much carbon dioxide humans produce from our activity, because we do not control, do not even affect, the level in the atmosphere. That is determined by the oceans, which respond to cooling or warming by releasing or absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide that dwarf our production. The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is determined by the temperature, and the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is determined entirely by nature alone. It has nothing to do with our production of carbon dioxide.

What I also want to point out is that the Greens go on and on about bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef. Senator Waters claimed that half the Barrier Reef has been bleached. That is sheer nonsense. Alkalinity is the measure of ocean acidity. The oceans are currently alkaline. They are not acid. They have a pH of 8.3 to 8.4, and that pH varies entirely naturally. There is no trend going on, and it remains alkaline. It is not even heading for acidity.

When we talk about bleaching, no-one seems to mention that since 1928 there have been 16 major bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef. No-one seems to mention that the part of the Reef subject to the bleaching that occurred at Great Keppel Island just four years ago has already largely recovered.

Then Senator Larissa Waters says 'ancient history of the Great Barrier Reef'. The Great Barrier Reef around the Keppel islands, in our state, is 6,000 years old. The Great Barrier Reef in the northern parts of Queensland is 8,000 years old. Sea levels 20,000 years ago were 120 metres below where there are now. Where does that put today's Reef?

These claims by the Greens are nonsense, and that is why we claim them as not only antihuman but antiscience. Photos of cuddly animals are no substitute for empirical evidence. False claims like toxic jobs are no substitute for the facts.

They talk about black lung. They take money from the CFMEU that represents coalminers. I worked underground for three years at the coalface, and black lung is a threat to anyone who does not manage his or her workplace properly. But black lung is no longer a problem where coalmines have ventilated properly. The answer to black lung is the regulations in Queensland not being enforced, the CFMEU not doing its job and some coal operators not fulfilling their responsibilities. Black lung is not an inherent problem when it is managed properly. Thousands upon thousands of people around the world manage to work in coalmines safely and harmoniously without any fear of black lung, because they comply with basic standards.

Thirdly, coal is the main driver of environmental improvements on our planet. About 170 years ago, people were burning forests in London for fuel. People were using whale oil for lighting. In fact, in 1826 in Sydney, we celebrated the first street lamp network in our country. It was powered by whale oil. What caused that to change? Very simple: coal—coal being burnt in modern power stations cleaned up the skies over Europe and London. The pollution in London afflicted people from the 1400s through to 1960s until the advent of modern electricity in coal-fired power stations. That is when Londoners first started to see the stars at night. That is when people no longer got lung diseases, thanks to clean coal. Not only do the whales thank coal, not only do the forests thank coal but humanity itself thanks coal, because only by the remarkable benefits of hydrocarbon fuels are humans decreasing in birth rate as we increase our prosperity.

In finishing, I want to say a few words about the fact that the Greens bill is a destroyer of Australia. I call on the Senate to reject the Greens and all their works. Let us reject these irrational, racist, Luddite policies of the Greens and consign this human racist bill to the legislative garbage bin, along with the enemies of the wheel that created it. Do we really want to develop north Queensland? Yes, we do, and yes we can. Thank you.


Charlie Schroeder
Posted on 16 Jun 2017 9:57 pm

Gouging the non renewable natural resources out of the ground and polluting all the natural elements to ensure a healthy life for our grandchildren. Is neither good business, nor is it worth employment now.

These polluting industries and their destruction of the natural environment to build railway lines, mines that gouge coal, which is sequestered carbon, from the ground. will have to be paid for by the deteriorating health of the planet, of our grandchildren of all species we need to survive on this earth.

The short sightedness of people who look only at jobs and not the consequences for Australia and the rest of the world from these jobs are not clever people.

Tibor Majlath
Posted on 17 Jun 2017 5:40 pm

Coal is carbon captured millions of years ago in a most efficient manner completely unmatched by human technology. But what is 'clean coal'?

The senator talks about 'clean coal'. This presumes that carbon capture devised by humans is a mature and cheap technology available everywhere Australian coal is to be exported. Ridiculous notion.

Whale oil didn't fall out of favour because of the new technology of coal. Whale oil became too expensive because of the massive whaling industry's excesses in nearly wiping out the 'right whale' species for its oil.

How did everyone manage to have very expensive electricity in their homes with the advent of 'clean coal'. The infrastructure took time and money to materialize. By the way, we now can't see the stars at night thanks to light pollution of the night sky!

The miners still got lung disease from extracting the senator's 'clean coal' until the health and safety of the miners came a priority.

One would hope for better arguments from a representative than this strange collection of thought bubbles.