Andrew Irvine (ETU) talks with Tomohiro Matsuoka (Japanese for Peace) in Brisbane.
Dear Mr Newman
I know we probably don’t see eye-to-eye on much.
I’m with the Greens, you’re with the LNP, and we tend to take a different view of a good number of things.
But that’s all good and healthy. It gives Queenslanders greater choice when they queue up at the ballot box every few years. May a thousand flowers blossom and all that.
I’m not writing to argue about our differences on this occasion. I’ve detailed my objections to our State getting involved in the uranium trade on these pages only a few weeks ago.
I’m writing about what I thought we had in common: a commitment to democracy. The kind where we each tell voters our plans and they choose which they like best.
Remember when you said: “Anna Bligh lied about asset sales to get elected last time, Julia Gillard lied about the carbon tax, and sadly, they will lie again”? You were sad about those lies because you considered them to be undemocratic and unfair to the community, right?
But now we are to have uranium mining in Queensland despite your reassurances before the election that “The parliamentary team are very, very clear that we have no plans to develop any sort of uranium mines in Queensland”.
Are you sad again? I am.
I heard you saying on the radio yesterday that you truly didn’t have any plans for uranium mining in Queensland until Monday. But then you had to mine uranium because the Federal Labor Government said so.
You also said that Federal Labor changed its plans by deciding to try to sell uranium to India and that meant you had to change your plans too.
Like you, I’d rather not feel sad, so I tried to comfort myself with these explanations. But then I remembered that the Labor Party decided to pursue uranium sales to India back in December last year, well before you promised us you had no plans to mine uranium in our State.
And I have trouble with the “Labor made me” angle because Labor also wanted you to help trial the National Disability Insurance Scheme and to contribute to the solar thermal power plantplanned near Chinchilla, among other things, but you didn’t want to so you said “no”.
We also have a constitution that explicitly says that Julia Gillard is not allowed to make you go uranium mining.
Hopefully this has all been some kind of mix up. That seems quite likely, now that I think of it. After all, your media release on Monday said that your decision “followed sustained public debate on uranium mining in Queensland”, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when all you’ve said about uranium mining so far is that you’re not going to allow it.
Funny sort of debate:
“I won’t allow it.”
“No you won’t.”
You also said yesterday that you haven’t done any economic modelling yet to show that lifting the ban will create jobs and investment.
You’ve announced this by accident, haven’t you?! You meant to do it just before the next State election, following some economic modelling and public debate, and right before we all get to vote on whether we think it’s a good idea!
I must say, that’s a tremendous relief! I’m very glad we cleared that up. Neither of us needs to feel sad that democracy has been compromised.
You can go into the next election saying why you think uranium mining is a good idea, I’ll say why I think it isn’t, everyone will vote, and we’ll all live with the result.
And you won’t even have to wait any longer for your uranium mines because the Australian Uranium Association has said that none will be built for at least five to seven years because the uranium price is too low.
It’s a win-win. I look forward to the debate.
Adam Stone is the lead senate candidate for the Queensland Greens in the upcoming federal election.
This letter first appeared in the Sunshine Coast Daily, 27 Oct, 2012. Used with permission. http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/open-letter-calls-out-newman-uranium-lie/1599545/