Bill Shorten warns on Adani


In Townsville, Labor MP Cathy O’Toole said she had not seen the pledge, which the union first demanded all federal election candidates sign in February.

“I have not seen that pledge, so I cannot make any comment on that at all,” Ms O’Toole said.

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The powerful union has threatened to campaign against Labor in Queensland coal seats if candidates do not sign.

Asked if she was frustrated by Mr Shorten’s refusal to rule out a review of the project’s federal approval, Ms O’Toole said she had been “too focussed on doing my job here lately”.

“I know that the Labor Party is very clear and we will make sure that proper science, proper legal processes are followed,” she said.

“My job is to focus on the needs of people here in this community. I can say I have had nothing but support from the leadership team of the Labor Party.”

Ms O’Toole said she would work to ensure that Townsville voters get their “fair share”.

“It’s critically important that we get a piece of the action, that we are in the mix for the jobs of the future, the industries of the future – and that’s exactly I have been doing.”

CFMMEU national secretary Tony Maher said there was no need for the federal approval to be reviewed while dismissing talk of divisions between the Labor Party and his union, saying the Adani debate had been “blown out of proportion”.

Mr Maher said he was in discussions with workers, environmentalists and Adani about the project and the company was “not worried about Labor’s approach”.

“If it stacks up, it will go ahead … It’s not the only coal mine in Queensland,” he told ABC Radio National.

“We want a transparent process, otherwise these things become political footballs.”

Mr Maher said mining projects should not be decided on the basis of whether they were electorally popular or unpopular.

“That’s not a way to run a resources industry,” he said.

Dana is health and industrial relations reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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