Green tide puts Emerson in danger
The unwavering support of the Liberal National Party for Adani’s proposed coalmine to help tackle unemployment in regional Queensland could cost opposition Treasury spokesman Scott Emerson his job.
Just days after polling showed Labor Deputy Premier Jackie Trad trailing the Greens in her inner-city seat of South Brisbane, a separate poll has Mr Emerson also in a knife-edge contest with the minor party.
The poll, commissioned by the Greens, puts Mr Emerson on 41 per cent of the primary vote in his recently redistributed and renamed seat of Maiwar, with Greens candidate Michael Berkman on 24 per cent and Labor’s Ali King on 23 per cent, with 11 per cent undecided.
Essential Research, which conducted the poll, put Mr Emerson just ahead of Mr Berkman with 50.9 per cent to 49.1 per cent of the vote on a two-party-preferred basis, using preference flows from a local division in last year’s local government elections.
Maiwar is one of three Brisbane electorates targeted by the Greens in a well-orchestrated field campaign to secure their first seat in the state’s unicameral parliament.
A lawyer involved in challenges to the Adani mine, Mr Berkman has campaigned hard on the Indian giant’s mega-mine. He and his supporters have doorknocked 12,000 homes in the electorate.
“People in Maiwar have lost faith in politics, and are looking for a genuine alternative that puts the community at the heart of their decision making,” Mr Berkman said. “We’ve been campaigning for over a year now, and over the next two weeks we’ll be doing the same thing — knocking on thousands of doors and talking to people who feel let down by a broken political system.”
But Mr Emerson said he backed the proposed mine and — because of the jobs it would create — Adani’s application for a federal concessional loan to build a common-user rail line for coal to be transported out of the Galilee Basin in central Queensland.
“People understand the need for jobs in Queensland when we have got the second highest unemployment rate in Australia,’’ he said. “We need to create jobs in regional Queensland, where there is record youth unemployment of 50 per cent.’’
Mr Emerson said Labor’s reintroduction of compulsory preferential voting was helping the Greens in his seat, in the western suburbs of Brisbane.
“The Greens policies will see increases in electricity prices and cost jobs,’’ he said.
LNP Treasury spokesman Scott Emerson at a cafe with owner Erica Yin in St Lucia, Brisbane, yesterday