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

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