Se­na­tor hits back at black lung claim

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - DOMANII CAMERON

ONE Na­tion se­na­tor Mal­colm Roberts has ac­cused a Queens­land union of scare­mon­ger­ing af­ter be­ing tar­geted in a mass ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign about black lung dis­ease.

In a full- page ad­ver­tise­ment in yes­ter­day’s Bul­letin, the Con­struc­tion, Forestry, Min­ing and En­ergy Union of Queens­land claimed that “Se­na­tor Mal­colm Roberts is blam­ing coal mine work­ers for get­ting Black Lung Dis­ease”.

The ad­ver­tise­ment ques­tioned what One Na­tion stood for if it was choos­ing to “sup­port mas­sive cor­po­ra­tions”.

It comes af­ter the Greens tried to move an anti- Adani Bill in Par­lia­ment in June.

In his re­sponse to the Bill, Mr Roberts spoke about the dis­ease, say­ing “the an­swer to black lung is the reg­u­la­tions in Queens­land not be­ing en­forced”. He also said that “the CFMEU is not do­ing its job, some coal op­er­a­tors ( are) not ful­fill­ing their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties”.

Speak­ing to the Bul­letin yes­ter­day, Se­na­tor Roberts said he was con­cerned that the CFMEU was spread­ing lies.

“They’re scared of One Na­tion,” he said.

“We’re mak­ing in­roads into the vot­ing base in Queens­land. What you see is when they tell lies, it’s a form of con­trol.”

Se­na­tor Roberts said his own grand­fa­ther had died of black lung dis­ease.

“My fa­ther worked in var­i­ous coun­tries and built a ca­reer in Aus­tralia, was a very ef­fec­tive man­ager of coal mines and be­came chief in­spec­tor for coal mines in Queens­land,” he said.

“He wrote reg­u­la­tions for ven­ti­lated coal mines which is key to coun­ter­ing black lung.”

CFMEU Queens­land District pres­i­dent Stephen Smyth yes­ter­day said the union was not “play­ing pol­i­tics”.

“We’re call­ing him out on what he said,” Mr Smyth said.

“He’s blam­ing the CFMEU for the re­turn of black lung.”

Se­na­tor Mal­colm Roberts.

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