Let’s just have our say

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

IT COULD be a case of One Na­tion to the res­cue.

At least, they are promis­ing real cash to build a coal- fired power sta­tion in North Queens­land — $ 1.4 bil­lion to be pre­cise.

This is money they in­tend to re­di­rect from Bris­bane’s $ 5.4 bil­lion Cross River Tun­nel project which for north­ern­ers will be a very ap­peal­ing pol­icy.

Too much money is be­ing spent in Bris­bane any­way, isn’t there?

The One Na­tion po­si­tion com­pares with pledges by the LNP to fast- track ap­provals for some­one – as yet undis­closed – to build a coal- fired power sta­tion.

La­bor is promis­ing to spend hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars to build trans­mis­sion lines to con­nect re­mote re­new­able en­ergy sites at Kid­ston and Hugh­en­den to boost sup­ply.

Given, One Na­tion could very well hold the bal­ance of power in the next State Govern­ment, per­haps it’s worth look­ing at where a coal- fired power sta­tion could be built. This is not a new idea. North­ern devel­op­ment au­thor­i­ties have been push­ing for a big power sta­tion for decades.

Townsville En­ter­prise and other bod­ies funded a North Queens­land En­ergy Study, com­piled by en­ergy con­sul­tant Roam Con­sult­ing, in 2007.

It came up with four power sta­tion lo­ca­tions.

They were Mo­ran­bah, us­ing coal seam meth­ane, Goonyella/ Riverside near Mo­ran­bah and Bowen, both us­ing lower value re­ject coal from ex­ist­ing mines, and Pent­land us­ing mined coal.

It found coal wash­ery re­jects and coal seam gas were the most com­pet­i­tive fu­els for a new power sta­tion al­though the big hikes in gas prices might have changed that propo­si­tion. Ex­port qual­ity coal was not con­sid­ered an op­tion be­cause of its pre­mium value.

Mean­while, Aus­tralian En­ergy Coun­cil CEO Matthew War­ren says there does not ap­pear to be a press­ing com­mer­cial case for a new coal- fired gen­er­a­tor in North Queens­land but that the Adani coal mine could pro­vide a new sup­ply of lower cost coal for a fu­ture power sta­tion. Lefties need to stop whinge­ing about the same sex mar­riage plebiscite and just con­vince peo­ple to vote yes or no.

The press gallery lost its col­lec­tive mind when the Govern­ment did what it promised and found a way to give you a say on the is­sue.

Many of them have lost all ob­jec­tiv­ity and are in full cam­paign mode.

At a press con­fer­ence on Mon­day, they screamed at the PM about the process and jumped the shark when they started to ask ques­tions about whether the Face­book gen­er­a­tion would know how the process works.

If young, old or any­one else can’t an­swer a yes no ques­tion on a piece of pa­per, lick the en­ve­lope and send it back, same sex mar­riage is the least of our prob­lems.

For the record, I will be vot­ing yes. A big red line was crossed this week by “protesters” in Mel­bourne who threw paint at the Lord Mayor’s house fol­low­ing the coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to move home­less peo­ple away from the area near Flin­ders St sta­tion.

It’s the sec­ond time they have at­tacked his home.

This is be­yond not on. Tar­get­ing public fig­ures’ homes is never ac­cept­able and should be met with a se­ri­ous re­sponse by po­lice and any­one who cares about a civil so­ci­ety.

Sadly, it’s not just the phys­i­cal at­tacks that go way too far.

You don’t have to dig that deep into the in­ter­net to find peo­ple try­ing to work out where public fig­ures live with the ex­press pur­pose of threat­en­ing them.

True, in public life when you lead with your chin some­one is go­ing to take the meta­phoric swing at it. But fam­ily is off lim­its.

Sure, play the ball hard, but not the man or woman try­ing their best. How is it le­gal that a serv­ing politi­cian can take money from any­one but the public while they are in of­fice?

This week we learnt that the former and very ef­fec­tive Small Busi­ness Min­is­ter Bruce Bil­son was paid by the ‘ Fran­chise Coun­cil’ while he was still an MP.

He’s gone on to work for them in his post politics life.

Amaz­ingly, the re­ac­tion of the major po­lit­i­cal par­ties wasn’t to close this loop­hole, only to say it was re­gret­table.

We have strict rules that cover dual cit­i­zen­ship and mak­ing ex­tra money off the Com­mon­wealth that have seen sen­a­tors lose their jobs be­cause that ac­tiv­ity gives the per­cep­tion of di­vided loy­al­ties.

Surely get­ting paid by a lobby group while you are an MP is worse than ei­ther of th­ese fa­tal ‘ mis­takes’?

But when the club sees no ur­gency to change this sys­tem our ever shrink­ing faith in politics falls even lower.

Join­ing Paul on the pro­gram this Mon­day ( Au­gust 14) are Gra­ham Richard­son, Ross Cameron and Ja­nine Per­rett.



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