Report: Catherine King says Adani is against Australia’s national interest but not willing to stop it.

“Catherine King says that she does not personally believe the mine is in Australia’s best interests”

This post is a guest post by Sandra Hawkins who recently visited the Federal MP for Ballarat. She wrote the following from notes taken during the meeting, interrupted by Catherine King who wasn’t comfortable with notes being taken, then by memory. Catherine King doesn’t like scrutiny regarding her weak position on climate change and Adani.



image1Today Monday December 10, I met with Catherine King, shadow Minister for Health and my local federal MP to discuss the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

I left her office feeling very disappointed and dejected.

Catherine had already told me during email correspondence that Labor is the party for strong action on climate change. She had recommended I read Labor’s National Policy Platform draft which is to be put before their national conference just a few days away.

I started to take notes while I was there but Catherine wasn’t comfortable with that. She said she felt I must be going to report back to someone.

I noticed throughout chapter 4 ‘Tackling climate change, securing our energy future & addressing our environmental challenges’ that there is a gap between the sense of urgency of the IPCC report and what Labor proposes. In Labor’s document there is no acknowledgement that the carbon budget is blown. There is support for fracking; mention of development of all energy resources; using revenues from mining, oil and gas for economic development and poverty alleviation.

The IPCC says we must not only slash emissions but actively remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Labor says it will cap emissions but eventually reduce the cap.

The IPCC says 1.5 degrees warming is too high, Labor’s draft policy document keeps referring to keeping under 2 degrees.

I left her office feeling very disappointed and dejected. I’m not convinced our local Member of Parliament fully appreciates the peril we are in due to climate change not being addressed effectively or urgently enough.

In regards to Adani, Catherine King says that she does not personally believe the mine is in Australia’s best interests. She said a federal Labor government would have no say over such state government decisions except through Environment and Biodiversity legislation. Because the Coalition have already passed it through this legislation she thinks it will be operational by the Federal election. If Labor was elected and then somehow rescinded these legislative approvals she says we’d lose or weaken the environmental protections of the legislation and the coalition would have cart blanche next time they were in.

She wouldn’t agree to stating actual opposition to it, just the belief of it being not in the national interest.

Catherine spent some time explaining to me that Labor had been proactive on addressing climate change with Kevin Rudd’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and then Julia Gillard’s price on carbon. She insisted that if the CPRS had been supported by the Greens then it would have worked well and somehow been enshrined but able to be built upon and improved. According to Catherine the price on carbon was able to be overturned because it was so near the end of the Labor government term whereas the CPRS would have been safe by being between two Labor terms.

Catherine said that in her 18 years in Parliament she had learnt that plans and actions have to be achievable. They have to get through the Parliamentary process and via the legislative frameworks. She is very happy with the renewable energy target set by Labor.

I pointed out that what she was saying was ‘achievable’ is nowhere near enough to keep us below 1.5 degrees.

I said that the effects of 1 degree of warming were bad enough. I worried for the elderly, the disabled and the young.

I said I’d advised my children not to have kids of their own, that people I met had tears talking about their grandchildren’s future.

I spoke of the lifestyle changes and individual efforts I and others are making and that it would be nice to see a semblance of that effort by politicians.

She mentioned several times that it was the Greens that were at fault and why it is so difficult for Labor to catch up if they are elected. This repetition gave me the distinct impression she either knew or guessed that I lean towards the Greens. Was I supposed to feel partly responsible? I suspected so.

It was recommended I read “Climate Wars” by Mark Butler.

She said the only way I can guarantee Climate Action is to vote Labor and they mustn’t have a hung parliament.

I asked if “As shadow minister for health, do you recognise that climate change is an existential threat?”

She replied that it is a threat, she doesn’t like the word existential.

She said she has been working with Mark Butler on a Climate Change and Health Strategy.

I asked if declaring an emergency could fast track action but Catherine wasn’t in favour of that and not convinced of the effect of a declaration.

She said as a shadow minister she does not sign anything when I asked “Would you sign that you support a Climate Emergency declaration?”

I’m not convinced our local Member of Parliament fully appreciates the peril we are in due to climate change not being addressed effectively or urgently enough.

–  Sandra Hawkins.

2 thoughts on “Report: Catherine King says Adani is against Australia’s national interest but not willing to stop it.”

  1. Gutsy effort by Sandra asking the hard/crucial questions. Sounded like like weak responses on a vital issue… Lots more demos, thoughtful voting…waking up to a scary future without strong and rapid climate action.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Firstly, i would argue that Ms King has a social, moral & constitutional responsibility to act in the best of interests of her constituents, this is, afterall, what she was elected to do; but, of course, to vote against ALP policy places her in contravention of section 5 (d) of the ALP Constitution; hence under the caucus system, “representative democracy” is a farce and a lie.
    Second. I suspect that Ms King, eager for her constituents to buy her colleague’s book, has confused it with the more laudable effort by Gwynne Dyer that has the same title.
    Following is an excerpt from a review by Dr Rosalie Schultz of the Butler book: “The book blames Liberal and Green party politics for our current situation, but there is no acknowledgement or discussion about misjudgements made within the ALP. ……….. Furthermore, the book doesn’t acknowledge the inherent conflict in Australian society, which is based on a destructive relationship with the environment that sustains us. Such acknowledgement would recognise that climate change is only one of many impending environmental crises, and that major social change is needed.
    Butler’s approach limits his perspective and capacity to criticise ALP decisions, such as Rudd’s laughable target of 5 per cent emissions reduction, and the ALP’s confused position on supporting Adani to mine enormous amounts of coal. Thus, the book loses an opportunity to address the climate conflict through a transformative approach.
    Butler supports the fundamentals of economic rationalism and the idea that the “Australian economy is experiencing a de-coupling of carbon emissions from economic growth” (page 56). This is the myth of decoupling economic growth from emissions growth, which ignores the fact that there are absolute limits to planet earth. Butler also propounds the nonsense that Australia can support a much larger population because of the extent of our arable land and amount of freshwater.”
    full review at:

    Liked by 1 person

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