Richard di Natale targets Adani at Greens' Queensland campaign launch

Leader attacks connection between lobbyists and politicians, saying democratic rules are ‘rigged’ in the state

The Greens say they will offer Queensland voters a chance to clean up politics at the looming state election, and send a clear message that they don’t want the controversial Adani mine to proceed.

The federal Greens leader, Richard di Natale, will launch their campaign on Saturday with a speech declaring the state has a democratic deficit because of lobbying and political connections, with “a revolving door between politicians, their staff and the companies that profit from government decisions”.

Di Natale will declare that “the rules in Queensland are rigged”.

The Greens leader will criticise the practice of political staff from the major parties going on to work as corporate lobbyists, and point out that Adani’s lobbyists in Queensland, Next Level Strategic Services, also “act for property developers, gambling firms and Broadspectrum – the company running Manus and Nauru detention centres”.

Federal leaders from all parties have been highly attentive to Queensland in recent months, preparing the ground for when the Labor premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, fires the starting gun.

One Nation is likely to be the kingmaker, with neither Labor nor the LNP guaranteed to win the 47 seats required for power in the unicameral parliament.

The Greens will also be in fierce competition with Labor for inner Brisbane seats. The Adani project provides a major point of difference between the two parties, and one the Greens will run hard on, as they have done in Melbourne.

Di Natale on Saturday will zero in on Labor’s assistance for the project. “Despite Queensland Labor’s election promise not to give any public money to Adani, they ultimately were able to secure a loan from the Queensland government so Adani don’t have to pay coal royalties that would go towards vital public infrastructure, schools and hospitals.”

The Greens leader will say the company was assisted in securing support from the state government by lobbyists, who were in frequent contact with the state government in the lead up to the royalties decision.

“We still don’t know what is in this contract, because the Palaszczuk government refuses to release it,” the text of Di Natale’s speech says.

“But what we do know through Queensland’s lobbyist contact register is that Next Level lobbyists were in contact with the premier’s office and her chief of staff every single day in the lead-up to the royalties announcement.”

The Queensland lobbyists contact register shows Next Level had daily contact with senior members of the Queensland government from 25 May to 30 May, when the final decision was made.

“We also know that up until that point the premier had had only 10 appointments with lobbyists – six of them were with Adani’s handlers.”


Gareth Hutchens and Katharine Murphy

The GuardianTramp

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