|Dear Neville —
The World’s Second Biggest Coal Exporter Votes
If Queensland was an independent nation, it would be the world’s second biggest coal exporter. That makes the State Election this Saturday a global concern, in addition to being crucially important to the lives of Queenslanders for generations to come.
The Australia Institute this week released a report challenging job figures claimed by the mining industry – and repeated by Campbell Newman. The paper found that projections of 27,000 new jobs were inflated by 300% with the use of modelling which is widely known to be flawed. Our research led to Environment Justice Australia, on behalf of GetUp! filing a complaint to the ACCC – challenging the basis for the projects approval.
Not only do Queenslanders have to suffer the destruction of their farmland, water table and the Great Barrier Reef, but a TAI report revealed, they’re subsidising big miners with $2 billion in taxes for the pleasure.
Accountability and Transparency Enter the Debate
Where there is coal, very often corruption can follow – especially when successive governments erode accountability institutions, and transparency laws.
The Australia Institute helped coordinate an Open Letter from 52 prominent Australians (mostly Queenslanders) calling on Queensland politicians to commit to principles formulated by preeminent anti-corruption figure Tony Fitzgerald AC QC. Dubbed ‘The Fitzgerald Principles’, the accountability and transparency standards quickly became a major issue in the campaign, and featured prominently in the televised leaders debate.
Placing a full-page ad in the Courier Mail, the Open Letter was backed by 22 leading Queensland legal, environmental and social organizations, demanding that parties “take specific steps to honour their election commitment to govern for the benefit of all Queenslanders and our unique environment”.
Anti-Corruption Conference – Tickets Limited
Following the election, The Australia Institute is supporting “Accountability and the Law: Safeguarding Against Corruption in Queensland” which will bring together leading legal and academic accountability experts, as well as the corruption fighting heavyweight, former commissioner of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the Honourable David Ipp AO QC.
Other key players participating include two former Queensland integrity commissioners; Dr David Solomon and Gary Crooke QC; former CMC Commissioner Philip Nase; recently retired Supreme Court Justice George Fryberg; as well as Professors Graeme Orr and AJ Brown.
WHERE: Customs House, Brisbane
WHEN: 9 February, 2015
Is it a Gas, Gas, Gas?
A new report commissioned by The Australia Institute showed gas demand in NSW could halve within a decade. and questions the need for a gas network in NSW.
The report’s authors wrote in The Conversation that “a crash in gas use is more likely than the forecast shortage”. We know from the example of unnecessary infrastructure driving up electricity prices that inflated gas demand projections, will saddle NSW households and businesses with high prices for years to come.
TAI in the media
Guardian – Queensland democracy is being eroded by links to lobbyists, open letter declares
Brisbane Times – Prominent Australians’ open letter to political parties
ABC Radio Brisbane – How coal can be linked to corruption
The Drum – Gary Crooke: Qld election: bipartisan ethical bankruptcy
Sydney Morning Herald – Surging gas prices to prompt switch to electricity
7 News – NSW gas demand predicted to halve