A former north-coast based MP is calling on locals to write letters to federal Labor leader Bill Shorten urging his party to strongly oppose the controversial Adani coal mine project.
NSW Greens stalwart Ian Cohen, a former NSW MLC, urged Mr Shorten to ‘seize the moment’ by taking the stand against Adani, in a letter yesterday to the opposition leader.
Mr Cohen, from Broken Head, told Echonetdaily a letter campaign now was ‘strategically timely’ given the ‘huge sentiment against Adani locally’.
He told Mr Shorten that taking the strong stand would ‘catapult the ALP into government backed by a growing movement of people with a positive vision for the future’, in the same way the Franklin River dam opposition helped the former Labor government led by Bob Hawke ‘ride into power’.
‘I listened with an air of ‘déjà vu’ to your welcome comments that if Adani doesn’t stack up economically and environmentally the ALP will withdraw support,’ Mr Cohen’s letter begins.
‘I have not felt so inclined toward the ALP since the days of the Franklin River Blockade when I was just an upriver greenie.
‘To this day I remember being huddled around a campfire in the chill and damp wilderness with a small group of hardy souls when the crackling transistor rang out with tinny clarity Bob Hawke’s victory announcement: “The dam will not go ahead and the Franklin River will be saved”.
‘It was a rare uplifting moment of history that I feel is about to be repeated.
‘Just as Hawke rode into power on the conservation and public wave of support I believe a Shorten Government will similarly emerge with a clear enunciation of Adani Coal and the globally significant declaration of increased protection for the Great Barrier Reef.
‘Having served 16 years as a Green MP in the NSW Parliament, I know full well the difficulties of such major decisions.
‘However, I know that this clear departure from the Conservatives’ political culture would catapult the ALP into government backed by a growing movement of people with a positive vision for the future,’ Mr Cohen said.
The letter follows Federal Labor Party’s reconsideration of its support for Adani’s mine.
Yesterday, Mr Shorten told the National Press Club that Labor was ‘looking at Adani closely, saying ‘If it doesn’t stack up commercially or environmentally it will absolutely not receive our support’.
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) seized on the announcement, telling its members ‘Right now, the Labor Cabinet are deciding whether the coal mine stacks up. They need to see a massive wave of encouragement from us today to reject this polluting coal mine’.
ACF’s chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy said ‘This is Labor’s Franklin River moment’.
‘This decision will go down in Australian environmental history. The ALP are so close, but we need to get them over the line,’ Ms O’Shanassy said.
‘If the Labor Cabinet feels how powerful the groundswell of public support is, how well organised we are, how determined you are — they will feel the courage and confidence to make the right decision. And once bipartisan political support for the mine is gone, Adani is in big trouble.’
The ACF urged members to email or call the federal Labor cabinet.
‘We have 24 hours. Will you email https://www.acf.org.au/email_labor_cabinet?utm_campaign=1801_emergadan1&utm_medium=email&utm_source=auscon or call the Labor Cabinet and encourage them to make a clear public statement that they oppose this dangerous mine?
‘I know our campaigns director, Paul Sinclair emailed you just hours ago asking you to call and email your MP to protect charities in our democracy. That’s still an important thing to do, but this is even more urgent as we now know the next 24 hours is critical for Labor’s position on Adani.
‘The incredible Stop Adani community has worked so hard for so long and achieved some massive wins.
‘Together, we’ve built a movement of hundreds of thousands of impassioned people. We’ve stopped 28 banks from funding the project. We’ve pressured Premier Palaszczuk to veto the billion dollar NAIF loan. Federal Labor noticed.
‘Now let’s shift the politics for good.The power of the people is enormous. Let’s create change in the next 24 hours,’ Ms O’Shanassy said.