Australia has, throughout our history, been subjected to invasive species. Rabbits, cane toads, prickly pear and Indian mynah birds are just some that come to mind.
Some were brought in to combat resident pests. I believe it was the CSIRO, that respected scientific body that envisaged cane toads would be of value in Australia. Well, we know how that turned out…
Now another kind of invasive species is on the mainland and on the march, headed north toward Queensland, led by an aged but still active member of the species. Bob Brown, the former Greens leader will lead a convoy up the eastern seaboard towards the object, not of their veneration, as in famous pilgrimages of the past, but rather of their detestation, the Adani mine.
It goes without saying that most Queenslanders, at least those who currently earn a living from the minerals industry and those who hope to gain one from the mine’s opening will resent and abhor this provocation. Even more interesting is the question of how so many people – in vehicles, presumably not all electricity fuelled and very likely instead to be running on petrol or even diesel – will join the journey to their destination.
One caller to Radio National’s Fran Kelly this morning asked why St Bob wasn’t walking to north Queensland, instead of driving up in all those carbon-emitting cars.
Yes indeed, a quandary, and since Queenslanders have never taken kindly to the invasion of the southern homo sapiens (though in case, one must question the thought behind Dr Brown’s sapiens, embarking upon this quixotic journey over four Australian states).
LNP parliamentarian Michelle Landry, the Member for the coal belt seat of Capricornia, also speaking on RN, defended the right of Queenslanders to take up new jobs when the mine opened. Far north Queensland has been hit hard by the drying up of work, not just for the workers in the mining sector, but those who depended on them spending money – when they have it. Drought and flood haven’t helped thing either.
So while ageing environmentalist campaigners like Bob Brown may see this as one last glorious crusade; many Queenslanders see it as the coming of yet another unwelcome invasive species.
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