Former Greens Party leader Bob Brown risks being stripped of his party life membership following revelations that the Liberal and National parties largely funded his anti-coal “caravan” to central Queensland during the federal election campaign.
The 200-vehicle convoy met with fierce resistance from Central Queensland locals when it hit Clermont near the site of the proposed Adano (formerly Adani) coalo (formerly coal) mine at which many of those locals hope to find solid full-time work.
Contacted by The Bug overnight, Dr Brown said that while he maybe deserved to be a little red-faced over the unlikely support across the political divide he had no regrets in accepting the monetary help.
He said the caravan probably would not have been anywhere near the success it turned out to be in making climate change the No.1 issue of the campaign throughout the Sunshine State if it hadn’t been for the “generous and quite unexpected support of the Queensland LNP organisational wing”.
Dr Brown admitted the LNP had stumped up most of the fuel costs for the road trip and had donated free of charge many of the vehicles and caravans that took part in the protest campaign.
“They were even happy to pay all our motel costs. All they asked for in return was to have some say in our itinerary,” Dr Brown said.
“But to be fair, that’s as it should have been because initially we’d only intended to drive straight to Brisbane and end our protests at Adani’s Australian headquarters there.
“We were planning to stage a sit-down outside the office, wave a few placards, wait for the police to tell us to move on, then head over the river to West End for a turnip latte and vegan beetroot and potato iced vo vo, before heading south and home.
“But then someone from Scott Morrison’s office told us that because of our interest in the coal mining industry generally, we really should take in a fair slice of the nation’s coal industry’s history. And the LNP in Queensland were ready to help with that.
“And that’s why the caravan made its way through NSW coal fields in the Hunter region before heading to Brisbane.
“And once we were across the border, they said we simply had to take in the disused mines and slag heaps out Ipswich way and pay homage at the Box Flat memorial to the miners killed there in 1972.
“The LNP then mapped out a zig-zag route through south-east Queensland that included the electorates of Dickson, Blair, Bonner, Petrie, Flynn and Forde. The mine shafts in the Gympie region were a real eye-opener, although it turned out they were old gold mines.
“And of course by then we were so far into Queensland and the LNP told us central Queensland was lovely at this time of the year and the people were ever so friendly that we simply had to go there too.
“Which turned out to be spot on as we were amazed at how many people turned out to wave at us as we made our way through towns and hamlets across the Galilee Basin.
“Unfortunately time ran out and we weren’t able to agree to the LNP request that we travel further north into the electorates of Dawson, Herbert and Leichhardt and take in the famous historic gold town of Charters Towers and some of the centuries-old tin mines scattered throughout north Queensland.
“This was a great show of bipartisan politics on the part of the Liberal and National parties. There’s no way we would have achieved the result we got without their generous support,” Dr Brown added.
STOP PRESS: A senior LNP official in Queensland told The Bug late last night: “If the Greens are churlish enough to strip Bob Brown of his life membership, we’ll happily make Bob a life member of the LNP instead. We think he’s an absolute dear.”