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Queensland union will not back election candidates who do not support coal workers - CFMMEU

Coal News - Published on Wed, 20 Feb 2019

Image Source: The Guardian
The Guardian quoted the mining arm of the Queensland CFMMEU as saying that it will not back candidates in the federal election who do not support a future for central Queensland coal workers. The district president of the CFMMEU Queensland mining and energy division, Mr Stephen Smyth, confirmed to Guardian Australia the union – whose membership lives mainly in the marginal seats of Dawson, Capricornia and Flynn – would assess individual candidates and might not automatically endorse Labor.

Mr Smyth said that “The road to Canberra is paved through central Queensland. We know seats here will be difficult to win. We just want to make sure that if we are going to support a candidate and not the party, we want to make sure they’re supportive of workers.”

The mining division’s stance may be out of step with its parent union. The Queensland CFMMEU would not comment, but Mr Smyth acknowledged the mega-union was a “broad church [with] differing views”.

He said that his job was to represent mine workers. He said an increased reliance by mining companies on casual workers and mechanised processes had hurt workers, as had uncertainty about the future of the industry. Candidates hoping to win an endorsement needed to support workers’ rights, not just coal companies.

He added that “It’s about workers’ rights. It’s quite ironic, people like [Dawson LNP MP] George Christensen, they’ll support mining because they’re pro-business, I get that. But they don’t support the people who work in those operations. They’re asleep at the wheel on workers’ rights. We want to change the government for the whole of the country, for issues like workers’ rights and homelessness. At the same time people shouldn’t lose sight of people who work in industries like ours. We’ll campaign to protect our industry.”

Central Queensland highlights a difficulty for both major parties. Winning seats in regional areas, including where mining companies have successfully portrayed themselves as capable of leading an economic recovery, requires an almost contradictory message to other areas where action on climate change is at the forefront of voters’ minds.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Wed, 20 Feb 2019
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