Mining captures politics. Governments change, but the politics and administrative procedures surrounding mining and resource developments don't.
That's the smoking gun claim by the author of a controversial new book just distributed to every Queensland State Parliamentarian.
While focussing on the Sunshine State, Road to Exploitation by Alec Lucke, has a broader message for all resource-rich states and territories, as well as the newly elected Coalition Federal Government.
Shock findings of the ICAC mining inquiry, which recommended criminal charges against former NSW Labor ministers Eddie Obede and Ian Macdonald, probably contributed to Labor's decisive defeat. But that could be the tip of an iceberg of shady deals transcending state borders.
Disgraced former Queensland Labor Minister Gordon Nuttall is currently serving two seven year sentences after losing an appeal following his conviction on a total 36 counts of receiving secret commissions worth almost $360,000 from coal mining executives Harold Shand and the late Ken Talbot between 2002 and 2005. But was he a scapegoat, as he claimed?
Earlier this year, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman supported calls by Lock the Gate Alliance's Drew Hutton for a Crime and Misconduct Commission investigation into serious allegations by former public servants that they had been pressured by the former Bligh administration to approve environmental impact statements for two massive coal seam gas projects in the Surat Basin without adequate time to study the implications.
Where there's smoke, there's usually fire, and Lucke has gone a step further by calling for a Royal Commission into "political capture by mining".
Road to Exploitation follows years of pains-taking researchby the long-term environmental activist and former Mt Larcom farmer. The rural community is on the outskirts of the expanding industrial hub of Gladstone, home to more than $100 billion in new resource projects. These include a new coal terminal project on Wiggins Island, three liquified natural gas plants under construction on Curtis Island and a fourth just approved by the Newman State Government.
The book, encompassing administrative procedures from the Bjelke-Petersen era through to today, is being distributed in parliament by Gladstone Independent, Liz Cunningham.
It has already penetrated some international markets and Lucke wants each of the 89 State MP's to read it.
He says an examination of the judicial structure and restoration of a properly constituted Upper House in Queensland is also needed, to restore political accountability.
"The distribution of Road to Exploitation to Queensland parliamentarians is my personal contribution to this debate," Lucke says.
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