A few people have asked where I stand on the Adani mine. Again, I am opposed to it many grounds and have been vocal in my opposition.

You can:

  • Read my letter to the Premier of Queensland for 30 March 2017) (LINK)
  • Read a motion passed by the Bellinger River Branch (LINK)
  • See the statement from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition below on my position on the Adani mine where I am labelled a “Champ” because of my stance.

Here are several transcripts from Labor’s decision makers, Mark Butler, Tony Burke and Andrew Leigh, indicating that Labor will deal with the problems associated with the project when it gets into government.


Of any specific issue in the public arena, I get asked a lot of questions about Adani. Unfortunately, no one – Labor, Liberals, Nationals, Greens or an Independent can “Stop Adani”.

We have to work through the law, and we are committed to doing that. We don’t think any of the proposals for the Galilee Basin stack up environmentally, socially or economically.

That said, they complied with the approvals given under the Campbell Newman State LNP Government, and we have to deal with those legal approvals without exposing the Australian taxpayer to tens of bills of dollars in compensation to Adani and others.

Should we get into government we will deal with the matter and review all previous approvals, any new information and any further requests for approval that come before us. And we will put in place laws so that we never end up in this position again.

Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Climate Change; Shadow Minister for Energy

“I do not support opening new mines in the Galilee Basin” (Click to watch)

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Australian Youth Climate Coalition



Tony Burke, Shadow Environment Minister

Sky News, 11 December 2016

GILBERTThere’s going to be another tricky issue for the leader to manage over the ALP conference and that is the Adani mine, the Carmichael mine. There will be an anti-Adani push at the ALP conference from some of your fellow members of the party. Those in Queensland have a different view; they think it is something that needs to be supported. Where will you stand on that?

BURKEAs you know I’m deeply sceptical of the project but I have fiercely resisted anyone saying as Labor policy we should have a policy to stop Adani and I’ll explain exactly why that has always been my view. I’m sorry to give you a quick bit of environmental legal history but I’ll get through this as quickly as I can. In the 2004 election campaign the Howard Government promised to make a decision under environmental law to stop a wind farm in Victoria. That decision got overturned in the Courts on the basis that the Minister had prejudged it because they took an election commitment into account. Since that time it has been clear to anyone who has to hold the environment portfolio, if you make a commitment that you will stop a project then by law you cannot stop it. The only commitment you can make is to apply environmental law and to make your decision based on the brief when it comes to you. If we were to do what some of the stop Adani campaign are demanding it would be a gift to the Adani Company. Some of the environmental leadership know this and they push it anyway but the reality is that there are problems with the project in terms of the behaviour of the company, in terms of things that should have been checked in the water trigger that the Government has not applied the water trigger, breaches of environmental law with coal laden water being dumped which haven’t been investigated federally. There are a series of problems with this project but the only commitment I will make, and I will fiercely resist conference pushing through anything else, is that we will apply Australian environmental law; something this Government has been pretty lax at doing so.


Andrew Leigh, Shadow Assistant Treasurer

Radio 2CC Canberra, 1 November 2018

SHAW: Thank you, good feedback. Finally the 48th federal Labor Conference is big, 16th to 18th of December. Will Labor we saying yes or no to Adani?

LEIGH: The Adani project depends primarily on state environmental approvals. I don’t think it’s stacked up so far environmentally or economically. We’ve seen a drop off in coal demand globally, indeed India is demanding less coal right now. Labor has said that we didn’t want to give it federal cash, at the time the Coalition wanted to swing one billion dollars of taxpayer money to an Indian coal billionaire. We’ll be scrutinising it rigorously, but it is important for those holding those anti-Adani placards to remember that the Environment Minister is the decision maker under the Act. If Tony Burke, the Shadow Environment Minister, were to come out today and say he’ll oppose Adani under any circumstances, he’d basically be opening up the federal government to a large compensation claim from Adani. He needs to scrutinise the Adani proposal according to the Act, and I’m sure he’ll do that if we’re elected.


Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Climate Change

Sky News, 18 July 2018

CONNELL: And yet, overseas, it might be a different matter because the Adani Carmichael coal mine reports they are inching closer to getting funding for the railway section of this and clearing another hurdle. What exactly would your approach be here if you got into government?

BUTLER: Well my approach at the moment would be not to hold my breath. I mean, if I had a dollar for every front page where Adani said they had finance for this new coal mine I’d be a very, very rich man, Tom. Frankly, I’ll believe it when I see it because the fundamentals of the global thermal coal market in a structural sense have not changed over the last few years. Indeed, the fundamentals of the Indian thermal coal industry, particularly their intention as a government to phase out thermal coal imports hasn’t changed either. So I think the views that I have expressed about this project now for a couple of years remain my views in spite of, I guess, just the latest front page where Adani says ‘nothing to see here, it’s all going fine.’

CONNELL: Look, it is a fair enough comment on the front pages but just on the approach, Labor is still open is it to using whatever power it would have, theoretically, if you win office to try to halt the project. Is that the strength of feeling?

BUTLER: I’m not going to get into hypotheticals about where this project might or might not be when we win government.  My view about this has been-

CONNELL: But this is simply about if you win government and what you might do. It is not too many steps.

BUTLER: Honestly, we will deal with those circumstances if and when they arise according to the law and according to the facts on the ground if you like, Tom. But my view about this project has been clear for some time. I don’t think it stacks up, I don’t think it is in the national interest, particularly given the impact it would have on existing operating mines, particularly in the Hunter Valley.  As to what happens in the future, we will deal with that if and when that arises.


Tony Burke, Shadow Minister for the Environment.

RN Drive, 1 May 2018

KARVELAS: It’s interesting all the things you’ve just listed. There’s one gaping omission in my analysis Tony Burke and that is you haven’t mentioned the Adani coal mine. If you listen to the Australian Conservation Foundation and Geoff Cousins who I actually interviewed on National Wrap that you’d been on, in fact, I’ll invite you again. He actually came on the program and mentioned the Adani coal mine and was critical of the reef package on the basis of the Government’s strategy on climate change but also Adani. Now Labor has had a kind of flip-flop approach to Adani too. You’re not mentioning it and you’re not opposing it.

BURKE: The Adani mine has become emblematic of action on climate change…

KARVELAS: But do you see it as destructive to the reef?

BURKE: I think it adds to the problems. It adds to the problems. There’s no doubt about that. If we win Government I’ll be the person in charge if there are any remaining approvals. And so I certainly can’t in this interview now prejudge the decision that I might have to make in Government. But what I can say is the more I’ve looked at this project the more sceptical I’ve become about it. I remain deeply concerned. Now, this is not a specific issue on reef health. The reports that came out some months ago into the dumping of coal-laden water into the Caley Valley wetlands where there is federal responsibility for those wetlands and the Environment Minister’s response was ‘oh that’s just a matter for Queensland’. I can’t for the life of me see how that’s a way that the responsibilities of the Federal Environment Minister are properly being acquitted. So yes I do have deep concerns about the Adani mine.

What I’m really careful to do though, just as it is an exaggeration to look at Josh Frydenberg’s package and say that fixes everything, it’s also an exaggeration to claim if we stop Adani then we have fixed everything for the reef because it is one of the projects that adds to the pressures. And the reason I avoid benching it I guess is twofold.

In the first instance, I may end up being the decision maker over it and I can’t prejudge it. If I do any decision I make would be thrown out in court. The second thing though with Adani is I do believe we shouldn’t fall into the trap of believing if we stop that project then the reef has been properly protected because the list of things that need to be done goes way beyond Adani.

Updated: 12 December 2018

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