newsCO.com.au | Adani protests ‘could influence undecided voters’ in lead-up to Queensland election

October 30, 2017

@newsCOflash

2017-10-30 19:56:44

Posted

October 31, 2017 06:56:44

As protesters continue to shadow ALP and LNP election campaigns, the Adani coal mine could become a strong influence on urban undecided Queensland voters, a former Liberal Party insider says.

Melbourne communications consultant and former Victorian Liberal Party director John Ridley said the Greens stood to gain the most in Brisbane and the south-east corner, but were less likely to benefit in regional areas.

Adani protesters in north Queensland heckled Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk again yesterday over Labor’s support for the project, after targeting her formal election announcement in Brisbane on Sunday.

In Airlie Beach, Ms Palaszczuk’s security detail confronted a female protester after she engaged briefly with the Premier yesterday morning.

“Everyone in Airlie Beach is against the mine,” the woman said.

But by then the Premier had walked away.

Both Labor and the LNP support Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

How should the major parties deal with protesters?

Mr Ridley said the response to protesters on the campaign trail had to be measured and tolerant.

“It requires a lot of self control and a very well-prepared response which respects the intelligence of the voter,” he said.

He said with so many people disenchanted by politics, a strong protest movement could change minds.

“The level of commitment to the major parties is the lowest it’s ever been, so there’s a much larger group percentage of people who will move to other parties than there has been in the past.

“Political leadership in Australia and unfortunately in other countries is also weaker than it used to be.

“Parties are more inclined to follow more populist trends than they have been in the past, so protest action today, particularly amplified by social media, can have a far greater impact than it has in the past.”

Mr Ridley said city voters were most likely to take the actions of protesters to heart by going Green.

“Because of the demographic of those seats, around Australia the Green vote comes particularly from inner city seats, not from rural seats.

“People in rural electorates understand the trade-offs and are focused more on economic development and the survival and success of their businesses.”

Greens plan strong fight against Labor in South Brisbane

The Greens are focusing much of their efforts on the seat of South Brisbane, believing they have a strong chance of ousting Deputy Premier Jackie Trad.

South Brisbane Greens candidate Amy MacMahon said she was keen to stop the Adani mine.

“While there has been no formal communication with the Adani protesters, we support people’s right to protest, particularly on an issue as important as this, where the government has refused to stand up for Queenslanders,” she said.

“In South Brisbane, we’ve had conversations with lifelong Labor voters who will now be voting for the Greens, because of Adani but also because of unsustainable property development, sky-rocketing electricity prices, and the lack of investment in public infrastructure.”

Adani protest will be hard to win: expert

University of Queensland politics and public policy professor Katharine Gelber said banning protesters would be dangerous and probably illegal.

“Ordinary forms of protest are a bedrock of civil activity in Australia and of political rights,” she said.

“There are of course limits to that, so the destruction of property would be one example.

“There was a significant case a number of years ago in Townsville of a protester who was charged with a public nuisance offence after having made comments about a local police officer.

“That case went all the way to the High Court of Australia, which said that uncivil debate and invective are normal part and parcel of public debate in Australia.”

She said the campaign against Adani would be hard to win because of the level of political support for the mining project.

“I still think there is utility in having the Adani protest.

“Those protesters are trying to change people’s minds … and the view is I guess that if you can change the minds of enough people in the community on whether or not the Adani project should go ahead that that will then bring pressure on to the major parties.”

Topics:

elections,

state-parliament,

minor-parties,

activism-and-lobbying,

mining-environmental-issues,

brisbane-4000,

cairns-4870,

mackay-4740,

rockhampton-4700,

townsville-4810

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