Defying expectations, incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been re-elected in the Australian federal election held on May 18. The conservative coalition of the Liberal Party and National Party has won the majority with 76 seats, while the Australian Labor Party (ALP) got 65. Queensland emerged as a key battleground in the federal election because of the proposed Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin to be developed by Adani Mining, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Adani Group.
Climate change was considered to be a big ticket issue in Australia’s 2019 federal election. Surveys showed that over 60% of the public was increasingly concerned about environmental health and global warming, and wanted a serious solution.
However, the Labor Party, the side more focused on conservation efforts, did not win the majority. The conservative coalition that backed the Adani coal mine project on the basis of increased employment opportunities did.
Even in India, where the BJP and Congress both addressed environmental conservation in their manifestos, right-wing BJP is likely to win the 2019 Lok Sabha elections on their development and economic growth platform.
Adani’s shares also spiked by 29% after exit polls in India predicted that the Modi-led NDA government would return with a sizeable majority.
Why is the Adani coal mine so controversial?
The Carmichael coal mine project in Queensland funded by Gautam Adani has been a contentious election issue between environmentalists and miners.
The conservatives led by Morrison stressed that the Adani coal mine would increase employment and raise the standard of living in the area’s suburbs. The Labor Party instead crafted a platform of renewable energy and emissions cuts and warned of severe harm to the Great barrier Reef if the project was allowed to run.
The project’s divisiveness filtered down to local authorities in Queensland as well, because Queensland state, controlled by the Labor Party, blocked the government’s federal approval for Adani coal mine’s construction.
Adani Australia CEO Lucas Dow slammed the Labor Party on Twitter after the results.
“Queenslanders have sent a very strong message this Saturday. It’s a strong message that supports jobs in regional Queensland, jobs in the resource sector and the need for governments to get behind people that want to work and want jobs,” said Dow.
He also thanked people who supported Adani’s coal mine project.
Dow added, “It’s now time for the Queensland government to start acting in the best interest of Queenslanders… We’re not embarrassed about what we do. We’re proud of being coal miners, we’re proud of the contribution we make.”
What happens to the Adani coal mine now?
Bloomberg Quint explains that Queensland is home to some of the Labor Party’s stronghold constituencies. Hence, pandits expected the leftists to retain their seats, especially against the background of climate change anxiety.
However, the Coalition shocked all and scored a landslide victory in Queensland by winning 25 out of 30 seats.
Some experts say that the Labor Party did not take a strong enough stance on the Adani coal mine issue and lost out because of its centrist campaign. Others say Bill Shorten, who has resigned as leader of the Labor Party, was not charismatic enough to inspire support.
Now that the conservative coalition has won most of the seats in Queensland, the Adani coal mine project is likely to become a reality in the coming months.
Rhea Arora is a Staff Writer at Qrius.