Katter MP if you take away coal, you bankrupt this country.

Hon Bob Katter MP

(Member for Kennedy): I agree with my colleague on the necessity to restrain the exponential growth in CO2. I do not agree with my colleague on abolishing coal. If my honourable colleague seriously thinks this country can do without coal, well, let me point out that we have only three exports: iron ore, coal and gas. We gave the gas away, so we get nothing at all out of it. All these things are worth over a hundred billion dollars. The next things down the list are maybe gold, cattle and aluminium, worth about $15 billion—they were the last time I looked, anyway. So we've got the big three and nothing else. This House gave away one of them for nothing. It gave all the gas away for 6c a unit. We're now buying our own gas back for $49 a unit. I speak with authority because I was the Minister for Mines and Energy in what was then the biggest mining state in Australia—Queensland.

Mr Speaker, if you take away coal, you bankrupt this country. Start picking out the hospitals that you're going to close—just pick them out—because there's no money. Already in Queensland, because they've got no money, they've closed, for the first time in 110 years, outpatient services. That's in Queensland, where we were opening up coal mines again and again.

There's a second issue here. Von Clausewitz, in the best book on warfare ever written, said that if goods do not cross borders then guns will. If you think a tiny little country of 24 million people, which happens to be Anglo and European, in the middle of Asia is going to tell China and India that they can't have any coal, well, mate, you're asking for trouble—big trouble. And you mustn't have read many history books—I can tell you that!

In a concession to your point of view: surely, if you're going to let the coal go, you say that all of the stations have to be heli-stations, which halves the amount of coal? Surely you get off your backside and make sure your coal-fired power stations in Australia are converted over? You have to do this—and I'm not being patriotic here—in North Queensland because we've got all the water. I bless the new Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, because she told me the name of the algae that's used. Michael Kelly, who was a prominent minister in this place, was advocating the use of algae some considerable time ago. If you've got a huge area of land and a lot of water, you can take all of the emissions from a coal-fired power station and turn them into a profitable product. So let's not believe that coal is the great evil, when in fact you can convert that coal into food through algae. A great advocate for the environment and dealing with climate change is no less a person than the minister, and the great advocates are now looking at where the answers are. But to cripple Australia and bankrupt Australia is not the answer. And to provoke a fight with China and India is just the act of an imbecile, quite frankly.

Attribution Parliament of Australia

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