ut your hand up if you knew the Nationals Member for New England Barnaby Joyce was going to lose his challenge for the top spot as leader for the Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister this week.
I’m sorry Barnaby, but you went too soon. It maybe a tactic to challenge again but even if you win you still smell bad. Why? The feeling of the people after your exploits over the last couple of years are still fresh and are ‘on the nose’. Now, your personal life I believe is your business however that is not how today’s world works and you should of known better which leads me to believe, like many in politics, you’re caught in the bubble of yours and Canberra’s own self-importance.
And that is what we are sick of. We all know the circus of Australian politics over the last decade with six Prime Ministers and countless coups disrupting our lives and for what? So we can see politicians’ egos on our TV screens or for the better of the community! It’s certainly not the later and for Barnaby to assume he could do better is a joke. I’m again sorry Barnaby and despite that we used to have a beer together when you lived in St George, you did it for you and not the Australian public.
The fall-out? The loss of Matt Canavan who I believed made a good Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia. However Matt, you were also caught up in your own self-importance and forgot what you were there for – the people who work on the land and in the resources sector. You may say that’s who you did it for, but really? Did you really think Barnaby could win? Did you not know where Barnaby currently sits in the public sphere? You stood up for the resources sector at a time when we needed a strong measured voice and one that would not be persuaded by the loud voices of social media. Don’t get me wrong I believe in taking risks however, like Barnaby, you thought about power and not the people you represent.
Now we have Keith Pitt as the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia. Pitt previously served as the Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister but quit in 2018 to demonstrate his opposition to the government committing to reducing emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030. He also was one of only four members of the House of Representatives to oppose the Marriage Amendment that was enacted to legalise same-sex marriage and is described as “one of the government’s most outspoken advocates for nuclear power”.
If anything, Keith Pitt is a politician of conviction but unfortunately, he is also a politician of division when right now we need the public to understand the importance of the resource sector and how it can be balanced with environmental protection. As I’ve written in a past post, the days of confrontation, argument and denial over climate change is over with the devastating fires in NSW, Victoria and South Australia fundamentally changing the debate and cementing public attitudes not only here in Australia, but around the world. I agree with Pitt regarding the use of nuclear power to mitigate against carbon pollution during the transition over to cleaner energy sources however, the environmental debate needs to be measured with respect for community attitudes and not about who has the most powerful voice.
The resource sector is changing and moving towards ‘conscious capitalism’ which leads to what I call ‘conscious ‘communications’ where business must work with their stakeholders and take responsibility for their waste on all levels. Keith Pitt is passionate and is not afraid to speak his mind but in the end, politics should not be about division and power but about negotiation and like what has been shown over the last week, politics is still about power and not about the people and unless he listens to and represents his constituents in a measured way, he will most likely fall blindly into the open mine pit of politics, power and division where the resource sector and Central Queensland will be left behind in the quagmire of self-importance.
• Kieran Moran is the managing director of Resource Industry Media, a consultancy firm specialising in media-driven public relations, marketing, communications, engagement, events and promotional programs for the mining, engineering, manufacturing, construction and services sector.