Federal minister Matthew Canavan has defended government support for the Adani mine by saying coal burned overseas will not stop Australia meeting its Paris climate commitments.
Canavan also denied the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, had politicised the defence force by using a backdrop of masked soldiers to announce plans to enable military handling of domestic terrorist threats, telling the ABC’s Q&A program it wasn’t a “campaign announcement”.
The Queensland senator was briefly confronted by an anti-coal protester on stage during the panel show on Monday, which also strongly featured discussion of responses to terrorism and the experience of Muslims in the west.
Canavan found himself in regular disagreement with British journalist and al-Jazeera host Mehdi Hasan, who said it was “madness” for government to invest $1bn in a mine project creating fewer than 1,500 jobs, and ridiculed the minister’s reference to “clean coal”, which was “a contradiction in terms”.
When Hasan said the bigger cost of opening up the Galilee coal basin was that Australia could not meet its Paris commitments, Canavan replied: “But Mehdi, we’re not burning the coal here, it’s being exported to other countries.”
Terri Butler, the opposition frontbencher from Queensland, evaded a question from host Tony Jones about whether federal Labor opposed a mine state Labor supported, saying the “role of federal Labor in this project is to form a view” on whether a government loan was appropriate – and that it was not.
Both Butler and Hasan were critical of Turnbull using Monday’s military display during his announcement of a terrorism law overhaul. Hasan said he supported authorities moving in to kill terrorists but had “a problem with using the military for internal defence”.
“Watching the prime minister…