PShift: The Story of Coal – beauty and the beast

Anna came to this country and now she is left alone
Her man had so much sickness he left some in their home
It was just for a while until they got on their feet 
but the mine was a life sentence
It was them they sentenced me
             —Phil Monsour "Wittonoom"

Interviews with Clive Palmer & Drew Hutton
[Editor’s note: This show was broadcast on 4ZZZ fm 102.1 on 7 Dec 2012. Katherine’s interviews below with Clive Palmer and Drew Hutton are a work of fiction. Clive Palmer was played by Danny and Drew Hutton by myself.]

The Story of Coal: The Beast.
[Interview by Katherine,  Zedlines reporter, Friday 7 Dec 2012, recorded at 4ZZZ studios. Thnx to Danny for his help.]

PShift interview with Clive Palmer
Friday 7 December 2012 4ZZZ studios, Brisbane

Katherine: Mr Palmer you are described in the mainstream media as a mining magnate, yet you do not own any mines?Mine in South Wales -PitbrowMine in South Wales -Pitbrow

Clive Palmer: I put my money where mine mouths begin.

Katherine: You may as well mine asteroids if you can’t get the coal to the sea. Your China First project has established a rail corridor and yet has no agreement with the LNP Governmentto to use Abbott point coal terminal for export.

Clive Palmer: That is not my doing, the LNP government has reneged on its promises and given the rail line and port facilities to Gina Reinhardt.

Katherine: Mr Palmer, I couldn’t help but notice you were speaking with two LNP defectors, Douglas and Judge, at lunch in the parliamentary annex last Thursday.  Do you have any comment or announcement to make at this time?

Clive Palmer: I am no longer a member of the LNP, nor are Alex Douglas, who is the member for Gavan or Carl Judge who is the member for Yeerongpilly – we have plenty to talk about.

Katherine: Weren’t Mr Judge and Dr Douglas both originally members of the Liberal Party, like yourself.

Clive Palmer: Precisely – the LNP is a creature of convenience and no longer represents the people who elected many of its MPs into parliament.

Katherine: But Mr Palmer, you were a member of the LNP before you resigned.

Clive Palmer: Yes, I joined the LNP, but ever since my days at University of Qld I was a Liberal.

Katherine: Mr Palmer, you’re saying that the LNP has lost its identity?

Clive Palmer: The Liberal Party was always a more tolerant, and the road to wigan pierdare I say, a more ecumenical party.

Katherine: But Mr Palmer, the Liberal Party only held 3 seats after the 2001 election – it did not even have official party status in the parliament.

Clive Palmer: The Liberal Party was always overshadowed by the National Party in Queensland; don’t forget the National Party held power in its own right in the 1980s until it became tainted with corruption from the Fitzgerald inquiry. The current LNP government is much worse than anything that was around the time of Fitzgerald.

Katherine: Mr Palmer, are you going to finance a new political party in Queensland?

Clive Palmer:  I would say in relation to your question, the environment that is being created is nepotism, is the way of the world, who you know, employing your relations into ministerial positions, that kind of thing that the LNP government is doing.

Katherine: Have you asked Dr Douglas and Mr Judge to help form a new political party?

Clive Palmer:   Carl Judge is in no fit state to be talking about new political parties, he has just had a serious motor vehicle accident involving a possum.

Katherine: Was it a hit and run?

Clive Palmer:  Now, now young lady, if you want an interview you are going to have to be more civil with your questions.

Katherine: Mr Palmer, your adversary in the LNP, Premier Campbell Newman knocked back an attempt by your company, Waratah Coal to build a railway in the Galilee Basin. Isn’t this just sour grapes because Gina Reinhardt won that tender?

Clive Palmer: Waratah Coal will take legal action against Caesar, I mean Newman, over the Galilee project.

Katherine: But legal action will not win the Galilee Basin rail project, only political power can gain that.

Clive Palmer: Firstly, I have never lost a legal action against government. Secondly I am in discussions across the board about forming a new political party and will be making an announcement about that on Monday, 10th of December.

Katherine: Is your split with Campbell Newman based on commercial grounds or does it go deeper, is there an ideological difference?

Clive Palmer: It is both, we need greater flexibility and we need to recognise the hunger for coal to our north.

Katherine: As you are aware, Mr Palmer, Bjelke-Petersen obtained funds from mining companies like Comalco, MIM Holdings, and Rio Tinto to wage elections, is Waratah Coal going to put up the funds for a new political party to fight the next elections?

Clive Palmer: Discussions are underway for us to form a United Australia Party, but it is early days yet.

Katherine: With people like Judge and Douglas, didn’t they resign from the LNP because they will lose their seats at the next election anyway because of the natural swing against the LNP after its landslide win last time?

Clive Palmer: We want to give voters an alternative to both Labor and the Nationals.

Katherine: Don’t you mean the LNP, Mr Palmer?

Clive Palmer: Who is the real power in the LNP, Campbell Newman who wasn’t even a member of parliament a year ago or Jeff Seeney from the Nationals?

Katherine: Campbell Newman won the biggest landslide election in Australian political history.

Clive Palmer: Yeah, but he did it on the back of the Nationals and the failure of the Labor Party. People will soon realise that it is Jeff Seeney who holds the real power; they will dump Campbell Newman sooner or later. He is an electoral liability.

Katherine: isn’t the field getting a bit crowded on the conservative side of politics? There’s Bob Katter, the LNP and now your party.

Clive Palmer: It is not a matter of Conservative or Labor anymore, it is about true free enterprise – Bob Katter is a troglodyte and Seeney is a hopeless nincompoop, when it comes to job creation and sorting out the economy of we need a new political force in Queensland.

Katherine: Bob Katter opposes Coles and Woolworths, what is your position on multinationals

Clive Palmer: My company, Waratah Coal, is a multinational.

Katherine: Won’t that make you unpopular with the electorate?

Clive Palmer: I’m running against the Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, at the next Federal Election. Whether I shop at Woolies or Coles won’t come into it.

Katherine: Queensland has a history of landslides in the Federal elections, they either vote overwhelmingly for Labor or Liberal – won’t your running be a sideshow?

Clive Palmer: I am a big believer in sideshow politics, its more fun, and you will find more people at sideshow alley during the Ekka than in the main ring.

Katherine: Speaking of which, at the last state election you said that the Greens were funded by the CIA, and Drew Hutton is suing you for defamation, how do you see your chances of winning that case?

Clive Palmer: As I said, I don’t lose court cases.

Katherine: Assuming for a moment that is true, why is that?

Clive Palmer: The judges can see a winner especially when you’re lined up against looney tunes like the ‘Lock-the Gate-mob’. They are law breakers, Drew Hutton taught my kids at the Grammar School but he makes no secret that he is breaking the law.

Katherine: I wouldn’t have thought being a serial protestor would qualify Hutton to be on the payroll of the CIA.

Clive Palmer: I have already explained why I made those remarks.

Katherine: Perhaps coal is too precious to burn? Why not keep it in the ground? Why not wait until science provides us with better uses for coal like carbon fibre, why burn it up now, why not wait?

Clive Palmer: I live in the present young lady – the Chinese want our coal and we can make a lot of money and provide jobs in the process.

Katherine: But China is moving to sustainable energy like solar power?

Clive Palmer: Without coal, China would not be the power house economy it is today – for example they would never have won the Beijing Olympics without that coal fired industrial success of theirs.

Katherine: Beijing was so polluted they had to shut down half that industry so that the athletes could compete?

Clive Palmer: The leadership in China showed their common sense and could afford to do so because of their coal economy.

Katherine: But the Communist Party of China is a totalitarian regime that shoots dissidents in Tiananmen square in Beijing?

Clive Palmer: But you have to admire their strength in shutting down half the economy to show the world that great sporting event – I was there in the VIP boxes during the 2008 Olympics, it was great!

Katherine:  I think we’ll leave it there.


PShift interview with Drew Hutton
[Interview by Katherine,  Zedlines reporter, Friday 7 Dec 2012, recorded at 4ZZZ studios.]

Katherine: Please introduce yourself.

Drew Hutton: My name is Drew Hutton; I am a long time environmental campaigner and represent Friends of the Earth in the CSG campaign. Bjelke-Petersen once referred to me as a ‘friend of the dirt’ and I wear that label as a badge of honour.

Katherine: Clive Palmer. Mining magnate said that you are funded by the CIA. Is this true?

Drew Hutton: Not only is it not true, I am suing Clive Palmer for defamation.

Katherine: Clive Palmer says that he never loses a court case.

Drew Hutton: He’ll lose this one and I will use the money to fight the campaign against Coal Seam Gas. I taught his children at the Grammar school and so Clive knows what he said in untrue. Is it likely that he would want his kids taught by a school master who is moonlighting as a CIA agent?

Katherine: Is there anything beautiful about coal?

Drew Hutton: Coal is a useful mineral that can be used in carbon fibre and should not be burned to produced greenhouse gases.

Katherine: What is the beast in coal?

Drew Hutton:  Climate Science has shown that the burning of coal and fossil fuels produce gases that increase the temperature of the earth and cause polar ice caps to melt and seas to rise. Coal Seam Gas is a little better than coal but still causes deterioration to our environment not to mention the loss of farmland for growing food.

Katherine: Why are the lights of Brisbane left on at night?

Drew Hutton: Two main reasons. Firstly because electricity is cheap and does not reflect the true environmental cost and secondly because the city is used to use excess base load power. What this means is that there is a constant supply of power from coal fired power stations and this needs to be utilised so they leave the lights on at night. Both government and private enterprise are conspiring to over-consume electricity and this is not just a waste but adds to our greenhouse gases.

Katherine: What is the answer to base load power being supplied by coal fired power statioions?

Drew Hutton:  We should use sustainable sources of energy like solar power. This can be done even at night by using parabolic mirrors to heat up salts, make them molten and then use this heat at night to produce steam to drive turbines in much the same way that steam drives turbines in coal fired power stations, only with solar you are not burning coal you are using the power of the sun.

Katherine:  Are we on the edge of darkness in Queensland?

Drew Hutton:  In a sense we are, because climate change produces extreme weather events like Cyclone Yasi last year and these cause flooding in the coalfields and over the rail lines that supply the coal to the power stations.

This was not so much a problem with Cyclone Yasi because the power stations like the Gladstone power station had two weeks spare supply of coal when the trains were cut off. However if we had two cyclone together one after the other the coal mines would fill up and even if the rail lines were cleared they would not be able to dig up the coal because of the flooded mines. I asked one of the Director-General of Mines department about this and he told me that it took months to pump the water out of the coal mines after Cyclone Yasi went through.

All we need is another extreme weather event and we would run out of coal. As a result of this the Gladstone Power station has doubled it reserves of coal to 4 wekas supply but that won’t help if after the month is up they can’t access the coal in the mines because of the flooding. Just wait till next year and see what happens.

Ian Curr
PShift on Fridays at noon 4ZZZ fm 102.1

Next week (14 Dec 2012 12 noon 4ZZZ fm102.1: The Story of Coal: the edge of darkness

“The Periodic Table” by Primo Levi
“The Road to Wigan” Pier by George Orwell
“Germinal” by Emile Zola
Pludo “Frenemies –
Phil Monsour “Spirit” –

[Editor’s Note: Readers should be aware the interviews with Clive Palmer and Drew Hutton are a fiction.]

2 thoughts on “PShift: The Story of Coal – beauty and the beast

  1. “But the Communist Party of China is a totalitarian regime that shoots dissidents in Tiananmen square in Beijing?”

    Total rubbish 4ZZZ, that “totalitarian regime” stuff reminds me of the cold war anti-communist fanatic newspeak. What a pity the CPA let slip control of their premises to a bunch of right wing drop outs.

  2. Hello JC,

    Thnx for your comment. I have some sympathy for the view you express. However, having volunteered at 4ZZZ for two years now, I think you are being a little harsh in your judgement of Zed. Mind you I have been guilty of the same thing.

    Please note that the interviews with Clive Palmer and Drew Hutton are a work of fiction … I made them up. The station should not be held responsible for satire, especially my crappy attempts at it.

    BTW, the question you refer to is a cliche. My intention was to draw out Palmer’s cynicism and opportunism when he says: “But you have to admire their strength in shutting down half the economy to show the world that great sporting event – I was there in the VIP boxes during the 2008 Olympics, it was great!”

    It is hard to conceive of ‘4ZZZ’ having an opinion at all. It is, after all, a radio station – if you mean the volunteers who make it up .. they probably don’t have a view on the Communist Party of China at all except to wonder why the walls of the station are adorned with stencils of Mao – a throwback to our past.

    If you are interested, I have written a short history of how “291” (the CPA building) came into the hands of 4ZZZ at

    Ian Curr

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