Q&A questions what we all wanted to make sense of 195



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Last night, Q&A was back on its A-game with an interesting panel and equally interesting conversation. And, for the first time in what seems like weeks, the ABC program has questioned something we all wanted to make sense of – the Shenhua open-cut mine planned for NSW.

In a panel line-up that was almost bound to have some controversy, but Jacqui Lambie and Alan Jones seemed to be on the same page, at least when it came to the baffling decision to put a mine on agricultural land.

“What idiot would put a coal mine either on or near prime agricultural land?”, was the question Alan Jones proposed last night, and it was followed by discussion of wind farms, politician allowances and tax reform – it was hard to keep track of all the figures being thrown about!

Independent senator Jacqui Lambie brought out numbers of her own on the debate over wind farms. She seemed to have some figures incorrect because the Twitter feed exploded when she detailed just how much agricultural land we have in Australia. She said, “Only 3.4 per cent of Australia is prime agricultural land. What idiot would put a coal mine either on or near prime agricultural land? Who would take that risk when prime agricultural land is only 3.6 per cent of Australia’s mass?”

Former federal Nationals Cabinet Minister Tim Fischer defended the move and clarified the numbers, reasoning, “The mining area covered in the Federal electorate of New England is 0.1 per cent. In the Hunter Valley, it is 1 per cent, thus the average for the State of NSW, including our prime agricultural land occupied by mining? 0.1 per cent”.

Perhaps the most interesting of the questioning and answering came from Jones when he half-defended the actions of House Speaker Bronwyn Bishop, and the controversy surrounding her lavish spending.

He said that Labor frontbencher Tony Burke and other speakers of the house have had their own field days with the Government’s money, however he did say “the notion of going from Tullamarine to Geelong in a helicopter is bloody ridiculous”.

“I think in all of these things, politicians are hopeless at explaining – sorry, Mark, but hopeless at explaining – the GST in many ways,” Jones told Shadow Minister for Environment Mark Butler.

After a big night of some serious stats and talking, Senator Lambie asked the very question that had us all on our seats: “are you an angel, or a bad boy?”

“Could be both”, Jones said. There you have it folks!


Tell us, were you happier with Q&A last night? Do you think the right debate was brought up? What are your views on the Shenhua coal mine?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. No cosl no jobs

    2 REPLY
    • Do you realise that mining has the highest unemployment figures of any industry in Australia, in fact, double that of the next highest. In all it’s an industry that sends the majority of there profits to overseas accounts, resulting in billions annually due to bad management by consecutive governments over the decades

  2. Place any group of reasonably intelligent people together…. Talk about subjects that are current, controversial and that Australians care about….. and you will always have a recipe for good entertainment. Unfortunately the more intelligent the panel the more embarrassing the obvious shortcomings of the arrogant right wing mindset will become.

  3. No – haven’t watched Q&A for a LONG time even though I watch some ABC programs – also veto 7:30

  4. Coal or a food bowl? Seems pretty straightforward to me, but I am not a greedy politician or part of a multi national corporation. I would be happy to see food growing under wind turbines rather than a black hole in the ground with nothing to show for it but contaminated water . Greed is the scourge of the World.

    1 REPLY
  5. I watched it and must say I was entertained by both Senator Lambie and Alan Jones ( that is a first for me). Both said correctly that the Nationals have sold out the bush and farmers. The demand for coal is dying , the world is changing with Global warming countries are looking at other means of fuel , like renewable energy. Why destroy valuable farming land and risk our water supply for a coal? it makes no sense

    1 REPLY
    • Because Leanna Abbott sold his soul to become PM and now it’s payback time. His masters are calling the tune and he has to support Coal. Murdoch and Gina are very demanding. They don’t care about Australia especially Abbott as he’s still a duel citizen and his allegiance is to the mother country.

  6. Against all the way to the bank……we need our own farming, renewable energy not a dirty filthy coal mine that will ruin the air and the soil for miles around for many, many years…..time for a change!!!!

    1 REPLY
  7. Yes! Sharp shooting Jackie, was shooting straight from the hip last night! “Is Alan an Angel or a bad boy?”Lol there she was, straight for the jugular! The other thing she asked was,”I’d like to know how much money has passed hands”. That’s actually at the heart of all this,Jackie, and I’m sure we’d all like to know! This is Eco terrorism at its worst,and those poor farmers deserve the support of everyone to protect these fertile foodlands.

    1 REPLY
    • You will have to ask Obeid and McDonald that one as they along with the help of Tony Burke issued the licence – and then Burke enjoyed the spoils of the Obeid generosity from the mining sector by holidaying at the ski resort built with some of the ill gotten gains –

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