Climate Change

'Black Coal Matters': Nationals senator slammed for ‘racist’ slogan

Source: Twitter

Nationals Senator Matthew Canavan is facing heavy backlash after posting a photo of a ute with the slogan "Black Coal Matters" emblazoned on the side. Critics say the message is “racist” and belittling of the racial equality movement.

The Federal Queensland Senator posted an image on Monday of a ute being driven by a cardboard cut-out of former Greens Leader Bob Brown, promoting the New Acland Mine in Queensland.

“Bob's back! ... And this time he is on a mission to create 500 jobs at the New Acland Mine. Go Bob!!!,” Mr Canavan wrote on Twitter.

The post drew immediate scrutiny from Australians online.

“This is racist and bigoted, it’s terrible that any elected member of parliament would equate the over-policing and deaths in custody of black body with the need to divest from coal,” one person wrote on Twitter.

“This is white privilege at its worst. To use the abhorrent racism that exists in our country to decimate even more of our indigenous culture for a platform that will further destroy the planet and think it’s a good thing,” another user added.

While First Nations Senator Lidia Thorpe lamented, “And this is what we gotta deal with in this place. Complete disregard and racist behaviour. Here we go.”

The image appeared to ridicule the Black Lives Matter movement, which has led to dozens of protests against the string of killings of African Americans by US police. 

In Australia, thousands attended Black Lives Matter protests across the nation to highlight the high rates of deaths of Indigenous people in police custody.

Mr Canavan told SBS News he does not “pay respect to the Black Lives Matter movement who have organised rallies in defiance of public health orders”.

He also claimed the movement has been “involved in violent protests in the US with Antifa and until recently had on their website as one of their goals to ‘disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure’.”

“I fully support the Central Queenslanders who are rallying to fight for their jobs and communities by freely expressing their views in a free society. Good on them,” he added.

The post comes after the LNP announced the Greens will be preferenced ahead of Labor Queensland’s October 31 election.