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Turnbull attacks Shorten's big red bus tour of Queensland

Bill Shorten’s bus at Townsville Port. Malcolm Turnbull says his ‘big talk’ about jobs is baseless. Picture: Evan Morgan
Bill Shorten’s bus at Townsville Port. Malcolm Turnbull says his ‘big talk’ about jobs is baseless. Picture: Evan Morgan

MALCOLM Turnbull has unleashed an attack on Bill Shorten's tour of Queensland, labelling it "disingenuous show business" because he won't stand up for mining jobs.

The Prime Minister, in India discussing coal exports and energy security, took aim at the Labor leader for "walking both sides of the fence" over contentious Adani mine.

The Opposition says its support for the $16.5 billion Carmichael mine in central Queensland was conditional on it stacking up commercially and environmentally.

Mr Turnbull said if Labor opposed the mine on ideological reasons it would be "for no purpose" and "futile", because India would simply buy its coal from elsewhere.

"He's gone on his bus around Queensland, talking a big game about jobs and when there's the one big project - that we know will add tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of

investment - he walks away from it," Mr Turnbull said,

"He lacks commitment, conviction and character on this. Jobs are important - he says they're import - but what he is doing is undermining a huge opportunity in Queensland."

Mr Turnbull met privately this week with Gautam Adani and senior Adani executives for approximately half an hour last night in New Delhi, during his three-day state visit to India.

He said Mr Shorten needed to decide "whether he's all talk and no action or whether he is really committed to jobs".

"If we stop all of our coal mining today ... India would simply buy more of its coal from Indonesia and South Africa. India has got a growing demand for coal," he said.

"Yes they are moving on renewables in a big way too. but in absolute terms, their demand for coal is going to grow for many years.

"We can either be part of than and provide our cleaner coal to India or we can go down this green, ideological approach that Bill Shorten is playing with to close off those opportunities."

Mr Shorten said today in Queensland that although he was "very keen to see jobs in mining'', federal Labor opposed any loan being given to Adani.

"But I also have to sound this note of caution: we need the Adani project to stack up,'' he said.

"It needs to stack up environmentally, it needs to stack up commercially. I haven't seen the case made for the taxpayer to underwrite a billion-dollar loan … to build a rail line.''

Topics:  bill shorten editors picks malcolm turnbull queensland tour

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