Cabinet minister Matt Canavan accuses ABC of publishing 'fake news' in bizarre Adani interview
A Turnbull government minister has accused the ABC of running “fake news” in its coverage of the Adani coal mine and treating regional Queensland like “flyover country”.
In a bizarre interview with the broadcaster’s AM radio program on Thursday morning, Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan said the ABC’s coverage of an Indian finance ministry probe into the Adani group was “nothing but fake news”.
Interviewer Kim Landers tried eight times to get Senator Canavan, an ardent supporter of the coal mine, to address the Indian government’s investigation into the company behind the controversial project.
But Senator Canavan instead offered a commentary on the view from his North Queensland house that “makes you thank God that you were born in Queensland”.
He went on to accuse the ABC of treating regional Queensland like “flyover country”.
“It’s unfortunate that the ABC had an unhappy milestone recently with more than 50 per cent of your staff are based in Sydney, maybe that does colour your reporting on issues like this?” Senator Canavan said.
Senator Canavan said there were “no video journalists from Maroochydore to Townsville”.
But ABC journalist Isobel Roe said that was incorrect, pointing out that she was one of at least seven video journalists covering the region.
“There’ll be no ABC video journalists from Maroochydoore to Townsville” says Matt Canavan. There’s actually at least 7. Me included.— Isobel Roe (@isobelroe) December 21, 2016
In November it granted preliminary approval for the subsidy, pending a full assessment.
The enormous coal mine has a controversial history.
It first received federal government approval in 2014 but had to be re-approved after a successful legal challenge on environmental grounds. The mining leases received state government approval in April and was declared “critical infrastructure” in October.
Coal generated at Carmichael will be shipped from Abbot Point to India, where it is expected to generate electricity for up to 100 million people.
Senator Canavan told Landers the ABC had ignored the benefits of the project.
“But none of your listeners or viewers this week on the ABC would get that point of view,” he said.
Adani, a global conglomerate with connections to Singapore and the Cayman Islands, wants to begin work next year.
But Indian authorities are investigating companies in the Adani Group over allegations they siphoned money offshore and artificially inflated power prices at the expense of Indian consumers.
Senator Canavan told Landers he had been “very disappointed in the ABC’s coverage of this issue in the past week”.
He has asked his department for advice about the investigation.
“It’s not unusual, of course, for tax authorities and others to investigate large companies as it (sic) happened in this country with many companies and have involved large settlements with the Australian Taxation Office. But I don’t know the status of these allegations apart from the fact that they remain allegations,” Senator Canavan said.
When asked how the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility could do due diligence on a company with its base in the Cayman Islands, Senator Canavan said his department had advised him that “there’s nothing inconsistent with Adani’s company structure with Australian laws”.
The story Cabinet minister Matt Canavan accuses ABC of publishing ‘fake news’ in bizarre Adani interview first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.