Crikey had a 15 minute discussion on air with ABC Brisbane Morning host
Steve Austin today and we really fired up over this whole question of
retiring politicians taking private sector moolah in their areas of
expertise within weeks or months of leaving office.

Austin was surprised by the scale of our 8-strong list in yesterday’s Crikey, but he really needs to go back and read this list,
which tracks what hundreds of politicians have done since leaving
office. However, it is now getting a little dated, so send any
corrections or new information to [email protected]

On researching what former Queensland Ministers have done before
speaking to Austin, it dawned on Crikey what might explain this extract
from The Latham Diaries:

Friday, July 16, 2004

I followed up in Melbourne yesterday with a co-operative agreement with
the Premiers, sans Beattie, about needs-based school funding and health
system reform, eliminating waste and duplication. We wanted to include
Kyoto in the agreement by setting up a national carbon-trading system,
but Beattie refused to co-operate, so it had to be dropped. He’s
super-sensitive about the coal industry, but it’s crazy in terms of
Queensland’s long-term interests. Global warming is killing the Great
Barrier Reef, the State’s main economic and environmental resource, and
Beattie won’t support Kyoto to do something about it. Now he’s
rough-riding over the Reef, watching it die because of coral bleaching.

So what does the coal industry have over Peter Beattie? Well, former
Goss Government Treasurer Keith de Lacy is chairman of Macarthur Coal
and the man who succeeded him in Treasury, David Hamill, is chairman of
the old Prime Infrastructure, which owns the huge Dalrymple Bay coal
export terminal in Mackay. That probably explains Latham’s revelation.

It seems the coal industry is to Beattie what the forestry industry is
to Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon – an influential opponent of
environmental initiatives. If The Courier Mail is awake, it should be onto this story, although The Latham Diaries now appear to be largely banned from News Ltd publications.

Peter Fray

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