An Australian politician is facing criticism on Twitter for promoting a racist sticker on a vehicle, but he isn’t backing down.
Twitter users are calling Queensland Senator Matt Canavan “vile” and “toxic” for sharing posts of a “Black Coal Matters” sticker on a ute, which they say discredits the Black Lives Matter movement in Australia and across the world.
“Bob’s back! And this time he is on a mission to create 500 jobs at the New Acland Mine,” Canavan wrote on Facebook.
The satire-style post featured a photo with a life-size cut-out of former Greens leader Bob Brown and called for support for a new mine in Queensland that would create jobs.
Coal mining in Australia is controversial due to growing concerns over global warming and a steep fall in coal prices in the past two years, despite the need for jobs in rural areas.
The stunt immediately drew criticism online.
“The discussion of jobs is important. Unfortunately you’ve chosen to mix this message with irreverence to another important message,” one person commented on the Facebook post. “What does this say about you and the Nationals”?
“Your view (ie that is okay to use a play on words to “black lives matter”) is not shared by all those you represent,” the person added.
“Vile, peurile, brainless, insensitive, parochial, stupid, pointless, hateful, toxic... You contribute nothing but division to the country,” wrote another.
“Very racist but wouldn’t expect anything less of you,” academic Amy Mcquire wrote of the Twitter post.
As people took to the streets around the world to protest racial injustice after the police killing of George Floyd in May, Australia was reminded of the parallels between Black deaths in custody in Australia and in the US.
Against the backdrop of the global Black Lives Matter movement, hundreds of thousands of activists in Australia rallied for action over the more than 430 First Nations deaths in custody over the past two decades.
“I don’t pay respect to the Black Lives Matter movement who have organised rallies in defiance of public health orders, who have been involved in violent protest 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,” he told Blakkarly.
“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, referring to jobs created by coal mines.
Australia is one of the world’s largest carbon emitters per capita because of its reliance on coal-fired power plants. Under the Paris Agreement to tackle global warming, Canberra had pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2030. But in 2018, the government stripped requirements for cutting emissions from its centrepiece energy policy in the face of political opposition.