News National Anti-Adani protesters upstage Shorten’s big moment at ALP conference

Anti-Adani protesters upstage Shorten’s big moment at ALP conference

Bill Shorten keeps his cool and sticks to the script as anti-Adani protesters refuse to leave the stage at labor's national conference in Adelaide. Photo: ABC/Marco Catalano
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Bill Shorten has promised to make half of Australia’s power renewable – but that didn’t stop anti-Adani protesters invading the stage as he addressed Labor’s national conference in Adelaide.

The Labor leader’s address was interrupted just as it was about to begin when protesters, who also demanded an end to offshore detention, had to be hauled off the stage.

“I know these people are well-intentioned,” Mr Shorten said, “but the only people they are helping is the current Government of Australia,”

Outside the conference protesters chanted demands for climate justice and an end to asylum-seeker detention.

Critics of Labor’s energy policies besiege the party’s national conference. Photo: AAP/Lukas Coch

The Greens accuse Labor of refusing to renounce fossil fuels because of the donations it receives from mining interests and the coal lobby.

Gas, oil and coal companies gave Labor $1.62 million over the past five years, including $641,000 from Woodside Energy, AAP reports.

“Climate change is one of the leading causes of habitat loss and extinction, yet the Labor Party is beholden to emissions-intensive polluters like Woodside, Santos and Chevron,” said Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

“They are on the fence about Adani, split on drilling in the Great Australian Bight and are pro-fracking. And it’s clear why when you look at this shocking donation data.”

“The Great Australian Bight whale nursery is a completely inappropriate place for risky deep sea oil drilling, especially as we hurtle towards catastrophic climate change,” Wilderness Society’s Peter Owen said.

Maritime Union of Australia WA assistant secretary Danny Cain said it’s time for Labor to recognise the need to move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

“Our members are at the forefront of this change,” he said.

“The employment shift must involve a just transition for workers in fossil fuel industries to real union jobs in new, safe renewable industries.”

Labor’s national conference will debate tackling climate change and securing the nation’s energy future on Sunday afternoon.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has already promised 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, and has announced a $15 billion plan to drive new clean energy projects and strengthen the energy grid.

He’s also promised to subsidise 100,000 household batteries if Labor wins the next federal election.

-with AAP