Queensland Nationals senator Matthew Canavan is under fire after posting a photo of a ute with the slogan “Black Coal Matters” emblazoned on the side.
Canavan posted the image on Monday that also featured a cardboard cut-out of former Greens leader Bob Brown, with the aim of promoting the New Acland Mine in Queensland and its potential for 500 jobs.
“Bob’s back! … And this time he is on a mission to create 500 jobs at the New Acland Mine. Go Bob!!!,” Canavan wrote on Twitter alongside the image.
However, the stunt immediately drew the ire of social media, not merely for its pro-coal stance but for denigrating the Black Lives Matters movement in the process.
Canavan told SBS News he did not “pay respect to the Black Lives Matter movement who have organised rallies in defiance of public health orders”.
He also claimed the movement has been “involved in violent protests 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’.
“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 said.
Queenslanders go to the polls on October 31 and the Liberal-National opposition is campaigning heavily that Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government is anti-mining and anti-jobs.
Canavan’s tweet also comes after the public outrage following Rio Tinto’s destruction the Juukan Gorge rock shelters, a 46,000-year-old sacred Aboriginal site in Western Australia earlier this year.
Naturally, Canavan’s post found few supporters.
Labor MP Andrew Gillies led the outrage, writing that “Black lives do matter, this isn’t something to joke about.”
“Cripes,” wrote Indigenous justice coalition Change The Record’s executive officer Sophie Trevitt. “Climate change denialism with a bonus racist dog whistle.”
While First Nations Senator Lidia Thorpe lamented, “And this is what we gotta deal with in this place. Complete disregard and racist behaviour. Here we go.”
“You are a pig and a racist and terrible human being,” wrote Terra Nullius author Claire G. Coleman. “Appropriating a human rights slogan to support an unsustainable and destructive industry is disgusting. You sully your entire party with your vileness.”
Check out more of the social media rage below:
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