Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modhi had raised the question of skilled migration to Australia for Indian professionals only to be rebuffed by Malcolm Turnbull who was about to introduce changes to the 457 visa system for domestic political reasons.
There were comments in the Indian media that Australia was becoming a more racist country.
The Queensland government’s treatment of Adani will only consolidate the unfavourable view that India has of us.
The chances of Australia securing a free trade agreement with the Modhi government are somewhere between none and Buckley’s.
Michael McKenna reported in Wednesday’s ‘Australian’ that, prior to Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk’s visit to India, the Queensland government had made an offer in writing to Adani of concessions on royalties.
The concession was approved by the Queensland cabinet, including all of the left wing ministers who later repudiated the deal on the basis that it ran against statements made during the election campaign that took place before the cabinet meeting.
The only thing that has changed since the cabinet meeting is pressure on Deputy Premier Jackie Trad from the Greens and Get Up.
The Palaszczuk government may have shot itself in the foot.
In trying to protect inner city seats from voters, who were unlikely to desert them for the Greens, they’ve put in jeopardy a raft of seats in North Queensland.
Unemployment in North Queensland is 11%, the highest in the state, and the Adani mine represented the only major hope of getting back into work for those workers who had lost their jobs at the end of the mining boom. That hope is now dashed.
As for Adani there’s no point in it continuing to try to do a deal with the Labor government.
It can leave the issue to fester with the near certainty that it will cost the Palaszczuk government the chance to remain in office.
It can then cut a deal with the LNP government which will be much less problematic than the one they are currently being offered.
At the Federal level, the Turnbull government has to deal with the prospect that it’s gaining a reputation for creating a difficult investment climate where governments are likely to change policies under pressure from interest groups like Get Up.
At the moment it looks as if Resources Minister Matt Canavan is fighting a lone battle to protect investment in the resources industry.
There should be a united push by the whole of government.
After all the projections in the budget depend in part on a significant increase in private investment.