A Townsville man walks into anti-Adani protesters and was taking away by police. Picture: Zak Simmonds
A Townsville man walks into anti-Adani protesters and was taking away by police. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Man charged with assaulting anti-Adani protestors

A PUBLIC town hall meeting hosted by Labor leader Bill Shorten was marred by an ugly scuffle on Monday night with a man charged with assaulting anti-Adani protesters.

About 20 anti-Adani protesters gathered on the footpath outside Currajong State School for a "peaceful demonstration" when they were confronted by a Townsville man trying to attend the meeting.

A scuffle broke out with several protesters claiming they had been assaulted by the man. Police escorted the man, 54, inside the school grounds and questioned him.

A Townsville man clashes with anti-Adani protesters. Picture: Zak Simmonds
A Townsville man clashes with anti-Adani protesters. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Kirwan police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Jason Brosnan said the man was charged with three counts of common assault and was issued a formal move on order.

He said the man was himself considering pressing charges against some of the protesters. The incident was caught on waiting media cameras, which will be used as evidence.

Sen-Sgt Brosnan said when the man was asked why he committed the alleged assault he told officer "he was sick of protesters".

Protester Gail Hamilton said the demonstration was "peaceful" and blamed the alleged assaults on "encouragement" from Dawson MP George Christensen and Whitsunday regional councillor Mike Brunker.

"This is not an isolated incident and this has been happening for months," she said.

"Cr Brunker and George Christensen and a few other people have been encouraging violence against protesters saying things like 'these guys deserve a clipping'.

"I interpret that as the community has been given a green light to inflict violence on these peaceful protesters."

Once the meeting got under way, Mr Shorten was asked about how he was going to address soaring insurance premiums, the cost of living, cyber-bullying, the city's dwindling water supply and improve funding for schools and health care.

Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten spoke at a town hall meeting at Currajong state school. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten spoke at a town hall meeting at Currajong state school. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Earlier in the day, Mr Shorten continued to disparage Adani's Carmichael coal project, saying whether it gains finance is questionable.

Meanwhile, Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan says the Labor Leader has "gone cold" on the project because of Greens pressure in Melbourne where Labor is fighting a by-election to retain the seat of Batman.

Earlier this month Mr Shorten angered northerners and prompted Adani to open its Townsville offices for a media tour when he claimed the company was offering "fake jobs".

He campaigned alongside anti-Adani protesters in Melbourne.

In Townsville yesterday Mr Shorten acknowledged there were "some people" working for Adani but said the 10,000 jobs which had been promised since 2011 had not materialised.

"The fact of the matter is that the banks have (placed) question marks over it. The financing (is) questionable," Mr Shorten said.

"This company has missed more deadlines than most people have. So I think it is an issue."

Senator Canavan said Mr Shorten would be better off explaining why he had gone cold on Galilee Basin mining jobs.

"(It's) due to Greens' pressure in Melbourne," Senator Canavan said.

Mr Shorten said Labor recognised the resources construction sector was coming off the boil and that Adani had to stack up commercially and environmentally.

"We have got to do a lot more than hope and wish for something miraculously to turn up out of the skies," Mr Shorten said.

A Labor commitment to fund the Townsville port channel widening project was "making our own luck", Mr Shorten said.

A Townsville man clashes with anti-Adani protesters. Picture: Zak Simmonds
A Townsville man clashes with anti-Adani protesters. Picture: Zak Simmonds
A Townsville man clashes with anti-Adani protesters. Picture: Zak Simmonds
A Townsville man clashes with anti-Adani protesters. Picture: Zak Simmonds
A Townsville man is removed by police after clashing with anti-Adani protesters. Picture: Zak Simmonds
A Townsville man is removed by police after clashing with anti-Adani protesters. Picture: Zak Simmonds


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