ON THE ROAD: Dr Bob Brown in Rockhampton.
ON THE ROAD: Dr Bob Brown in Rockhampton. Allan Reinikka ROK24041abobbrown

Bob Brown's brief history of coal-fired power advocacy

THE Stop Adani Convoy moves on to Clermont for a weekend for its pinnacle event in the Galilee Basin with aims to stop coal burning, but for convoy leader Dr Bob Brown the anti-coal narrative has not been a constant.

The Franklin Dam Campaign lasted through the 1970s and 80s and was a watershed moment for the green movement in Australia which saw environmental concerns prevail over the construction of a dam and hydro facilities on the Gordon River in Tasmania.

Dr Brown, lead the campaign against the dam in to the 1983 election which saw Bob Hawke elected, who had previously promised to stop the dam from being built.

The Federal and Tasmanian governments took the plight of the Frankin Dam to the High Court, resulting in ruling in the Federal Government's favour, stopping the dam.

However, to compensate for the dams promised addition to the Tasmanian electricity grid, Dr Brown suggested a coal-fired power station presented a better alternative.

Hobart newspaper The Mercury reported in 1981 that Dr Brown believed a coal-fired thermal station was a "manifestly better" option than more dams. He did however, state building a coal-fired thermal station on the Tasmanian coal fields was a "Medium Ground Option".

Dr Brown has since addressed his comments made in the in the early '80s saying it was a choice between the destructive dam and a coal-fired power station when asked by an audience member of ABC's Q and A program in 2014.

"Our Focus right through the Franklin campaign was renewable energy, and stopping the waste of energy," he said.

"In Tasmania, the debate was totally about the coal-fired power station and/or the Franklin (dam).

"We did not need a big new polluting, whether it was the dam or the coal-fired power station option."

Mediator Tony Jones asked whether Dr Brown acknowledged he made to comments to which he conceded; " It was in the paper, and I was wrong."

The proposed coal-fired power station in Tasmania never went ahead.



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