Give a worker a go: meet the coal miners’ candidate

Published: 1 May 2019

Russell Robertson is a proud central Queensland coal miner and CFMEU member. Now he's running for federal parliament, fighting for a coal industry that delivers for workers.

Russell is a third generation coal miner who was born in Clermont and raised his own family in Moranbah, where he has worked at Goonyella mine for 17 years.

He is urging voters to ignore the National Party’s fake coal scare campaign and decide what sort of coal industry they want – one that looks after workers or just the multinational mine owners.

Russell, along with other Central Queensland Labor candidates Zac Beers in Flynn and Belinda Hassan in Dawson, has signed the CFMEU candidates’ pledge for coal mining and energy workers.

The pledge commits them to supporting coal jobs and projects, same job same pay for labour hire workers and the right for casual workers to convert to permanent jobs.

Casual labour hire has grown out of control across the industry with National Party MPs representing these key coal mining seats in Canberra.

Russell has experienced it firsthand. “I remember what it was like when my dad worked at Goonyella mine, everyone had a permanent job with fair pay and conditions.

“It’s not like that today, rich multinational mine owners are increasingly hiring casuals and labour hire workers instead of permanent employees. These workers get no holidays, no sick leave and struggle to get a mortgage. Worse still if they speak up about safety, they get the sack.”

Russell is committed to stamping out dodgy labour hire in coal mining and across the community.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland President Stephen Smyth said Russell would be a great voice for mineworkers in Canberra.

“The National MPs representing this region are suddenly pretending to be coal miners’ best friends. But we should judge them on their record, not their empty promises.

“They have overseen mass casualisation of our industry, turning thousands of good permanent jobs into long-term casual jobs with no leave, no job security, no future.

“Because of them, central Queensland is the mining bosses’ labour hire heaven. “I am proud to support Russell’s campaign.

If you live in Capricornia, or know someone who does, I encourage you to give Russell your support. We need a CFMEU coal miner in Canberra.”