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John Passant

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June 2010
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Me on Razor Sharp this morning
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The mining barons run the country

It would be a great shame if the finalised outcome of any negotiations between the Gillard government and the mining industry was anything less than what was achieved while Mr Rudd was PM, otherwise his departure will be recognised as futile. 

Mining magnate Andrew Forrest in a speech to the Financial Review’s WA Economic Outlook Conference

Forrest’s comments are pretty clear. Rudd and Gillard are pawns in the great ‘pay no tax’ game the mining companies are involved in.

They want to defeat the resource super profits tax. Getting rid of a Prime Minister is just collateral damage for these super wealthy mining barons. They have done it once already and will do it again if needed to defend their interests.

Capital rules and Labor and Liberal politicians dance to their tune.

Forrest didn’t need to state the obvious. ‘We destroyed one Prime minister, Julia. We can destroy you.’

What is going on here? The answer seems pretty clear. The mining bosses got rid of Rudd and they now control the ALP and the Opposition through, on the one hand, fear and on the other hope.

According to Forrest, Rudd had done a deal with the miners that would have got rid of the Commonwealth’s underwriting of mining losses.  It would have increased the rate of the cut in off the tax from six percent to 15 percent (ie from the long term bond rate to about 9 percentage points above it.) Other changes – for example doubling the book value of the mines, and the immediate write off of capital expenditure – would also have benefited the mining barons.

But it’s what the miners didn’t get from Rudd – excluding existing projects from the tax and lowering the rate from 40 percent –  that will now also be on the table. 

Forrest’s threat is clear. Give us even more concessions Julia Gillard or we’ll end the honeymoon.  She will give them what Rudd negotiated and exclude existing projects and lower the rate.

Who runs the country? At the moment it’s the mining companies. Australia isn’t a democracy; it’s a plutocracy.



Comment from Dave Stalker
Time July 1, 2010 at 9:41 am

I suppose it has always been this way, after all what is a politician an elected official there for a short time then gone.
One could say the mining barons provide employment a benefit for the country, but they have to ensure their investors get their cut while the barons themselves fill their pockets and send most of the money off shore.
If they are not happy paying more tax then close shop and bugger of there will be plenty sitting on the side line waiting to take up the slack and be only to happy with the new conditions.
So when the next election is called i will vote for Andrew Forrest for prime minister if he;s such a hot shot, some Australian he is.

Comment from Marco
Time July 1, 2010 at 9:03 pm


In an off-topic comment: a lecture by David Harvey on the Crisis of Capitalism.

It’s quite cleverly presented (kudos to him and to the RSA guys) and, convincing, regarding what he calls the 5 narrative genres of conventional explanations.

The last few minutes, though, the exposition becomes vague.

Anyway, judge by yourselves.

RSA Animate – Crisis of Capitalism

Comment from Chav
Time July 2, 2010 at 12:11 pm

“Prime Minister Julia Gillard has slashed the mining tax rate and cut the types of resources affected in order to secure an agreement with mining companies – lopping $1.5 billion from expected revenues in the process.”

Gillard has just proved you right, John.