After seeing the broad business support for a carbon tax at the
Australian Future Directions Forum,
it raises the question of exactly who is
still holding out against what appears a global inevitability. As one
senior business figure told an environmentalist, “I have no problem
with taxing poison.”

Given that the coal industry is currently throwing off operating
profits of almost $10 billion a year, the case in favour of ongoing
subsidies and the argument that they couldn’t afford a carbon tax is
very hard to sustain.

Coal and Canberra have been close for decades, although the Big Four coal kings – Rio Tinto, BHP
Billiton, Xstrata and AngloAmerican – don’t appear directly in the 2004-05 political
donations figures. But the connections are still there if you know where to look.

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