Memo to Minerals Council of Australia — attention Mitch Hooke and Brendan Pearson

Mitch, Brendan — great outcome on Saturday and you and the member organisations can be proud of the sterling work you did. People mocked the industry and its claims about the mining tax but you’ve had the last laugh. You set out to remove a democratically-elected government and, with the help of News Limited, you’ve damn near pulled it off. Mitch, we know you said after Rudd was dispatched that there should be no appearance of dancing on his grave but surely you’re entitled to a little jig now that the end of Labor is in sight.

Fantastic work.

There’s only one tiny fly in the ointment and we hate to raise it at a time when we should be celebrating, but it appears that, in setting out to remove the Labor government, we’ve ushered in political forces that, well, not to put too fine a point on it, appear rather hostile to the industry.

Now, we don’t refer to the uncertainty that will be occasioned by minority government. That of course is a concern to mining investors. As one international investor said the other day, “you call it democracy — we call it sovereign risk”. But nevertheless we all agree that major constitutional reform is not a priority for the industry just at this juncture. And in any event the point is there’s no longer a majority Labor government, and that’s what we were after.

What I’m referring to is that from July 1 we’ve got a hostile Senate, with nine Greens. Nine! Some of us nearly fell off our piles of gold ingots when we saw these fair trade-loving, soyaccino-sipping, joint-puffing, social justice-slurping lunatics were almost going to get into double figures. Why didn’t we see this coming when we set out to undermine a Labor government? At least we got the MRRT out of Gillard. The Greens actually want to go back to the RSPT, and impose a functional, effective emissions trading scheme.

Okay, we know neither will actually have a substantial impact on our revenue or profits, but we’ve been insistent for years that both will bring the entire mining industry to an end. And how much new greentape are we going to see imposed on the industry as a consequence of this? We dread to think what’ll happen next time there’s an itty-bitty oil spill from one of the offshore drillers.

That’s not all. Not only is there a Green in the House of Representatives, but the independents are now in charge in the Reps. Have you listened to what Tony Windsor has been saying about coal companies in the Liverpool Plains area? We’ve got billions of dollars in investments ready to go in the area and people like Windsor are demanding impact studies and whatnot. Some crap about food production and groundwater. It’s less than two years since Windsor was with Bob Brown — Bob bloody Brown — giving support to farmers trying to block BHP’s exploration at Caroona.

We just hope you blokes haven’t created a Frankenstein monster with all this. We need to fire up the campaign again, get the ads rolling, put a stop to this stuff before it gets off the ground. Can you start the teleconferences again and we’ll get some planning underway? There’s no time to lose.

Also, you might want to have a word with Simon and the boys at AMEC. Despite the ads, despite the robocalls, despite tipping millions into the WA Libs, they don’t look like they’ve pulled off Hasluck yet. Our grandmother could have won Hasluck in this election (or could have if we hadn’t sold her years ago) but they’re still counting and it’s not clear we’ve won it yet. Bit of a post-mortem might be required over there.

Other than that, keep up the good work.


Australia’s mining executives