In 2001, Andrew Forrest was declared by a Victorian Supreme Court judge to be “an untruthful witness”.

What to make of his claim today then that the Abbott government’s decision not to hold an inquiry into the iron ore industry is a case of “enormous political pressure put on the government of the day”?

Forrest wants to bring “transparency and openness into an industry which has been opaque to the Australian people for too long”. He now refers to his competitors as “the multinationals” and says this is another example of their power, which they demonstrated in relation to the mining tax. “I was hoping for a stronger reaction from this government than last government,” he said.

Perhaps Forrest hopes we’ve forgotten the pictures of him and mining heiress Gina Rinehart leading a hysterical rally against the mining tax in Perth, complete with Forrest decked out in a high-vis vest to show how he’s really just a super-wealthy dirt shoveller at heart. Or Forrest’s attempts both to browbeat the Rudd government and negotiate behind the scenes with it to alter the original version of the mining tax.

Now Forrest is lamenting the same wielding of the same power over governments by companies even bigger and more powerful than his. “I’m not going to give up until the Australian people learn the truth,” he says. Which truth is that, Crikey wonders — the truth that the mining industry in Australia is powerful enough that elected politicians tremble under its gaze?

That was already clear.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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