Aug 8, 2017

Parasitic mining industry won’t stop bleeding Australia dry

The mining lobby wants a new round of punitive industrial relations reforms, at a time when real wages are falling in the sector and productivity booming. But that's the way neoliberalism operates.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Here is why neoliberalism, whatever economic benefits it may have delivered to households since the 1980s, is inherently unstable and can only ever end in tears: the corporate sector never knows when to stop demanding that the rest of the community be forced to hand over resources to it. The demands for corporate tax cuts will never stop; the demands for punitive industrial relations reform aimed at cutting wages and curbing unions' already limited power will never stop.

Step forward the most rapacious, parasitic business lobby in the country, the Minerals Council of Australia, which has taken a break from spruiking the virtues of eating coal to issue a new call for industrial relations reform. Its campaign will be fronted by former Labor MP Martin Ferguson, who'll mumble his way through a list of demands today. The only surprise about Ferguson's involvement, Labor MPs would note, is that the whole thing wasn't leaked to The Australian the moment it was agreed.

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16 thoughts on “Parasitic mining industry won’t stop bleeding Australia dry

  1. mike westerman

    BK you didn’t mention that the mining sector, with its high productivity growth and low wage growth is making its gargantuan profits by selling our minerals. Even our airports are better regulated in terms of the return they can make off owning someone else’s stuff (in their case, the airports we built and the travel we make). It’s interesting to compare Australia with other provinces and see how they have globally blackmailed governments into giving away countries commonwealth (see ) – such valiant protectors of competition and free markets!

  2. Chris Days

    One of the nice things about a contract workforce is that the workers can be moved on regularly so that it is never clear which employer was responsible for black lung cases.

  3. klewso

    If God had wanted miners to be benificent and community conscious He wouldn’t have created profits.

  4. Dog's Breakfast

    Written with real conviction BK. You may assume from other comments that I am a rabid commie bastard, but that would overcook it a bit. There are clearly areas where a little market economics is the best of all worlds, it’s just that it doesn’t apply that broadly, and always has to be reined in.

    It is worth noting that the LNG exports will earn us nothing in taxes or royalties for decades, how could that possibly be? Not one jot of coal, iron ore, mineral, petroleum product should be able to be dug up without and up-front payment per tonne/barrel whatever. A royalty, I think it’s called, which should be a minimum of 25% of the market price. If the company can’t dig it out and make a profit, bugger off and leave it to another efficient company to do it somewhere down the track.

    Martin Ferguson, what do you say about him a former head of the ACTU. He should be exiled.

  5. Dog's Breakfast

    And then lets talk about real amounts being left in escrow for mine rehabilitation. That’s the start of the discussion.

    Let’s bring union power back.

    1. Peter Hannigan

      What! You want to stop them having a legacy company go bankrupt leaving the taxpayer to clean up the mess – if it gets dealt with at all. It must be a violation of a company’s human rights or something. If not then the Human Rights Commission should be rejigged as the Human (corporate entity only) Rights Commission.

      1. Richard

        But corporations ARE ‘persons’, according to some legal bull$hittery worked behind all our backs some time ago.

    2. Yclept

      Yeah, let’s have a campaign for mandatory union membership. Fight fire with fire!

  6. old greybearded one

    I propose an automatic cut of 25% of wages of all CEOs who want instant penalty rate cuts. I also think we should be charging the people who wrote the LNG royalty agreements with abetting a theft and also treason.

  7. AR

    That pic reminds me of a typical HG&Roy comment,’very attractive’ – it certainly makes me want to visit, take holiday snaps and beg to work there.
    It is hard to decide between a royalties, RRT, a Tobin tax on turnover and a prohibition on transfer pricing and loans so I’d say all of the above.
    Not forgetting a super tax on windfall profits and a deposit in escrow for clean-up and restoration before a spade is thrust into the ground.
    To be personal for a moment, what an adornment to the Labor party Anna Bligh, Simon Crean & Mar’n Fers’on are – one wonders what boards gumBoil Shlernt will slide onto after his illustrious career as the Man Who Wasn’t There.

  8. klewso

    Martin Ferguson – he’s made the system work pretty well for himself, hasn’t he? ….
    The Dum tonight – Aaron Patrick from the Fin Rev – with all his “Fairy Godmother” IR wishes on this topic – drop wages to keep jobs (like the companies will raise them again as soon as prices/profits pick up?) – easy to see why he’s been promoted under Stutchbury?

  9. klewso

    The corporate sector seems to think it needs to trample workers more in order to keep their noses above the ordure they themselves have created?

  10. John Hall

    I am sick of Governments that sell off our land for almost no return for the taxpayer. Perhaps a memorial site for each open cut – “to the memory of the government led by …. what a holy mess they left the people of Australia” or perhaps a memorial to the traditional owners that kept it pristine for s jolly good raping for the invading ‘civilisation’?

    1. John Hall

      Excuse bad spelling at the end – anger isn’t good for stabbing at buttons.

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