The war for the North: the Rinehart Fairfax raid is a sideshow… what is really at stake?

How much of Australia does Rinehart want?

Reports that Gina Rinehart is looking to increase her political influence by increasing her stake in Fairfax media sent a chill down my spine yesterday.

Rinehart is buying influence, and no doubt hopes control of the media will give her that.

It is more than likely she has the IPA in her pocket as her unofficial ministry of propaganda – hence the reason for its dramatic increase in funding.

The question is why.

If you want a picture of the future – at least one envisioned by the likes of Ian Plimer, Gina Rinehart and their paid mouthpiece the Institute of Public Affairs – then consider a future in which wealthiest individuals lock up over a third of the Australian continent in a “special economic zone”.

Rinehart is pouring her monies and effort into the very Orwellian sounding Australian for Northern Development and Economic Vision (ANDEV).

Lead by Rinehart its members also include her favorite pet “climate sceptic”, Ian Plimer.

In this playground of the rich and rotund, companies will be able to operate freely from inconveniences such as “high taxes” and “green tape” and “high wages”.

The war for the north

This is the real battle, the “commanding heights” that Australia’s super rich and resource companies are fighting to obtain. The fights over the Resources Super Tax and the very modest Carbon Tax were merely side shows, part of the much broader “war” being fought. The prize is Australia’s mineral resources and who controls them.

Consider what Gina Rinehart and her troop of winged monkeys – err, sorry I mean the IPA’s gaggle of policy wonks and corporate hacks – are fighting for;

The creation of a ‘Northern Economic Zone’ that will offer tax advantages to attract and retain individuals and companies.

No Henry Resource “Super Tax” (or similar)

Lower personal income tax or tax rebates for those who live and work in the Northern Zone

Lowered / eliminated payroll tax

No FBT

Policies that welcome and attract investment

Policies that enable growth

The creation of attractive towns or cities in these remote zones away from capital cities that attract people and support businesses for the long haul.

It is nothing more than a desire to return to the “robber baron” days of the 19th century, free from the interference of unions, governments and legislation.

In this land of coal and honey, “attractive” employment policies will allow mining companies to substitute an Australian workforce – who expect to be paid reasonable salaries – with foreign workers who can be paid far less;

Consideration of the temporary utilisation of foreign workers for construction phases only; not longer term operations.

Don’t worry; they’ll only build the infrastructure. Of course they won’t stay: unless it makes very good business sense.

ANDEV: “Think of the children!”

What I personally find galling – if not sleazy – about the marketing of ANDEV is the attempt to sell this billionaires fiefdom for the benefits of “our” children.

If you examine their website you won’t find any pictures of the old, rotund billionaires and corporate hacks whose personal interests ANDEV is designed to serve.

Indeed, it is peppered with images of smiling, photogenic children excited about the prospect of their very own “special economic zone”:

“Daddy, can I have low taxes when I grow up?”

ANDEV is trying to convince you that it is all about “our kids future”:

Industry needs to take the fight to the government and media.  The guts to do the right thing by our children. It’s their future too.

Here we have the distasteful spectacle of billionaires hiding their greed and desire for power behind the “needs” of children:

Finger painting and open cut mines: the two always go hand-in-hand

I’m sure ANDEV is very concerned about children, and it has very little do with the desire for increased power and profits of a certain secretive billionaire:

Not on the ANDEV site Gina?

After all, it wasn’t that long ago children made some of the more effective – and cheapest – workers:

Kids and mining, a long-established tradition…

A picture of the future

To loosely paraphrase an author I admire:

We have seen a picture of the future; a world constrained by resource shortages, battered by increased extreme weather events and where millions of lives are diminished. In this world, nations and powerful companies will compete for the ever shrinking reserves of oil and gas.

And as the storms rage, cities flood and droughts bake once productive farm lands, the billionaires will employ their newly acquired media empires and think tank apologists to tell us it is not happening. Perhaps, this new world was meant to be – perhaps there are no alternatives and that it is will be the “best of all possible worlds”.

They’ll be nothing left but the thrill of increased profits and power, and the sensation of domination for those who trample the few that question their motives. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a newly built coal station – only recently constructed despite all the evidence it shouldn’t be – belching carbon into an increasingly chaotic climate; forever.

6 thoughts on “The war for the North: the Rinehart Fairfax raid is a sideshow… what is really at stake?

  1. Farmer Dave says:

    Wow, talk about scary stuff! Children down mines, robber barons, slave labour, power and influence being grabbed by the rich and rotund, gee sounds like the end of the world, as we know it that is.
    A world of busted socialist states where welfare has replaced risk taking in business, and bureaucracy is the employment end-point.
    I, while not being rich but admit a bit of rotundity, am a recently joined member of ANDEV. I happen to live in regional WA and know first hand that industry, whether it is agricultural or mining, is the only option for creating real wealth (I know how you hate private wealth) for many Australians, in the future.
    The human animal has always sought power or influence. The difference between Gina Rinehart’s pathway and that of the Left is that one creates and the other bleeds, respectively.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Actually Farmer Dave – I’m pro market, and work in private industry. What concerns me is the concentration of power and monopolies.

      It is a strange assumption to think I hate private wealth.

      You’ve been sold a fable, that somehow those that support action on climate change are wealth-destroying socialists. Actually, we need a stable climate in order for our sophisticated economies to function.

      It’s about risk management.

      Building wealth – especially in the developing world is essential. There is a school of thought, which I subscribe too, that states increased wealth and a more prosperous society is beneficial to the environment.

      Wealthier societies can invest in cleaner energy sources and more energy efficient technologies, trend towards smaller populations and provide better educational opportunities etc.

      Better, more efficient farming techniques leads to less land usage.

      And yes, mining is a necessary and vital industry.

      This may also surprise you – I’m pro nuclear energy and the use of GM technologies to reduce are reliance on fossil fuels and ensure food security.

      I suggest you read “The God Species” and “The politics of climate change” by Anthony Giddons for a view on how technology and development can help the environment.

      There is a balance between the market and regulation. Too much free market can lead to what we’ve seen in the recent financial crisis.

      Too much government is not a good thing – yes you read that correctly!

      I think there are limits to government.

  2. adelady says:

    “And as the storms rage, cities flood and droughts bake once productive farm lands, the billionaires will employ their newly acquired media empires and think tank apologists to tell us it is not happening. That perhaps, this new world was meant to be – that there were no alternatives and that it is the best of all possible worlds.”

    Me, I’m not so sure. I think the most cynical among them will continue to take maximum profits and taxpayer subsidies from extracting and exploiting non-renewable resources until absolutely every single person in the world is screaming for “someone to *do* something”.

    At which point, the cashed up exploiters will step forward and offer their services in building seawalls or new power facilities or relocating airports. At emergency-level, usurious prices. Which will be paid by governments and taxpayers. Again.

    And they’ll rake it in. Again.

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