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