Tag Archives: MRRT

The Galactic Hypocrisy Of Wayne Swan

6 Mar

The red mist has descended.

Your humble blogger is angry.

Very angry.

Wayne Swan has publicly attacked three local, homegrown Aussie miners.

Ms Gina Rinehart. Mr Clive Palmer. And Mr Andrew Forrest.

Wayne claims that he is fighting for a “fair go”, for “equality”, against “rich” “vested interests” that are “threatening our democracy”.

Oh really?

Wayne Swan did a secret, exclusive deal on the design of the mining tax with the Big Three foreign-owned multinational mining companies, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, and Xstrata, just before the 2010 election.

Wayne’s secret deal is widely claimed to favour the Big Three foreigners, at the expense of the much smaller local Aussie mining companies.

Wayne’s secret deal is alleged to have come about after the Big Three foreign-owned mining companies “gave the nod” for Julia Gillard to knife democratically-elected PM Kevin Rudd, and promised to pull their anti-mining tax ad campaign.

Tell us again, who is a “threat to democracy”?

Wayne Swan accuses three local Aussie miners – two of whom are self-made, from humble beginnings – of being “champions of privilege”.

Oh really?

Wayne is a career political hack, with an Arts degree, and zero business experience.

Wayne receives $346,000 per annum, $6,653 per week, paid for by the taxpayer.

Wayne voted himself an $84,000 pay rise late last year.

Wayne blew $75,440 of taxpayers’ money on empty RAAF VIP “ghost flights” to collect and ferry him around, in just 6 months last year.

Tell us again, who is a “champion of privilege”?

Wayne Swan is a vile, disgusting, public trough-swilling, grossly overpaid, thoroughly under qualified, pathologically dishonest, monumentally repugnant, morally destitute, vomitous, self-serving, bottom-dwelling, anti-Australian, treasonous, galactic hypocrite.

* I have chosen to keep this piece focussed on Swan and his attack on locals in the mining industry. I could write an entire new piece on other “vested interests” that Wayne oh so conveniently neglects to mention, much less publicly attack. For example, the unions who finance (and rule) the ALP, and the clubs industry whose “power” and political activism prompted the Labor government to brazenly renege on a written contract with Andrew Wilkie for poker machine reform. And that’s just for starters.

** The media in this country are deserving of very similar epithets to those attributed to Wayne Swan above. I am not aware that a single journalist has challenged Wayne Swan on any of the above facts.

*** Note well: this blogger is no fawning acolyte of miners, big business, or “free markets”. On the contrary, if it were within my power I would nationalise all mineral, petroleum, and natural gas resources – see “Why I Hang Farther To The Left Than Bob Brown”.

I Wonder How Much These “Experts” Pull?

16 Feb

Back in December, your humble blogger published a comprehensive critique of the Green-Labor-Independents’ disaster-in-waiting dubbed the “Minerals Resource Rent Tax”.

Or “mining tax” for short.

Today, Professors’ Carey and Fargher of Deakin Uni and the ANU respectively, have combined their scintillating intellects to do the same.

This will all sound very familiar to regular readers.

From the Age (emphasis added):

Illustration: John Spooner | Source: The Age

Flaws in the mineral tax mean Australia may profit little from its resource wealth.

Could Australia end up with little to show for its mining boom – as an echo of what happened to Nauru once its considerable phosphate wealth was exhausted?

Close examination of the proposed minerals resource rent tax reveals serious flaws that could leave the federal government well short of the forecast revenue. It is conceivable that some large and highly profitable mining companies could reorganise their affairs to pay little or none of the tax.

The first and most obvious shortcoming of the MRRT, in terms of its revenue potential, is that it applies only to coal and iron ore. All other minerals are exempt. But it is the design of the tax as it applies to coal and iron ore miners that could leave the government facing an unanticipated multibillion-dollar shortfall.

The main problem is that the tax is based not on an objective measure such as tonnes of material mined, but on ”super profit” (mining profit less allowances). Profit at the best of times is a highly flexible concept that can allow accountants to apply creative techniques to minimise a company’s tax obligations. With the MRRT, the incentives and opportunities for creative avoidance appear even greater than those applying to company tax.

The minerals tax is not based on audited company profits from statutory accounts, but on a narrow portion of profits from particular mining activities. It requires the taxpayers (that is, the mining companies) to determine the amount of proceeds and costs that relate to these activities.

Ruh roh!

Does that sound familiar?

According to Carey and Fargher, the companies who are supposed to be “taxed” are the ones who will do the measuring (accounting) that determines how much tax they will pay!

That’s exactly like the Clean Energy Future “carbon tax” (see “An OSCAR For The Clean Energy Future”), where the entire scheme relies on “encouraging” the “biggest polluters” to “self-assess” their emissions … and the “audit” procedure by the government is quietly but openly admitted to be nothing more than an exercise in managing the public’s “perceptions” of compliance by the “polluters”.

This reliance on the miners themselves to determine the appropriate proceeds and costs creates a significant incentive to estimate profit from taxable activities in the most tax-efficient manner. For example, the MRRT requires the miners to split revenue between the taxable value earned to the point of producing a stock of coal or iron ore and revenue earned after that point. Transfers within the company also need to be valued. Losses can be offset between operations.

This point yielded a key insight in my detailed critique of the mining tax (see “GilSwan Conned – Mining Tax The Greens’ Pit Of Despair”).

The design of the MRRT actually creates an incentive for the Big 3 multi-nationals to buy out their smaller competitors – including loss-making junior miners and explorers. Why?

Because they can claim numerous deductions against their MRRT liabilities from existing mines, by gobbling up smaller, locally-owned competitors.

In other words, far from “spreading the wealth” of the mining boom, the design of the mining tax will actually help the Big 3 to increase their monopoly, thus sending even more profits offshore.

At numerous points, opportunities exist to reduce revenue estimates and increase costs so as to minimise the taxable profit reported. Volatility in commodity prices could also allow strategic timing of the recognition of revenue and expenses. All these factors, combined with any decline in the underlying commodity price from the record levels seen when the tax was first envisaged, could greatly reduce the expected proceeds to government coffers.

So, too, could the generous and sometimes unconventional allowances built into the tax. There are more than 50 pages of allowances that can be used to reduce a firm’s tax liability. While most allowances have their foundation in generally accepted accounting principles (e.g. royalties paid to state governments or pre-mining exploration expenditure), other are less conventional.

For example, under division 75, miners can choose between the ”book value” or ”market value” of an asset, which will be allocated against revenue over the productive life of a mine in order to calculate MRRT liability. Depreciating assets based on market valuation is not generally accepted accounting practice, yet it is allowed in the legislation. In simple terms, a mining asset that cost $100 million to bring to production might today be worth $350 million if sold on the open market. A miner could use this higher valuation to calculate depreciation, which would reduce the profit subject to the tax.

Business transactions can be complex, and legislation must therefore contain a range of provisions that require subjective interpretation. The mining tax legislation adds a further layer of complexity, which at times defies conventional accounting and can be used to aggressively minimise the amount of tax payable.

Even at this late stage in the process, key improvements might be made if there were full transparency in the revised revenue estimates, the underlying assumptions and, in particular, the ability of the tax office to monitor and collect the minerals tax. It is not surprising that critics have begun to question Treasury’s revenue estimates, which are based on private information supplied by the mining companies that is not on the public record.

Mining companies are entitled to make a profit, but if the nation decides it is also entitled to a return on the exploitation of national resources, then it is important to design a tax that is effective. Once the resources are gone, they are gone for good…

Well done Professors.

Better late than never.

I wonder what a “professor of accounting at Deakin University’s faculty of business and law” pulls?

Indeed, what does a “professor of accounting at the Australian National University’s College of Business and Economics” pull?

One thing’s for sure. The Big 3 multi-national mining companies pulled the wool over Swan’s eyes in their backroom, closed door deal.

Unsurprising really.

Since Wayne Swan’s intellectual power wouldn’t pull the skin off a custard.

(h/t @CaroChristie )

GilSwan Conned – Mining Tax The Greens’ Pit Of Despair

22 Dec

See those storm clouds gathering?

Over the Pit of Despair?

I wonder how Greens’ supporters will respond, when they wake up and discover the truth.

That their party’s deal with Labor on the mining tax will have the opposite result of what they were told.

I wonder what will they say, when they discover that the Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) will not result in the kind of wealth redistribution that was touted, a “fair share of our mineral wealth for all Australians”.

That instead, it will result in the Big 3 multinational mining companies … getting bigger. And richer. And more powerful.

And the government’s budget digging even deeper into the red.

When PM Gillard and Treasurer Swan went behind closed doors with the Big 3 miners to thrash out a hasty “fix” to former PM Rudd’s Resource Super Profits Tax (RSPT) debacle, thinking folks knew it would not end well.

Except for the big miners, that is.

Rather than scoring a vital goal for her “decisive” new leadership before the 2010 election, the secretive deal always looked more likely to result in yet another decisive Labor own goal.

And indeed it has.

Especially after Gillard and Swan again went behind closed doors, this time with the Independents and Greens, to thrash out a political deal to secure passage of the legislation in the parliament.

Late last month, after the new MRRT legislation passed the lower house, mining correspondent for The Australian Andrew Burrell belled the cat:

FEWER than one in 10 iron ore and coal miners operating in Australia will earn enough profit to start paying the $11.1 billion minerals resource rent tax from next year, according to Gillard government estimates.

A spokesman for Wayne Swan said yesterday he could not provide the names of the “estimated 20 to 30″ companies that were likely to pay the MRRT in 2012-13 because it was impossible to say how many companies would earn more than the annual profit threshold of $75 million.

“We haven’t got a precise list,” the spokesman said.

“But we have said the vast bulk of MRRT will be paid by the big three (BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata).”

Mr Burrell went on to reference the PM’s ever-changing claim for how many miners will be impacted under her revised grand design.

A claim most noteworthy not for its credibility.

But for its familiarity.

A remarkable familiarity to her “1,000 biggest” / “500 biggest” / “more like in the order of like, 400 biggest polluters” claim.

And the “half a million” / “300,000” jobs creation claim.

And the “4%” / “3.25%” projected GDP growth claim.

And the “3.5bn surplus” / “1.5bn surplus” projected budget outcome claim.

Big Labor government claims that are always being revised … downward:

Julia Gillard said last year that 320 iron ore and coal miners operating in Australia could be eligible to pay the MRRT — down from 2500 under the original resource super-profits tax that applied to all commodities.

In a deal with Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie on Monday, the government agreed to raise the profit threshold for the tax from $50m to $75m.

Mr Wilkie revealed the move would restrict the number of companies paying the MRRT to fewer than 30.

But this failed to quell criticism from junior miners, which claim the design of the tax still favours the established miners.

It remains unclear how the government will raise $11.1bn in the first three years of the MRRT.

Billionaire miner Andrew Forrest added to the confusion last week when he estimated that his iron ore company, Fortescue Metals Group, would largely avoid paying the tax for at least five years thanks to the substantial writeoffs available to all big producers.

Many in the industry also doubt whether BHP, Rio and Xstrata will face big MRRT liabilities, particularly in the early years of the mining tax.

This is because the design of the tax allows iron ore and coalminers with existing operations to price their assets using today’s inflated market values and claim potentially massive deductions…

Glyn Lawcock, a top-rated mining analyst at UBS, said it was impossible to predict with accuracy how much MRRT companies would pay from next financial year because it was difficult to calculate a company’s market value, which was used to determine MRRT liability.

When asked whether he believed the government could raise $11.1bn over three years, he said: “I scratch my head a little bit at that.”

It certainly is a head scratcher. Especially when one takes the time to carefully review the Treasury department’s Minerals Resource Rent Tax Bill 2011 document.

Recently a mining industry chief executive walked your humble blogger through this document. And explained that there is a very good reason why there has been little except “token noise” from the mining industry over the GilSwan MRRT, in stark contrast to the spirited fight put up against the original Rudd RSPT.

It is because in his words, “big miners will pay nothing for years, and small miners will pay nothing at all”.

But there’s more. In having the details explained to me, an even bigger flaw dawned.

A key insight, that mainstream economic commentators have not cottoned on to.

The clever accountants and lawyers for the Big 3 appear to have conned GilSwan into creating a tax mechanism that not only allows the Big 3 to defer paying any MRRT for years. It is a “tax” that acts as a financial incentive for the Big 3 to increase their monopoly, by gobbling up their smaller competitors and getting MRRT write-offs for doing so.

To understand how, let’s work through the details of the Treasury department’s document (emphasis added):

New investment will be given generous treatment in the form of immediate write‐off, rather than depreciation over a number of years.  This allows mining projects to access the deductions immediately, and means a project will not pay any MRRT until it has made enough profit to pay off its upfront investment.

Sounds good if you are a start-up miner or explorer, right?  No doubt this idea was sold to GilSwan by the Big 3 as being “necessary” to encourage future mining investment, given that the MRRT places Australia at a competitive disadvantage versus other nations that do not have an MRRT.

But it’s also an obvious loophole that immediately dawned on your humble blogger. One that favours the Big 3 miners, who have the deepest pockets.

Consider.

What happens if a big multinational miner such as BHP, Rio Tinto, or Xstrata buys out a smaller mining company, such as a junior explorer or a company with proven but unrealised in-ground reserves?  It would appear they can claim the cost of that “new investment” as an immediate tax write-off, thus offsetting any MRRT they might otherwise be obliged to pay with respect to their other mining projects.

As you will see in a moment, this is no mere speculation by a sceptical blogger with an eye for detail.

It is exactly what the mechanism allows.

But it gets better for the big miners.

What if that smaller miner or junior explorer that they have now bought out, is presently making losses? Remembering that all do, typically for the first 5-10 years of the mine’s life:

• The MRRT will carry forward unutilised losses at the government long term bond rate plus 7 per cent.

Buy up a smaller, loss-making mining company. And claim the value of their unutilised losses against your other MRRT obligations.

Can’t believe that GilSwan (and the “bozos” in Treasury) could be this stupid?

They are:

• The MRRT will provide transferability of deductions. This supports mine development because it means a taxpayer can use the deductions that flow from investments in the construction phase of a project to offset the MRRT liability from another of its projects that is in the production phase.

No use to a small mining company with only one project. But manna from heaven to a large multinational miner with multiple projects.

Buy up a junior explorer, or a mining company that has proven reserves but has not yet begun/completed construction on the project. Claim 100% of the costs against your MRRT liabilities from other, active producing projects.

Thanks to the MRRT, the initial ‘new investment’ in swallowing up a junior mining company, and the ‘unutilised losses’ of that junior mining company, and the construction costs of taking that newly-acquired mining company’s project to production stage, all these now become tax-minimising assets to a hungry Big 3 multinational looking to take over their smaller, up-and-coming (Australian-owned) competitors.

But there’s still more:

• The MRRT will recognise the particular characteristics of different commodities, by applying a taxing point close to the point of extraction, and using appropriate pricing arrangements to ensure only the value of the resources extracted is taxed.

The Big 3 miners were very clever indeed in negotiating this “deal” with GilSwan.

As my mining industry source pointed out to me, the point of extraction is the point of lowest value of the ore; the grade is far below “shipping grade”, and so its value is far below the actual market value. He cited the example of copper ore.

At the point of extraction, the ore may only comprise 1% copper. The value of the ore at this point is around $20 per tonne.

But when subsequently processed into a 25% copper concentrate, the value is around $1,387 per tonne.

And the cost to the mining company of processing the raw 1% copper ore into 25% copper concentrate?

“About $30 per tonne.”

When the Big Miners insisted on the tax being applied “close to the point of extraction”, they took advantage of GilSwan’s abject ignorance of real-world business.  An ignorance that has been all too often seen in their many other policy calamities – think ceiling insulation, school halls, computers in schools, subsidised Toyota hybrids, green schemes, set-top boxes, and the daddy of them all, the no cost/benefit analysis NBN.

You should not be surprised, dear reader.  Not when our World’s Greatest Treasurer has an Arts degree, zero business experience, and has never worked a real job in his life.

Which explains, of course, why we are paying him $262,000 per year. And why we are about to increase his salary by $84,000 per year. And why we have spent $75,440 in 6 months on empty RAAF VIP “ghost” flights to ferry him about.

This ignorance of how things work in the real world is borne out even more starkly however. Not only have GilSwan agreed to impose the mining tax “close to the point of extraction”, (ie) at the ore’s lowest value, far below its value-added market value. They have also agreed to a 25% extraction allowance:

• The MRRT will provide a 25 per cent extraction allowance to further shield from tax the important value add and capital that mining companies bring to mineral extraction.

Further shield” it?!  When they are already applying the tax “close to” the point of its lowest value?!

Ignore if you can all the other write-offs and deductions for a moment. What this “extraction allowance” really means is that GilSwan have not only agreed to tax the ore at or near its lowest value. They have also agreed to an effective tax rate of only 22.5%. Not the headline 30%.

In other words, this so-called “super profits tax” will be applied at 25% less than the standard company tax rate that even my own small business has to pay!

But where the now-familiar Labor descent into complete farce reaches its denouement, is when we get to the Treasury department’s modelling:

How the MRRT works

The following example is intended to illustrate how the MRRT will apply to iron ore and coal projects, commencing after 1 July  2012.

The example presents outcomes for a single project company with an equity financed mine that operates for 5 years.  The company is assumed to invest $1 billion in the first year of the project.  Over the life of the project the pre‐tax rate of return (revenue less operating and investment costs) is 50 per cent.

Click to enlarge

As my mining industry source assured, the modelled assumptions are beyond fantastic.

They are positively delusional.

The Treasury assumes this fairytale mining company begins to show “Revenue” of $520 million at Year 2 (see table). In the real world, a start-up mining project typically absorbs 5-10 years of losses before they even begin productive operations. My mining industry source pointed out that he has never heard of any mining company ever going from zero revenue to half a billion in a single year.

The Treasury also assumes this fairytale company has Year 2 operating expenses of 25% of revenue, and 25.5% at Year 6. Again … unheard of figures.

Back to the modelling:

The MRRT is levied at a rate of 30 per cent of the operating margin (revenue less operating and investment costs) less the MRRT allowance and the extraction allowance.  The MRRT allowance is calculated as the value of unused losses uplifted by an allowance rate equal to the long term government bond rate plus 7 per cent…

When we look at Year 4 in the example, the year in which Treasury has modelled the first MRRT “profit” (an inconceivable $436m), we find another problem. It is unclear whether Treasury has modelled “Revenue” as being Company revenue, or, as the “extraction point” value of the ore. If, as appears likely, the modelled “Revenue” figure is actually Company revenue, then on this point alone Treasury’s modelling is gravely flawed. Company revenue has nothing to do with the value of the ore at the “extraction point”. Meaning, the Treasury figures are nonsense.

Indeed, my mining industry source described them as “totally made up and have no resemblance to reality”.

Rather like Treasury’s modelling for “green jobs” (see one of 2011’s most popular posts, Barnaby Bamboozles Chief Of Climate Change Modelling Unit … Again).

Back to the MRRT modelling:

State royalties are assumed in this example to be equal to 7.5 per cent of sales revenue and are credited against the MRRT liability to produce the net MRRT liability. Where royalty payments exceed the MRRT liability in any one year, the balance is uplifted at the allowance rate to be offset against future MRRT liabilities…

We’ve left the issue of how the MRRT impacts on the payment of State mining royalties until now, to avoid complication. This is already a source of political angst between the governments of the mining states, and the Federal government. For the purposes of our look at the modelling, however, it’s pretty simple. The GilSwan grand plan grants a 100% credit for State mining royalties paid by the mining company.

In summary then, the MRRT is essentially calculated as follows:

MRRT 30% x Operating Margin (ie, Revenue calculated “close to Extraction Point”, less Operating costs)

less 100% write-off of construction costs

less write-off of unutilised losses

less 100% write-off of construction costs of acquired companies/projects

less write-off of unutilised losses of acquired companies/projects

less write-down of “market value” of existing assets over 25 years, OR

less write-down of “current written down book value” of existing assets (less the value of the resource) at an accelerated rate over 5 years

less Extraction Allowance (25%)

less 100% State Royalty credit

It all begs the question … from where is the government’s claimed $11.1bn in MRRT revenue ever going to come from?

Treasurer Swan has claimed that “the vast bulk of MRRT will be paid by the big three”.

But in reality, given all the write-offs and concessions, the big miners will pay nothing for many years. If ever.

As Fortescue’s Andrew Forrest has affirmed.

So then, of GilSwan’s originally alleged “2,500 mining companies” in Australia, just who exactly are these “estimated 20-30” (small) iron and coal miners who will be earning profits of $75m per annum from July 2012?

Especially given that the boom in commodity prices has now peaked … and plummeted?

Others are asking the same question:

“Is this for real?

“Firstly, what 2500 companies are mining in Australia? There is NO WAY the number is that high unless one counts every Pty Ltd quarry and sand pit and borrow pit. Even then, it is an extraordinary figure and I cannot believe for one minute that it is real.

“But secondly, Gillard says only 320 iron and coal companies were captured under the MRRT. Really? Are there really 300-plus coal companies? Because as far as I know, there are only about 14 iron ore companies. And if you believe those figures to be true (i.e 320 dropping to around 30) that means that there are 290 iron ore and coal mining companies that are operating at an annual profit of between $50m and $75m since that is the only difference between MRRT Mk 1 and MRRT Mk 2. This is patently absurd.”

The broader point here is that there is just not a whole lot in the sustaining rhetoric of the MRRT that stands a cold hard reality check. Yet the government continues to represent the tax as a great leap forward in the commonwealth’s chase for a fairer share of the resources boom.

It isn’t.

As colleague David Uren made clear in his insightful dismantling of a tax “so compromised by its bastard birth that it puts the commonwealth budget at risk and cannot be considered an economic reform”.

Uren observed that a 20 per cent fall in commodities prices would wipe out the government’s MRRT revenue and leave it stumping up for the $4.5bn of recurrent spending commitments that were supposed to be funded from the fairer share.

And folks I am here to tell you that this is exactly the scenario that the government is facing.

The sustained retreat of iron ore and coal prices means that big mining is now some months past peak cashflows.

Indeed.

With the China bubble deflating, iron ore and coking coal spot prices are currently trading around 30% below their 2011 peaks:

Source: RBA Chart Pack, Dec 2011 | Click to enlarge

At least the Coalition is aware of the budget risk. Even if they too appear not to have twigged to what is a blindingly obvious extension of logic – that the MRRT is designed to help the Big 3 multinationals increase their profits, and their monopoly:

“There are serious question marks over who will pay what and when under Labor’s mining tax deal,” Shadow Assistant Treasurer Mathias Cormann said.

“FMG says it won’t pay any MRRT for a number of years given the tax design features favouring larger miners,” he said.

“There are credible suggestions that the big three miners who had exclusive access to the Prime Minister and the Treasurer to design the mining tax behind closed doors won’t pay any MRRT for years either.

No wonder the big three say they are happy with the MRRT, while the smaller local miners are not.

“Wayne Swan has consistently refused to release the commodity price and production volume assumptions used to estimate MRRT revenue claiming that they’re based on commercial-in-confidence data provided by the big three miners.

“So not only are the big three miners allowed to design the tax to suit their needs, they’re also the only ones allowed to know the governments mining tax revenue assumptions. That’s just not good enough.

Even on the government’s own figures, the mining tax package is a fiscal train wreck in the making.

The Great Big Mining Tax … that isn’t.

As my kind mentor concluded:

“This bill was drafted BY miners, FOR miners”

“I think the miners and their accountants outsmarted Gillard and Swan, and bamboozled them with mining jargon”

The miners in reality love it.” 

Greens’ supporters … welcome to the Pit of Despair.

“What did this do to you? Tell me. And remember, this is for posterity so, be honest. How do you feel?”

Mining Tax Con – Another Huge Hole In The Budget?

3 Dec

Yesterday your humble blogger received information from an experienced mining industry source concerning the Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT).

Information that represents potential dynamite to the Gillard government.

Blasting a huge hole in a budget that is already shot to hell.

This industry source suggests that Gillard and her pack of no-business-experience-disconnected-from-reality incompetents, along with the equally disconnected-from-reality “modellers” in the Treasury department, have been comprehensively conned by the clever accountants and lawyers  of the Big Miners.  This source believes the design of the legislation is fatally flawed; so much so, that a consequence of the last minute change to a key threshold made by Gillard to gain the support of Andrew Wilkie to pass the bill, means that the government now may not receive any revenue from their MRRT at all. Or at the least, it may be quite a number of years before they even begin receiving any.

I have some serious follow-up research to do before bringing readers this story in full.

Stay tuned.

Loss-Making Tax “A Complete And Utter Fiasco”

24 Nov

The gummint has passed its Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) through the Lower house.

But only after “negotiating” deals with the Greens and Independents that … incredibly … actually render this great big new tax a net loss-maker for the government bottomline.

More on that in a moment.

But first, we bring you the brilliance of Barnaby Joyce’s well-justified mockery:

SABRA LANE: This was supposed to be the so-called “sunshine parliament” but a deal done last night to secure the Green’s support in the Lower House to pass the mining tax has the Opposition claiming dirty deals and the Green’s leader Bob Brown sounding sorry.

BOB BROWN: I apologise to people in the media and in the public who want to know about this but that’s the nature of the arrangement we have with the Government. And it will be, the details will be forthcoming and the Government’s got good reasons for not wanting to reveal it.

SABRA LANE: The Greens are still reserving their rights in the Senate, prompting the leader of the Nationals in the Senate, Barnaby Joyce, to go on the attack this morning.

BARNABY JOYCE: Every time we see the Labor Party do a deal, this tune starts going through my head and goes something like this: Da da dada da da dada… because we’ve got – it’s Monty Python.

It’s Monty Python. It’s Monty Python, it’s The Life of Brian.

We’ve got Bob Brown, Bob Brown who is like leader of the Judean front. “What have the Romans done for us?” What has the mining industry done for us? What have the – oh aqueducts, kept us out of recession, supported our standard of living.

You know, “What have the Romans done for us?” We’ve got Terry Jones, you know, Terry Jones is obviously Tony Windsor. “It’s not the Messiah, it’s just a naughty boy.” You know, he’s out the front there.

They’re not the Messiah, they’re just naughty boys.

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Senator Joyce. Senator Joyce, could I just remind you to refer to senators and members by their correct titles.

BARNABY JOYCE: Okay and of course, you know, we’ve got Mr Rob Oakeshott, the Member for Lyne, who reminds me of Eric Idle. He’s always looking on the bright side of life, no matter what’s happening.

Graham Chapman, well that’s obviously Andrew Wilkie. And Michael Palin is Mr Adam Bandt.

But see the problem is it’s just a fiasco. We have no idea who’s running the show. It’s a complete and utter fiasco. In fact as we speak I look at a quote from Senator Bob Brown: “We’re very disappointed when the Government reached an agreement with Andrew Wilkie.”

Well we can’t have someone usurping his position as being the nuttiest person in the palace. No, that’s all his position.

Barnaby is right.

It’s a complete and utter fiasco.

Here’s what Alan Kohler (ABCTV News Finance) had to say about the MRRT, in Business Spectator (reproduced in full, emphasis added … and h/t Twitter follower @John_Poelwyk):

Mourning Gillard’s mining disaster

Australia’s effort to levy extra taxes on mining companies has been an unmitigated debacle, capped by the passage early this morning of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax with a further last-minute compromise.

It is one of the great lose-lose outcomes. We can only hope the Senate knocks it back.

To get the vote of Andrew Wilkie, the Member for Denison, a seat about as far from mining as it’s possible to get, the government increased the profit threshold at which the tax kicks in, from $50 million to $75 million.

This is now a deficit tax – it will cost more in concessions to get it passed than it will raise in new revenue. That gap widened by about $100 million last night with the Wilkie amendment.

There are two big problems with the MRRT: state mining royalties can be offset against it and an increase in superannuation has been shackled to it.

A resources rent tax was proposed in the Henry Tax Review of 2009 as part of a package of measures designed to deal with the pressure the resources boom was putting on non-mining industries.

The idea was to replace ad valorem mineral royalties on mine production volumes with a rent tax on profits because governments weren’t sharing in the big increase in commodity prices that increased the terms of trade and therefore the currency.

There was, and is, a fundamental disconnect between the terms of trade boom that was killing manufacturing and tourism and the tax revenue governments were getting from it because royalties are levied on volume not price.

The Henry proposal involved a 40 per cent extra resources rent tax and a reduction in company tax to 25 per cent, plus a series of depreciation and capital allowance benefits for manufacturers and other small businesses.

The last time there was a sustained terms of trade boom in Australia, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a result of gold, wheat and wool exports, the policy response involved regulating wages through the Harvester Judgement and then imposing a tariff on imports to protect manufacturing. This so-called Australian Settlement had the effect of insulating manufacturing from the terms of trade and its effect on the currency but led to a gradual, disastrous decline in competitiveness.

It’s worth pointing out that the United States had the same terms of trade problem 100 years ago but chose not to protect manufacturing, with the result that it became the great manufacturing powerhouse, only eventually destroyed in the 21st century by China’s currency manipulation.

In the 1970s and 1980s Australia removed tariff protection and centralised wage fixing, so that the new terms of trade boom – ironically resulting from China’s defeat of America’s manufacturing supremacy – leaves Australian manufacturing entirely exposed to its effects.

Former Treasury Secretary Ken Henry had been banging on about the two-speed economy problem for years, and the Future Tax System review that he chaired contained his solution: a resources rent tax to be spent on reducing company tax. Without wage regulation and tariffs there is no other way to protect manufacturing from the effects of the mining boom.

But the Labor government has managed to completely mess it up.

First the Resources Super Profits Tax was plucked out of the Tax Review by Wayne Swan and Kevin Rudd and dumped on the miners by surprise. They revolted and won.

Then Julia Gillard negotiated a lower tax on iron ore and coal with BHP, Rio Tinto and Xstrata so that only the smaller companies with smaller advertising budgets would complain. As part of that, she was forced to allow existing mineral royalties to be deducted from the tax, which totally negated the idea of replacing ad valorem royalties from a tax on profits.

And then, to make the whole exercise completely pointless, she tied it to an increase in the superannuation guarantee levy from 9 per cent to 12 per cent.

That increases manufacturing costs instead of reducing them, and vastly increases the cost of the exercise to the federal budget.

According to Brian Toohey in this morning’s Financial Review, the cost to the budget of the extra superannuation tax deductions will be $4.2 billion in 2019-20. The total cost of the concessions connected to the MRRT will be $9.4 billion in that year – less than a third of which is paid for by the revenue to be collected from the MRRT.

In the 2012-13 financial year, in which the budget is supposed to return to surplus, the net cost of the MRRT package – revenue minus giveaways – is $1.7 billion.

It is, in short, a joke. Everybody loses. It was an idea designed to help Australia deal with the terms of trade boom that has been bastardised by politics into a complicated impost on mining that achieves nothing at all and in fact worsens the position of everyone involved.

Business as usual then, for the Green-Labor-Independent comedy show.

Comedy?

Why not.

This show really has gotten so bad that if you don’t laugh you’ll …. ?

Barnaby: Who Is Running The Show?

21 Nov

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 21 November 2011:

Well I have just watched my nation’s Parliament at work. Not in the Cabinet or the Chamber but in the Senate Courtyard rolling press conferences.

The result of the Mining Resource Rent Tax vote was that it was off  because of some stumbling Windsor position on CSG when in reality, as he always does, he was going to rollover for Labor so as expected he had a chat then he changed his mind and it was back on, then Oakeshott said that he was sort of where Windsor was with something random about the Henry Tax Review, then Wilkie said it was on but different and then Bob Brown said it was off if Wilkie’s different position was on.

Yes we can run a country like this, this is totally politically sane. After another two years of this chaos the best we will be able to say about our government is that it is very entertaining.

Very similar to: What is your surgeon like? Well there are a fair few of them and they argue a lot about what they are going to cut off but they are very, very entertaining.

Why I Hang Farther To The Left Than Bob Brown

18 Aug

Got your attention with that headline?

Good.

Because on the topic of Australia’s last remaining real source of wealth – “our” natural resources – and, on the directly related topic of who should own them, you may be shocked to learn that your humble blogger hangs waaaaaaaay way out there on the so-called “left”.

With the likes of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Russian Prime Minister and former President Vladimir Putin.

And the government of Norway – which consistently ranks as the happiest nation on earth, and, the most prosperous.

[You see, when you are not beholden to group-think, and the false Left vs Right paradigm, then you can author what the Fairfax media called a “tribute site”, dedicated to supporting the debt-and-deficit views of a so-called “extremist” “far right” politician, and yet, hold “far left” views on other specific issues.  Independent, issue-by-issue critical thinking is a wonderful thing.]

Explanation to follow.

First though, a little background via this media release from Senator Barnaby Joyce, 17 August 2011 (my emphasis added):

Some towns are more equal than others

The Queensland Labor party obviously believes that all towns are equal but some towns are more equal than others.

I note that Queensland Natural Resources Minister Rachael Nolan is already backtracking from the Labor party’s decision to only ban mining within 2 kilometres of towns with more than 1000 people.

Ms Nolan also attacked the Federal Coalition saying that:

This government does not believe that landholders are entitled to the resources beneath the ground. They have never been and to change that now would represent a massive windfall to the agricultural class, to the detriment of those who own the resources now – that is, all of us.*

Ms Nolan is wrong. It is concerning that a Minister does not seem to understand the basic aspects of her portfolio.

Farmers in Queensland owned the petroleum and gas resources under their property until 1915, when the Queensland Government took them off them to protect the resources for the crown during World War I. From my latest investigations I think World War I has finished but the resources were never handed back to farmers.

To quote from section 4 of the Petroleum Act 1915:

… it is hereby declared that petroleum on or below the surface of all land in Queensland, whether alienated in fee simple or not so alienated from the Crown, and if so alienated whensoever alienated, is and always has been the property of the Crown.

Resources have been taken in other states in even more recent times, with the last being the NSW Coal Acquisition Act in 1981.

If Ms Nolan does not believe me, perhaps she would believe former NSW Premier Neville Wran, who stated in his second reading speech on the Coal Acquisition Bill 1981:

The proposal is not without precedent. In 1938 a Tory government in the United Kingdom acquired all coal then in private ownership. In 1953 the Menzies Government resumed all minerals, then in private ownership, in the Northern Territory.

In 1971 South Australia followed suit and acquired privately owned minerals. All petroleum in New South Wales was vested in the Crown without compensation, by the Petroleum Act, 1955 …

* Ludlow, M., Dunckley, M and Kerr, P. 2011, ‘Mining ban expands’, Australian Financial Review, p. 5.

As a fine, upstanding, and outstanding representative of the interests of the rural community, Senator Joyce advocates strongly for the rights of farmers and rural landowners. Especially of late, in their critical challenges with mining interests seeking to explore for Coal Seam Gas (CSG) resources beneath their land, placing our food and water security at risk.

I strongly support the rational, objective, common sense basic position put forward by both Senator Joyce and the Greens – that agricultural land should be very carefully protected against any risks from the mining sector’s activities.

Indeed, I support going even further than either Barnaby or the Greens on this issue.

Why?

There are no “resources” more vital to human existence, than water #1, and food #2.

If proposed mining activities pose any plausible risk to water and/or food security, then protection of our water and ability to grow our own food must always take top priority.

To argue otherwise, you must either be an idiot. A troll. Suicidal. And/or genocidal. There are no other options.

Where I differ with (or perhaps hold a more nuanced position than) Senator Joyce – and most definitely differ with the Australian Greens – is over the question of how best to maximise the benefits for all Australians of our Great South Land’s natural resources.

Senator Joyce is quite rightly concerned with the rights of rural landowners.

The Greens appear to be concerned with the protection of agricultural land – as should we all.  But in truth, the Greens are far more interested in taxing the crap out of the mining companies, whilst paying hypocritical lip service to the quasi-religious notion of “stopping catastrophic climate change”.

I am interested in the national (human) interest.

So, I advocate for nationalisation of Australia’s mineral, petroleum, and natural gas resources.

In our world of facile, intellectually-lazy “labelling” of every one and every thing (in lieu of reasoned, nuanced thought), that viewpoint places me right out there on the “extreme left”. Yes, right alongside “evil” socialists like Hugo Chavez.

And the government and people of Norway – the happiest and most prosperous nation (per capita) on earth.

Why is Norway so happy and prosperous?

One very big contributing reason, is that the Norwegian government nationalised their North Sea oil reserves decades ago, and has retained tight control over this vital resource sector ever since, including via the 67% government-owned StatOil. Profits are returned to a now-massive sovereign wealth fund, on behalf of all the citizens of Norway.

(This is used to finance what many would label a “welfare state”; the generally-understood definition of which I do not broadly support – another nuance, for another time).

Beginning in 2007, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez moved in the same direction. He began an ongoing nationalisation drive, stripping foreign-owned companies of control over vital national resources, especially Venezuela’s vast oil reserves, along with food and key industrial production.

(The fact that it was predominantly US multi-national petroleum companies who lost out as a result of Chavez’s actions goes a very long way towards explaining the true reason why he is painted as an “evil” “insane” “socialist” villain by Western politicians and lapdog mainstream media … and thus, why you probably believe Chavez is all bad, and all wrong. How dare he be more concerned with the national interest of Venezuelans, than with the profits of multi-nationals or the deceitful ideologies of “free trade” and “globalisation”!)

In Australia, we have a ridiculous, unintelligent, ill-considered, short-sighted, shallow, and polarised “debate” over national resources.

Many argue for a mining “super profits” tax, to help “spread the wealth” of our here-today-gone-forever-tomorrow mineral resources, via a sovereign wealth fund.

Others mount high-minded, impressive-sounding arguments against this.

Many argue for restrictions on foreign ownership of Australia’s resources, including prime agricultural land.

Others mount high-minded, impressive-sounding arguments against this.

Those who argue against restrictions on foreign ownership of vital Australian resources include the treasonous “independent” Reserve Bank:

The Reserve Bank has warned that the economy’s increasing reliance on mining exports has left it more vulnerable to global downturns but suggests foreign ownership of the sector could help reduce those risks.

A paper co-authored by RBA assistant governor Philip Lowe and presented at the bank’s annual conference highlighted the benefits of foreign investment in mining at a time of intense political scrutiny of the industry’s ownership and profits.

The Greens correctly point out the fact that it is foreign-owned interests who benefit most from our country’s “poor white trash of Asia”, quarry-to-the-world status:

In June, Greens leader Bob Brown used a National Press Club address to slam the size of mining payouts to offshore investors and demand higher taxes on the industry to ensure Australians received their fair share.

He released research showing that $50 billion in mining company dividends would end up in overseas hands over the next five years — far more than the government’s watered-down mining tax would collect for taxpayers over the same period.

“Most of Treasury’s planned super-profits tax is now due to end up in the deep, deep pockets of millionaires in Switzerland, London, Calcutta and Beijing, rather than in Australian schools, hospitals or railways,” Senator Brown said at the time.

The Greens’ solution?

A bigger mining tax.

This sort of small-minded, tax-and-spend idiocy typifies the problems with our country.

Our politicians huff and puff a lot of high-minded hot air. While doing sweet FA, or at best, tinkering around the edges of critical issues.

Because most do not really have the national interest at heart.

They mostly have only their own interest at heart.

It does not have to be this way, dear reader.

Look at the example of Norway.

Then look at Bob Brown’s comment I’ve bolded in the above quote.

And ask yourself a simple question –

“Why dick around with half-arsed ‘solutions’ like mere “bigger taxes” on foreign-owned interests who are profiting off our national resources? If you’re serious about our national interests, then why not go the full monty – just like Norway and so many others – and nationalise our vital national resources?!”

Let us be quite clear.

My views on the topic of foreign “investment” (ie, ownership) of vital Australian natural resources, is far more than just “far Left”.

It is not automatically an anti-capitalist, anti-“free market” (a myth which has never existed, by the way), anti-liberty, anti-democratic, or anti-freedom position.

Instead, it is a nuanced viewpoint.

I strongly support the rights of Aussie landowners to have their livelihoods protected against risks from mining exploration/extraction.

I strongly support the absolute, unequivocal primacy of protecting agricultural land and water resources, over and above the interests of mere mining profits (you can’t eat and drink coal or iron ore, or the profits from them either).

I strongly support just and proper compensation for landowners wherever their property and/or livelihood may be impacted by the activities of other industries.

I strongly support the right of all Australians and their descendants, to enjoy peace of mind thanks to assured, long term water and food security, above all other “economic” considerations.

And, I strongly support the right of Australian citizens and their descendants, to have their interests protected (by their elected government) against the redistribution of wealth from the soil of our land, into the already-bloated bank accounts of foreign interests.

At the end of the day, that is the very heart of the matter.

All the confusion, and rhetoric, and theory, and ideology, and spirit-sapping noise over the relative alleged pros and cons of mining/agriculture/taxes/”free”-markets/socialism/capitalism … is all just a great big load of intellectual onanist #JAFA crap, that only serves to achieve one thing, whether intended or accidental.

It keeps our nation divided into warring tribes, all squabbling over red herrings … while the Big Fish make off with our big fish under the cover of theoretical, ideological, and philosophical darkness.

Why piss about arguing over the merits/demerits of a mere “tax” on foreign-owned mining companies?

Why piss about arguing over how big or small such a “tax” should or should not be?

If you really believe your own rhetoric … that Australia’s natural resources are vital to our national interest … then why not back your conviction with action, put your balls on the block, and simply nationalise the lot?

Despite what you have been led to believe, this is not a far out, “extremist” idea at all.

See for yourself the long list of countries – many of them iconic so-called “capitalist”, “free-market” countries like the USA and the UK – who have all nationalised key resources, infrastructure, and/or industries, for their national interest.

Of course, to do so here in Australia would require a government of adults. Not the current crowd of self-serving, incompetent halfwits … on both sides of the House.

Which is why I also advocate that we change the electoral laws, to only allow real adults to run for public office.

And, it is why I advocate above all for fundamental monetary reform. A complete decentralisation of the power of “money” and “credit”. Thus rendering moot the inane, archaic, 19th century, debunked-by-reality “free market” “capitalist” arguments of the RBA and the banking sector et al that we “need” “foreign investment”. Because when the RBA, the banking industry, #JAFA economists, and/or politicians say that we “need” foreign “investment” “capital”, what they are really saying is this –

You ‘need’ to remain slaves … to foreign credit-suppliers”.

You see, dear reader, the reason why I advocate these “far out” solutions, is because I am Australian.

I believe national sovereignty stands in the way of transnational tyranny.

And I believe that to continue selling the farm, and/or what is under the farm, into the hands of foreign interests (whether ‘national’, ‘multi-national’, or ‘private’) under the guise of “foreign investment”, is both 100% unnecessary, and not in our national interest.

To quote another infamous political figure … “I make no apologies for that.”

UPDATE:

And in timely overnight news, the gold price jumps on revelations that the “evil” “leftist” Mr Chavez will nationalise Venezuela’s gold industry –

Gold settled at record highs today after Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said he planned to nationalise the country’s gold industry.

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez said today he plans to nationalise the country’s gold industry in a move to take over production and grow international reserves.

Speaking on state television via telephone, the leftist leader said he would be introducing a new decree to put exploration and extraction of gold into the government’s hands.

It will be “a decree to take the gold sector,” which still remains in the hands of a “mafia and smugglers,” Mr Chavez said.

“We don’t only have oil wealth, we have here one of the largest reserves of gold in the world … Let’s convert it into our international reserves because gold is increasing in its value.”

Mr Chavez also plans to move the country’s existing gold reserves out of European banks and into vaults owned by the country’s central bank. Venezuela’s official gold reserves, of 365.8 tonnes as of June, make it the 15th largest gold holder in the world according to the World Gold Council. The Latin American country is well behind the US, which leads the pack with 8113.5 tonnes, and second place, Germany, at 3401.0 tonnes.

Vast oil reserves.

A gold industry.

A President with brains and balls.

Lots and lots of pretty women.

Venezuela’s lookin’ better ‘n better all the time 😉

By the way, how does Australia compare with Venezuela for official gold reserves?

Badly.

Less than 80 tonnes, compared with Venezuela’s 365.8 tonnes.

Why?

Yes, all thanks to our stupid/treasonous Reserve Bank, who sold off most of our reserves early this century in a blunder to top all their (many) blunders:

Just over ten years ago, Australia’s central bank the RBA sold off most of the countries gold reserves under the belief that the price of gold would continue to remain flat, and that as an asset, it would no longer play any role in the future financial system, or any crises that may result.

A paper written by the central bank which recommended selling off the gold reserves conceded that that asset whilst the assets served as “insurance against a breakdown in the international financial system”, it was not necessary to hold.

The central bank’s justification for reducing its gold reserves so drastically was that gold represented a poor investment, and Australia had successfully integrated itself into global financial markets, and that it need not worry about access to those markets during a financial crisis.

Since the sale of the gold reserves the global financial systems has experienced severe stress on a number of different occasions, starting with the implosion of the technology bubble at the start of the millennium followed by the September 11th terrorist attacks, and more recently the global financial crisis in 2008.

The price of the precious metal over that time frame has risen spectacularly and the asset has begun to play an increasingly important role in the global financial system since the  financial crisis.

The central bank argued that continuing development of financial system meant that circumstances which would require Australia to call upon our gold holdings for economic reasons looked increasingly remote.

Idiots.

Or traitors.

In either case, the RBA should be disbanded.

End the RBA.

Follow the lead of Hugo Chavez.

Gillard “Mad Dog’s Breakfast” Devours Australia For Benefit Of Foreign Interests

16 Jun

Have you stopped to think carefully … and deeply … about why a (supposedly) democratic and (supposedly) poll-driven government persists with pushing through big “tax” policies, when polls consistently prove that the majority of citizens oppose them?

Is it really a matter of high-minded “belief” and “principle”?

Or, is it really about something far more low-brow and prosaic – selling out Australia for the benefit of big foreign interests.

One only need pause to scratch below the surface of the political rhetoric, and reflect carefully on the evidence, for the answer to become crystal clear.

From The Australian, June 15, 2011 (emphasis added):

Mr Forrest [head of local Aussie miner Fortescue Metals] slammed the draft laws for the mineral resources rent tax, released on Friday, as a “mad dog’s breakfast” that would benefit Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Xstrata at the expense of the smaller, local miners – and that could trigger legal action if it went unchanged.

“I think there are many companies, a government or two, and ourselves, who will mount a High Court challenge,” Mr Forrest said.

“It is not my preference. My preference is to speak to the Treasurer, explain to him that the reason why the multinationals agreed to this tax in just three days from (Julia) Gillard being appointed (Prime Minister) was because they were protected from it and everyone else had to pay.”

The Gillard government’s carbon dioxide “tax” scheme is designed with exactly the same malevolent, Australia-loathing intent as the mining tax.

Global mining giant BHP Billiton’s South African CEO, Marius Kloppers, has been directly and intimately involved in the by-invitation-only, closed-doors negotiation over the design of both of our Green-Labor government’s great big new “tax” schemes.

Consider very carefully what Kloppers has angled for, in his sweetheart deal with Gillard on the carbon dioxide “tax”.

From The Australian, September 16, 2010:

A(nother) key consideration would be to give industries exposed to the tax a rebate, Mr Kloppers said, because without a global price, these companies would become uncompetitive and might consider shifting polluting assets to countries without a carbon tax.

Sounds reasonable, right?

Wrong.

It’s a sneaky, deceitful, anti-competitive, market-monopolising ploy. One that would completely absolve BHP of any costs at all under the “carbon tax”, while penalising all of their smaller competitors – our local, up-and-coming Aussie miners.

Which is why our much-maligned local Aussie businessman (and indigenous philanthropist of the first order), Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, was on to this scam like a flash.

From the Herald Sun, Sept 22, 2010 (emphasis added):

Mr Forrest said that Mr Kloppers’ carbon tax plan was designed to help BHP.

“He says you get a complete rebate if you are an exporter. BHP is a total exporter so he is embedding a tax that will be paid for by everyone else, a la the minerals resource rent tax.”

Consider too, the recent Open Letter by “13 leading economists” in favour of a carbon dioxide “pricing mechanism”.

10 / 13 of whom are directly connected to the banking industry.

An Open Letter whose leading light, former ANZ bank economist Saul Eslake, is now employed by the Grattan Institute.  An “independent public policy think-tank”.  One that was set up and funded by the Australian Government… and BHP Billiton.  An “independent” institute featuring none other than … you guessed it … BHP Billiton’s Marius Kloppers on its Board of directors.

“Independent” my @$$!

Let there be no misunderstanding.

Everything that this government does, is done with the deliberate intention of weakening our country – destroying our local industries, impoverishing households, and weakening our government financial position.

Why?  Because our every act of wilful economic self-harm, has benefits for non-local (ie, foreign) interests.

The evidence is unmistakable.

They really are, quite literally, selling us out.

Once upon a time, what they are doing was called “treason”.

And punished accordingly.

The MRRT and the proposed “carbon pricing mechanism” have both been deliberately designed – and secretly negotiated – to place an unfair burden only on local Aussie companies.  To the benefit of the monster multinationals such as BHP Billiton and RIO.

The carbon dioxide “tax” / trading scheme is deliberately designed to destroy our nation’s natural low-cost energy advantage (coal-fired power).  To the benefit of the international bankstering cartels such as Goldman Sachs and friends.

Consider also, this very interesting fact.

Our Green-Labor government does not even know – officially – who owns more than 60% of the $200 billion public debt they have racked up.

Now, the “independent” (there’s that word again) Reserve Bank of Australia “estimates” that 73% of our debt is owed to (unidentified) “non-residents” of Australia. But our government’s own department, the one that actually sells our debt, officially doesn’t have a clue.

The writing is on the wall, dear reader.

Because both of the two big economic “reforms” that are about to be legislated by our Green-Labor government – led by life-long “creeping communist” Julia Gillard – are designed to devour Australia.

For the benefit of foreign interests.

BHP’s 100% Carbon Tax Rebate, While You Pay Higher Electricity

2 May

Last Friday, the Independent MP Tony Windsor challenged BHP’s Marius Kloppers to “put up or shut up” on the carbon (dioxide) tax.  Barnaby Joyce immediately shot back that it is Windsor who should declare his hand on the issue, since he is one of the very few who can decide its fate in Parliament.

It’s worth taking a few moments to brush up on the history of the Gillard-BHP-carbon tax connection.

Just after the Gillard/Greens/Independent minority government was sworn in last year, Kloppers stepped out as the first Big Business leader in Australia to publicly advocate for a carbon tax.  But more recently, he’s been making noises that “appear” to argue in the opposite direction:

After the federal election, Mr Kloppers became the first chief executive of a major company to support a price on carbon.

He urged Australia to act before any international agreement in order to protect the nation’s long-term economic interests.

In China this week, he said Australia should not penalise its trade-exposed industries by imposing a carbon tax ahead of international competitors.

What is Kloppers really up to?

Simple.  He’s using the media to “negotiate” another sweet-heart deal for BHP.  Exactly a la the secret backroom deal-making over the terms of Gillard’s revised Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT).

What kind of sweet-heart deal?

These public comments from last September suggest Kloppers’ game plan:

A(nother) key consideration would be to give industries exposed to the tax a rebate, Mr Kloppers said, because without a global price, these companies would become uncompetitive and might consider shifting polluting assets to countries without a carbon tax.

At the time, Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, of the much smaller miner Fortescue Metals, was on to Kloppers’ strategy like a flash:

Mr Forrest said that Mr Kloppers’ carbon tax plan was designed to help BHP.

“He says you get a complete rebate if you are an exporter. BHP is a total exporter so he is embedding a tax that will be paid for by everyone else, a la the minerals resource rent tax.”

In future, whenever you hear Gillard and Combet et al parrotting on with smooth, soothing reassurances about how jobs will not be lost under their carbon (dioxide) tax because it will offer “protection for ‘trade-exposed’ industries”, just remember what ‘trade-exposed’ really means.

It’s double-speak.

If you’re BHP Billiton, it means a 100% rebate.  No pain.  Lots of gain (once the mega-$ accountants have performed their magic).

If you’re a small-to-medium size industry or exporter – without the lobbying muscle of a BHP – it means you’re about to get bent over.  Lots of pain.  No gain.

Kloppers’ carbon tax “exporter rebate” plan would place the onus on Australian consumers to pay dramatically higher electricity prices, while BHP would get a full rebate on any carbon tax that they might “have” to pay.  Meaning, BHP profits remain at a maximum.  Along with Kloppers’ own remuneration package, of course.

All the rest is pure smoke and mirrors.  Kloppers’ giving the appearance of possibly “wavering” or switching sides is pure gamesmanship.  Designed to maximise pressure on a weak minority government, to cave in to the greedy aspirations of Big (International) Business.

Same Old Labor Govt – Same Old Debt

9 Oct

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 4th October 2010:

Senator Barnaby Joyce says that the Labor government seems to be getting back to normal. “Our gross debt went up by $3 billion last week, the week before it went up by $4 billion. The gross Federal debt is now $163.152 billion.

This is the issue that should be front and centre of Labor Government’s attention, beyond private members bills for euthanasia, same sex marriage and a bid to cool the planet with a new carbon tax.

The reality is there in the numbers. The debt is racing ahead; it is not under control, it is not going to stop.

There is no argument for this profligate waste of money. How much money do we want to owe people overseas?

This money does not include the states’ debt which is on its miserable way to $240 billion, as noted in front page articles of recent weeks.

We also have to note now that local governments too are expected to borrow money.

If we do not get on top of the debt, these debts will get on top of us.

More Information – Jenny Swan 0746 251500

%d bloggers like this: