Essential Report

Rolling in Dough

Jun 25, 2012

As Gina continues on her “I, Gina” self-absorbed stomp, it’s always useful to keep in mind that a society always has the ultimate option: if rich people, or mining barons, don’t care about the national interest, they can just move somewhere else. And what is pretty clear is that most don’t, and won’t, because they have it good where they are–which brings us to the whinging about resources taxes.

Gina and her ilk–Clive Palmer and Twiggy Forrest come most quickly to mind–bring up the usual fiction heard around the world whenever higher taxes on the wealthy are pushed as a way of making sure a society sustains itself: it’s anti-business and hurts “us” from being competitive.

Well, to focus on just mining, that’s pure rubbish, as we learn from a pithy summary from Peter Colley, National Research Director at the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (we don’t have a link to a place it might be posted–we’re just privileged to get such gripping, novelistic American Idol-like fare sent our way…). As Peter writes:

One would think the mining companies were losing money when the overall picture for the mining industry globally is one of rude good health.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers, one of the global Big 4 accounting firms, in their annual survey of the mining industry summarised the good news for big mining companies:

“In 2011, the financial results for the Top 40 hit new heights”, it said, listing the following facts:

• Revenues increased 26% to over $700 billion

• Net profit was up 21% to $133 billion

• Operating cash flows grew 34% to $174 billion

• Investing cash flows grew 92%

• The Top 40 returned 156% more to shareholders than in 2010

• Total assets remained above $1 trillion and grew a further 13%.

Imagine that. They are rolling in dough. And it isn’t the case that the local barons, Gina and The Gang, would have it so much better in another place on the planet. Back to Peter:

At least 25 countries increased taxes and royalties on their mining industries, or announced intentions to do so. These include all the major mining nations – Canada, the USA, South Africa, Indonesia, Chile, Brazil, Colombia and even China and India.

These taxes and royalties are often far higher than in Australia – in Colombia they can reach 81% of coal mining profit, while in the oil and gas sector it is well known that Norway taxes almost all the profit of the North Sea oil industry – but what remains is still enough to keep the investors coming.

So, the proper response to “we’ll take our business elsewhere” should be, “what flight can we book you on?” The truth is that what Gina and The Gang are really up to is a extortion–but they aren’t holding much of a weapon. The resources are in the ground. You can’t take it with you. But, by all means, if life is so cruel for Gina and The Gang, the country should organize a collective farewell party, wave goodbye and invite others to do their business here.

UPDATE:

And we neglected to mention that Fortescue is out there whinging about the mining tax and, per the SMH, taking the government to court:

While large miners Rio Tinto and BHP were able to strike a deal with the federal government over the final scope of the tax, smaller miners including Fortescue and Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting have waged a fierce battle against the tax.

Fortescue has been threatening to challenge the MRRT in the High Court for months, arguing it is unfair and was been stitched up by the government in conjunction with the big miners.

A spokesman for the acting prime minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan said the challenge had not come as a surprise.

”Mr Forrest has made it clear that he is staunchly opposed to the government spreading the benefits of the mining boom to millions of households and small businesses who aren’t in the fast lane,” he said.

“The Gillard government believes Australia’s non-renewable natural resources belong to all Australians, not just to a handful of mining billionaires, and is determined to deliver the MRRT to ensure the Australian community shares in the benefits and opportunities of the mining boom.” [emphasis added]

To which we say: good on the government, and the Swanster for saying what needed to be said.


@jonathantasini

Trust in People and Organisations

Jun 18, 2012

Q. How much trust do you have that the following people or organisations can be relied on to act in the community’s interest?

 

Total a lot/some trust

Total little/no trust

A lot of trust

Some trust

A little trust

No trust

Don’t know

Net trust
Kevin Rudd

37%

56%

14%

23%

26%

30%

7%

-19

Malcolm Turnbull

33%

54%

8%

25%

29%

25%

14%

-21

Tony Abbott

29%

63%

10%

19%

20%

43%

7%

-34

Julia Gillard

26%

67%

8%

18%

22%

45%

6%

-41

Mining magnates like Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart

14%

73%

3%

11%

23%

50%

13%

-59

Australian companies

46%

47%

8%

38%

35%

12%

7%

-1

Banks

17%

66%

2%

15%

32%

44%

7%

-49

Foreign companies

8%

81%

1%

7%

24%

57%

10%

-73

There was a substantial lack of trust in all people and organisations tested with the exception of Australian companies – which split 46% a lot/some trust and 47% little/no trust.

For both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party, the current leaders were less trusted than the previous leaders. However, all political leaders were more trusted than mining magnates like Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart.

Among Labor voters, 58% had a lot/some trust in Julia Gillard and 58% had a lot/some trust in Kevin Rudd. Among Liberal/National voters, 58% had a lot/some trust in Tony Abbott and 44% had a lot/some trust in Malcolm Turnbull.

Approval of Overseas Workers

Jun 12, 2012

Q. The Federal Government recently gave approval to Gina Rinehart’s mining company to bring in 1,700 overseas workers. Do you approve or disapprove of overseas workers being brought in to work in Australia’s mining industry?

 

Total

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Total approve

16%

20%

19%

10%

Total disapprove

60%

55%

61%

58%

Strongly approve

3%

3%

3%

5%

Approve

13%

17%

16%

5%

Neither approve nor disapprove

20%

23%

18%

30%

Disapprove

25%

27%

25%

30%

Strongly disapprove

35%

28%

36%

28%

Don’t know

5%

3%

2%

2%

 16% approve of the Government’s approval for Gina Rinehart’s mining company to bring in 1,700 overseas workers and 60% disapprove.

A majority of all voter groups disapproved.

Highest approval came from men (20%), full-time workers (20%) and respondents aged 65+ (21%).

 

Impact of Gina Rinehart on Independence of Fairfax Newspapers

Feb 13, 2012

Q. Gina Rinehart (mining company owner and Australia’s wealthiest person) has recently bought a major stake in Fairfax newspapers (publishers of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age). Do you think this will make Fairfax newspapers reporting of politics and business more balanced and independent, less balanced and independent or will It make no difference?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens NSW Victoria
More balanced and independent 7% 7% 8% 6% 11% 5%
Less balanced and independent 31% 35% 22% 62% 33% 31%
Make no difference 44% 36% 55% 23% 38% 46%
Don’t know 19% 22% 15% 9% 18% 18%

44% think that Gina Rinehart’s purchase of a major stake in Fairfax will make no difference to the balance and independence of the newspapers. 31% think this will make the newspapers less balanced and independent and only 7% think the newspapers will become more balanced and independent.

Greens voters (62%) and respondents aged under 35 (37%) were most likely to think the newspapers will become less balanced and independent and Liberal/National voters least likely (22%).

Comments »

Pages:«12

COVID-19 RESEARCH

Read Essential's ongoing research on the public response to Covid-19.

Sign up for updates

Receive the Essential Report in your inbox.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.