tony's corporate welfare program .....
Skim from the poor, give to the miners. Who’s really winning this election?
Let us begin with a question. Who is going to win the 2013 federal election?
If your answer is “Tony Abbott” or “the Coalition” you’re almost certainly right, but also only partially right.
For a bunch of other people are going to win as well. And a bunch of other people are going to lose.
Let’s start with the biggest winners. Mining companies. The Coalition’s long-delayed costings, released just two days before the election, show that clearly. (Or at least as clearly as this back-of-the-envelope, untested estimates show anything.)
The document released by the nervously sweating shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey, says the abolition of the mining tax will cost the federal Budget $3.7 billion in foregone revenue over four years.
Yes, we’re talking about the mining tax which was widely criticised as a dud revenue-raiser.
You might recall the history of this. The Rudd government first proposed a more ambitious tax on mining “super profits”, which led the industry to mount a $22 million ad campaign in protest.
You might recall poor, hard-done-by miners such as Gina Rinehart, current net worth about $22 billion, according to the BRW rich list; and Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, net worth just $3.66 billion, railing against the unfairness of it all.
The campaign worked; the Labor Government, under new PM Julia Gillard, was cowed into its watered-down Minerals Resource Rent Tax, originally forecast to bring the government $22.5 billion over four years.
Still, the $3.7 billion the Coalition is giving back to the miners is a fair chunk of change, particularly for a country which is allegedly, according to the Opposition mantra, experiencing a “budget emergency”. Why would the Liberal and National Parties be so set on the idea of giving it back?
Well, they will talk the miners’ book about promoting investment, and growing the economy, and things like that.
But a little mining (pardon the pun) of the Australian Electoral Commission political donations data suggests something else as well.
The Global Mail’s search of donations by 21 of the major mining companies and related industry bodies shows they have been extraordinarily generous to the conservative parties.
Since 1998, the Coalition parties have been gifted at least $4,136,437 from these interests, directly and through associated fundraising entities.
The ALP received a fraction of that at $613,962, and the Greens got nothing.