The miners have decided it is time to play the man not the ball, perhaps because they keep losing the debate whenever it revolves around the issues. Just consider what The Australia Institute has shown over the last few years:
1) the mining industry doesn’t employ many people
2) people think the mining industry employs a lot more people than it really does
3) the mining industry doesn’t pay much tax
4) people think that the mining industry pays a lot of tax
5) the mining industry destroys a lot of jobs in manufacturing, agriculture and tourism
6) people think that the mining industry creates a lot of indirect jobs rather than destroys them.
After a few years of hard work, many Australians now understand that, rather than riding on the miners’ back, large swathes of the Australian economy have been hard hit by the unseemly haste with which foreign mining companies want to dig up Australia’s resources.
It therefore comes as no surprise that the miners would take our recent research into subsidies so seriously. History tells them that we will likely win this debate as well. And, with your help, we can.
Mr Galilee’s article contains claims that are factually incorrect – claims that he chose not to ring me to check before he made them. But some of his allegations are true. Some of you may have heard rumours that I once worked for Senator Bob Brown and Senator Natasha Stott Despoja and, today, I can confirm that the statements on our website to that effect are true.
But his ridiculous assertion that ‘The Australia Institute is in fact a political organisation linked to the Greens,’ shows just how narrow his world view is. As a paid representative of one of the smaller employers in the country, it is perhaps understandable that Mr Galilee has not followed my criticisms of the Greens position on petrol tax, the carbon farming initiative, or even my scathing critique of their 2013 election performance. But you would think that if he wants to enter the world of political commentary he would do a bit of wider reading.
Similarly, Mr Galilee, without checking, asserts that the Institute ‘helped develop the clandestine document stopping the Australian coal export boom’ and that we were to receive $480,000 to play a role in such a campaign. Unfortunately, neither is true. As was reported at the time that the ‘clandestine’ proposal was published on the front page of the Australian Financial Review, I was never asked to be in the steering committee of any such campaign and, as reported at the time, I declared that I was, as a matter of principle, unwilling to be a member of any committees.
That said, it would be great if we had $480,000 to counter the lies and exaggeration that mar Australian public debate. Indeed, it would be great if we had ten per cent of that. So if you would like to see us win the debate about coal subsidies the way we have won the debate about the size of their employment and the harm they do to other industries it’s time, like the miners, to dig deep!
If we could find 100 new regular donors who made a tax deductible donation of $10 per week that would give us around 10 per cent of what the mining industry thinks we would need to take them on. But, do you know what, I reckon $48,000 would be plenty.
What the miners don’t realise is that it costs us far less to tell the truth than they pay people to make stuff up.
Tanya Martin Office Manager
Jake Wishart Senior Media Adviser