Carlo's Corner: Will a billionaire's trials and tribulations never end?

May 17, 2013
Image: David Pope

Will the trials and tribulations of trying to be a decent, hardworking billionaire in this nation ever end?

First, coalmining magnate Clive Palmer told that billionaires “were oppressed” in Australia, and, when asked if he was serious, said: “Yes, I get ridiculed all the time.”

Shamefully, Palmer's brave denunciation of the injustices his people face merely brought more oppressive ridicule — while Amnesty International and the United Nations stayed silent, preferring to focus on such petty side issues like Australia's inhumane incarceration of asylum seekers or the apartheid-like Northern Territory intervention.

Australia's richest person, Gina Rinehart, has also had enough. She told the Australian Mines and Metals Association conference in Melbourne on May 17 that governments must stop using “miners” as an ATM: “What few seem to properly understand — even people in government — is that miners and other resources industries aren't just ATMs for everyone else to draw from without that money first having to be earned and, before that, giant investments are made.”

It is incredible, isn't it? It is as though some people think the source of Rinehart's wealth was something that just happened to occur naturally in the ground and her control over one chunk of the industry was due to the pure fluke of being born to a multi-millionaire iron ore magnate father.

It is really hard to know how Rinehart copes with the burdens the government puts on her. What, with Labor's mining tax bringing in a cool $126 million in its first six months, while tax offsets and deductions associated with the tax have actually left mining corporations billions of dollars in credit. Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting has a credit against the mining tax worth $1.16 billion.

It really is just “take, take, take” with this government.

What we have to grasp is that people like Rinehart are the “wealth creators”. This is much the same way that you are a “car creator” when you drive your car. You created that car and you make it move, and don't let any socialistic government bureaucrat claim the car exists independent of you and actually anyone could drive it, you just happened to have had enough cash to buy it from a dealer.

After all, if we asked the mining companies to actually pay more tax than they receive in government subsidies and offsets, they would simply up and leave and then where would we be? Stuck here with nothing but all of our nation's resource wealth and the infrastructure with which to mine it, that's where.

Sure Rinehart cannot actually say: “Screw this, I'm not an ATM! I shall no longer mine Australia's iron ore in Australia, I'll mine Australia's iron ore in Tanzania!” But just imagine where we would be without the sheer genius of the Rineharts and Palmers in charge of the industry.

Without all the hard work they invest into getting rich off our resources, this country would collapse in chaos.

Now, I don't want to take away from how much Palmer and Rinehart are suffering. I realise, as someone who earns less in a week than Rinehart does in a second, that I can never truly understand their oppression. But it does seem to me they do enjoy some perks.

For instance, they do seem to have the privilege of altering the English language at will. Rinehart, in her speech, refers to herself and fellow owners of large corporations as “miners”, and the media seem more than willing to go along — despite the fact there is little evidence Rinehart of Palmer have ever literally engaged in any actual mining.

If you got hold of Palmer's diary, for instance, you could open it at a random page and it will most likely read: “10am: Call a press conference to denounce CIA-Greens conspiracy to destroy Australia's economy.

“1pm: Call a press conference to discuss plans to turn the worst maritime tragedy in history into an exciting tourist attraction. Note to self — sing a song.

“4pm: Call a press conference to distance self from batshit crazy claims made at 10am press conference. Sing another song — perhaps Beyonce?”

At no point, on any day in any week in Palmer’s or Rinehart's diaries will there be an entry that reads: “Go to mine, help dig stuff up”, which, if you wanted to be technical about, is pretty much the actual dictionary definition of “mining”.

No, they don't earn their wealth through such petty things as actual work. Palmer and Rinehart are more ideas people. So, for God's sake, lay off and leave them alone, or they'll give up and leave us with nothing but full control over our nation's own mineral wealth.

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