Fighting fund: Ker-ching time again

Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese.

Ker-ching! Its half-year profit time and those poor, tax-oppressed, big mining companies are announcing huge profit increases.

Rio Tinto announced a half-year net profit of $6.39 billion, up 260% from the same period last year. And this huge profit came even after the company reduced its net debt by a whopping $27 billion to $12 billion.

Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese on July 9 metaphorically displayed the head of deposed former PM Kevin Rudd on a pike as a warning to governments around the world not to contemplate following Rudd's failed attempt to introduce the Resource Super Profits Tax.

Xstrata, another big mining company, tripled its half-yearly profit to $2.5 billion. On August 2, a Medical Journal of Australia study reported that every nine days a child develops lead poisoning in the Xstrata mining town of Mount Isa, Queensland.

Two years ago, the Queensland Health tests showed 11% of the town's children had lead poisoning, and the researchers accused Xstrata and the Bligh government of doing nothing about it.

Several Mount Isa families are suing Xstrata — as well as the local and Queensland governments — over the lead contamination.

Soon other big mining companies will announce their half-year profits, as will the four big banks that dominate the Australian economy. You can be sure that more bottles of champagne are set to be popped in their boardrooms.

It is corporate profits first, and business as usual, while the ALP and the Coalition continue an election campaign based on fear and scapegoating the few desperate refugees who try to get to Australia on a leaky boat from Indonesia.

Morally and ecologically our society should not be allowed to go on like this. But there are powerful institutions that work day-in, day-out to ensure that the truth about how our society is run, who runs it and to what end, never sees the light of day.

One of these powerful institutions is Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd media empire. And guess what? It also announced a fat profit of US$2.74 billion in the year to June.

Ironically, News Ltd (which should really be called Lies Unlimited for accuracy) had its profit boosted by earnings from the popular sci-fi movie Avatar, which depicts the struggle of the natives of the imaginary planet Pandora against greedy human miners.

Back on our planet, Green Left Weekly is an important voice against a real tyranny — that of big business. We have a target to raise $300,000 this year and so far we have raised $137,426. We need your help to raise the rest with a donation, or better still, a commitment to a regular donation.

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