Green Left fighting fund: Capitalism celebrates the obscenely wealthy

May 29, 2010

The obscenely wealthy have been celebrated again with the release of Business Review Weekly’s annual Rich 200 list. Sitting in top spot is Westfield Group chairperson Frank Lowy, whose personal fortune is estimated to be $5.04 billion. That's about 17,000 times our 2010 fighting fund target here at Green Left Weekly.

Coming in second is Gina Rinehart, chairperson of iron ore company Hancock Prospecting, with an individual fortune of $4.75 billion. That's the equivalent of more than 73,000 registered nurses earning $65,000 a year. But what a step forward for feminism. Of the 200 richest, 16 are women, meaning about 92% of the filthy rich are men.

Rinehart and others on the list who belong to the resources and mining sector are worth a combined $7.9 billion more than a year ago, says BRW. I guess we can all take heart in this, despite their contribution to carbon emissions that threaten life on Earth.

But we've discussed the mega-wealthy before. What astounds me is the wealth of “our” politicians. The average wealth of Labor Party MPs is $1 million. That's the average.

But these backbench battlers have nothing on their leader. According to BRW, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is worth $56 million. Kevin and wife Therese are one of Australia’s “working families” the ALP so cares about.

But not even Kevin has a pinch on our richest politician — Malcolm Turnbull is worth a cool $186 million, meaning with his personal wealth he could employ almost 4000 teachers for a year earning $50,000 each.

The average Liberal MP is worth $1.6 million, but Joe Hockey and wife Melissa Babbage are worth an estimated $4.4 million. No wonder these Liberals are so in touch with working people and the poor.

These figures are obscene. You have to laugh to counter the outrage. What kind of society celebrates these figures when so many go hungry, homeless and without care? We at GLW are working tirelessly to reverse this situation.

We are working towards a future that puts the needs of people and the planet before the profits of a tiny few — especially the tiny few in the resources and property sectors.

So far this year, we've raised $95,009 of our $300,000 fighting fund target. This amount is piddly compared with the amounts we’ve just discussed, but it means a great deal to us.

We rely on the generosity of hard working supporters of alternative media to survive, and with your help we can continue to put forward an independent alternative to the insanity celebrated by BRW.

We can continue to make change.

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