What is the price of the truth?

Issue 

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on August 30 revealed mining company profits rose 62.7% to $25 billion in just the three months to June 30.

Hopefully, those who fell for the hard luck stories of the mining billionaires when they were howling and screaming about the new Resource Super Profits Tax (RSPT) proposed by the former Rudd Labor government are now realising they were suckered.

Research commissioned by the Sydney Morning Herald and reported on July 2 showed “the mining industry spent at least $7 million on buying TV and radio air time and placing advertisements in newspapers, outspending the government by about two to one. And every cent tax deductible.”

The research revealed that 11 TV ads, “commissioned by just one organisation, the Minerals Council of Australia, were played 1011 times across free-to-air TV an average of 33 times a day”. At the end of this campaign, another $90 million remained in the miners’ war chest.

For this modest and tax deductible investment in professional lying, the mining giants got an instant payback when the ALP backed down (and unceremoniously replaced Kevin Rudd with Julia Gillard as prime minister). The share values of BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rose $600 million and $1.2 billion respectively once Gillard made the deal to kill the RSPT.

Lying is not just standard practice for big business, it is a big business — especially during election campaigns.

Some of the approximately 5 million people who voted for the Liberal-National Coalition might be realising they were also suckered, with the whole debt scare campaign and Tony Abbott's promise to pay back the debt. Selling that lie was great business for the media empires and advertising companies.

The Coalition spent an estimated $13.7 million in media advertisements, research by the Nielsen survey group said, pushing what has now been shown up by Treasury officials as an $11 billion lie.

The ALP spent an estimated $15 million on its own barrage of negative election advertising.

Lies, lies, lies. We are being deluged by millions of dollars worth of them every day.

What value do we put on telling the truth?

Green Left Weekly, a people-powered media project, aims to keep going this year with an annual fighting fund target of just $300,000 — $50,000 more than what the big mining companies spent a day on their anti-RSPT advertising campaign. How is that for a comparison?

The good news is that last week we passed the halfway point in our fundraising efforts. Our supporters have raised $152,037 so far. We have just another $147,963 to raise over the next four months to meet our target.

Please help us raise the rest with a donation this week — or, better still, commit to a regular donation.

Donate online today, or direct deposits can be made to Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, account no. 00901992. Otherwise, you can send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007 or phone a donation through on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia).

Comments

There is almost no chance of that. Few will find out about it. And if you tell them, many would disregard the information anyway if it does not come from an "authoritative" figure on the telly.