Something smelly has been swirling around Canberra lately, and I am not talking about Clive Palmer’s locker at Parliament House, which hazmat teams are still trying to contain. No, I am talking about the fetid stench of parliamentary politics under capitalism.
Some would have seen One Nation Senator-elect Malcolm Roberts' performance on ABC's Q&A on August 15. He went hammer and tong repeating ad nauseum that academics are doctoring the science, that the major science bodies are corrupt and that the science on climate change is anything but settled. Here is one small excerpt from his exchange with British physicist Brian Cox: Roberts: “I'm saying ... two things. First of all, that the [climate] data has been corrupted and we know that the 1930s were warmer than today.”
Will the trials and tribulations of trying to be a decent, hardworking billionaire in this nation ever end? First, coalmining magnate Clive Palmer told News.com.au that billionaires “were oppressed” in Australia, and, when asked if he was serious, said: “Yes, I get ridiculed all the time.”
Our persistent supporters who take Green Left Weekly out into the street week after week (yes, even on the chilliest of winter days) have received a few more smiles, nods and words of encouragement as, out there in the corporate media, the billionaire bosses have been mercilessly wielding the axe and whip. Our growing team of new volunteers for the Green Left TV project have also been warmly congratulated and encouraged. More people now appreciate the importance of the alternative media.
Media watchers should be forgiven for a degree of confusion over statements by federal treasurer and deputy prime minister Wayne Swan in the past two weeks. He began the month with a Press Club address, published in The Monthly’s March edition titled “The 0.01%” where he attacked “the rising power of vested interests” — naming mining magnates Clive Palmer, Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart — for “undermining our equality and threatening our democracy”.
Nearly 10 years of a mining boom has made big changes to Australia’s economy and environment. Resource companies have made record profits. This has given Australia’s rich mining billionaires an inflated sense of entitlement. When the Resources Super Profits Tax (RSPT) was proposed we saw Gina Rinehart speaking to an anti-tax rally from the back of a truck along with fellow billionaire Andrew Forrest, who wore a high-visibility work shirt as though he was just another struggling worker.