Features, Fossil Politics

Democracy on hold: Fossil fools in charge

Fossil Fool Bulletin • 31 March 2020

Pic: Scott Morrison’s infamous lump of coal escapade. Photo: AAP/Lukas Coch

By Eve Sinton

Mining and fossil fuel interests will have a disproportionate influence on how Australia handles the Covid-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has suspended Parliament for most of the year and installed a new National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC).

The NCCC comprises mostly people with big business backgrounds, and its chairman is former Fortescue Metals executive Neville Power.

The Executive Board comprises Greg Combet, Jane Halton, Paul Little, Catherine Tanna and David Thodey (Deputy Chair).

They will be joined by the Secretaries of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Philip Gaetjens and Home Affairs, Mike Pezzullo.

Neville Power is a board member of Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group, oil and gas explorer Strike Energy, and Westralia Airport.

Nifty Nev and his fossil mates

Commentator David Tyler, writing for the AIM Network, said: “Nifty Nev will get on well with Morrison’s Chief of staff, John Kunkel, a former CEO at the Minerals Council of Australia, (MCA) who fits in like Flynn with Scotty’s senior adviser, Brendan Pearson, another former MCA CEO, who once worked for ecocidal monster US coal miner Peabody Energy.

“Pearson provided Morrison’s infamous lacquered lump of coal for the then Treasurer’s notorious 2017 show and tell (no props allowed) of energy agnosticism in parliament. ‘This is coal. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be scared.’

Tyler’s rundown on the rest of the NCCC says David Thodey is a former Teltra CEO and also chair of what’s left of the CSIRO, cut down to size by the anti-science Coalition

• Catherine Tanna is chair of Energy Australia which hates paying tax and is on the boards of the RBA and the BCA

• Career mandarin Jane Halton headed the government’s people-smuggling team during John Howard’s children overboard fraud

• Paul Little amassed a net worth of $950m running Toll Group for two decades as well as property investment

• Greg Combet (the token leftie) is a former Labor MP Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation in and is currently chairman of Industry Super Australia.

Tyler says: “Rounding out the team are our top two Canberra shiny bums, Home Affairs Secretary, Prime Minister and Cabinet, head, Mike Pezzullo and Phil Gaetjens, two of our most powerful if not public-spirited mandarins, both of whom are always eager to assist senate committees with inquiries.

“Or, in fabulous Phil’s case conduct their own exemplary-how-to exonerate- Bridget McKenzie of breaching the ministerial code in a secret Star Chamber inquiry.”

Unelected and unaccountable

FFB believes this unelected and unaccountable commission will not miss the opportunity to give fossil fools any possible advantage during the Covid-19 emergency.

Scott Morrison’s media release states:

The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission is about mobilising a whole-of-society and whole-of-economy effort so we come through this unprecedented health crisis.  The Commission will assist the Government to ensure all resources are marshalled to this vital task in a coordinated and effective manner. …

The NCCC will be based in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.  The existing National Coordination Mechanism based in the Department of Home Affairs, which coordinates the cross jurisdictional response to non-health aspects of the pandemic, will report to the Commission, as will the Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit based in the Treasury Department.

Meanwhile, Parliamentarians will have a lengthy holiday on full pay, leaving a bunch of bureaucrats and crony capitalists in control of the country’s fate.

What could possibly go wrong?

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