Features, Fossil Politics

Roll-call of climate deniers who have captured our government’s policy

Fossil Fool Bulletin • 14 January 2020

An excerpt from Situation Theatre, published by Michaelwest.com

Situation Theatre says Big Tobacco was in no doubt about the link between cigarettes and lung cancer. Likewise, few mining magnates or the army of policy wonks, PR hacks, scientists, front groups, think tanks or the political parties they fund doubt the world is warming.

Following Big Tobacco’s self-interest playbook, they have successfully cast doubt on climate science by targeting our so-called “beacons of democracy”, US and Australia.

“As the Prime Minister continues to deny the factual links between the climate, bushfire, and drought emergencies devastating the nation, there can be no doubt that the Australian state has been completely captured by fossil fuel and media billionaires,” says the writer.

Situation Theatre goes on to list some of the climate deniers influencing the Morrison government:

• Morrison’s Chief of Staff, John Kunkel, used to be mining giant Rio Tinto’s Chief Advisor for Government Relations and before that he was Deputy CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia for over six years.

• Morrison’s Principal Private Secretary, Yaron Finkelstein, is the former CEO of Crosby Textor (now C|T), a multinational lobbying firm with close ties to the mining industry. C|T’s corporate clients include coal giants Glencore and Mitsubishi Development, along with the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association and the Queensland Resources Council.

• Coalition donor, mining billionaire Gina Rinehart’s staff have included former Liberal MP, Sophie Mirabella, and Adam Giles, former Liberal Chief Minister of the Northern Territory. Rinehart maintains a close relationship with former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce, whose campaigns she’s also helped fund. As co-owner of major coal mining licences in the Galilee Basin, Rinehart stands to receive significant benefits if the area is opened up, via approval for the Adani-Carmichael mega coal-mine, currently being pushed through by the Coalition Government.”

• Former environment minister, Melissa Price, gave approval for Adani’s groundwater plan, despite advice from the CSIRO. She used to be the Vice-President at a mining company owned by Mitsubishi Development, co-owners of a portfolio of Queensland coal mines.

• Advocate for coal expansion and Federal Resources Minister Matthew Canavan has a brother, John Canavan, who was once an executive at coal giant Peabody Energy and now part owns Queensland’s Rolleston coal mine. Canavan’s Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility Fund has five of seven board members with strong mining industry ties.

Ian Macfarlane, the Resources Minister who scrapped the mining tax, took a job as CEO of the Queensland Resources Council in 2016 – soon after quitting Parliament.

• Energy Minister, Angus Taylor, consulted for the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) before becoming an MP.

• In 2017, Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull appointed Sid Marris, an MCA Director, as his senior advisor on energy, climate change and resources. He’s now back at the MCA.

• In 2018, Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg gave $444 million in taxpayer money to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation without a competitive tender or application process. The chair of that foundation  is John Schubert, an executive of Esso, owned by ExxonMobil. The Foundation’s Chairman’s panel is tied to Peabody and BHP, both members of the MCA.

• In 2017, coal lobby ads were the biggest third-party political expenditure, and in 2017-2018, fossil fuel companies donated $1, 277, 933 to the Liberal, National, and Labor Parties.

• Over the last six years, the Coalition government has taken 194 actions to sabotage environmental policy.

• The fossil fuel industry in Australia gets $29 billion in government subsidies each year.

• Morrison’s speechwriter, Matthew Fynes-Clinton, who was the Deputy Chief of Staff and Editor of The Courier Mail, his Press Secretary, Andrew Carswell, who was the Chief of Staff at The Daily Telegraph, and his advisor, Thomas Adolph, was formerly of The Australian.

Malcolm Turnbull’s Media Advisor during his Prime Ministership was Clive Mathieson, former Editor of The Australian.

• The Murdoch empire, is an organisation so steeped in denial as to even deny the presence of climate deniers.

• Read the full story at:

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