The Treasurer brought one of his children’s Christmas presents in to Parliament house yesterday. He seemed to think that he was going to scare the federal opposition with it. I imagine that several of them have seen coal before, but I suspect that this is the first time that Scott Morrison has handled the stuff, as he grew up in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. He was in tourism and property and eventually became the managing director of Tourism Australia and he approved the ‘So where the bloody hell are you?’ campaign, which went over like a lead balloon. One wonders what his former clients in Barrier Reef tourism think of his waving coal around in their representatives’ faces in both sides of the house. Some years after leaving tourism and being elected to parliament, roughly three hundred alumni of his high school signed a letter protesting Morrison’s attendance at an alumni fundraiser because he ‘flagrantly disregarded human rights’ while Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Water off a duck’s back.
To see a Minister waving a piece of coal around the House of Representatives makes you wonder which company provided it, and have they donated money to the Liberal Party? I suppose, with the declining attraction of coal as an investment, particularly thermal coal (that used to generate electricity), the Liberal Party are desperate to prop up some of their biggest donors as much as they can. One of them, the Cormack Foundation Pty Ltd investment company has large share holdings in mining companies. It was Cormack who was the biggest single donor to the Liberal party during 2015-2016. One of its shareholders is Hugh Morgan, former CEO of Western Mining and a prominent, if geriatric, global warming denier. See the connection?
Now as Treasurer, Morrison must occasionally wonder how he could have avoided unpopular cuts to all sorts of social expenditure if only the Carbon Tax was still in place, delivering $4 billion per annum. All this while the Emissions Reduction Fund costs us taxpayers several hundred million dollars a year, about $23 for every man woman and child in the country. However, his party’s major donors decreed that the Carbon Tax had to go, because they needed the extra few mill for their holidays in the European snowfields, when the summer gets too hot here in Oz.
Scott Morrison is ambitious. He and his Pentecostal friends at Hillsong would no doubt love to see him as Prime Minister (he hasn’t much competition), where he could make sure religious organisations never have to pay tax like the rest of us, and where he could continue handing out our cash to his donors so they keep donating a proportion of it back to his party.
Scott Morrison and his ilk are just like the algae and plant material that formed the coal he held in parliament today; they are fossils.