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Is there a silent partner behind the Republic debate

The AIMN has recently published articles supporting the call for Australia to become a republic. There are, of course, voices who oppose this move for the effects this could have on Indigenous Australia. Vanessa Kairies reports.

What will we really be signing up to if Australia becomes a Republic?

A lot of people have been asking me, “What we can do to help our First Nation brothers and sisters regarding the destruction of land in Australia to uranium mining, coal mining, gas and fracking interests?”

I wrote the articles below to raise awareness for Australia as a whole, we have very good reason to be concerned:

The push to become a Republic is the same as the Recognise campaign, it is just wrapped up under another name. Indigenous Australia is suspicious of the move.

If you care about the Australian environment and our people, vote ‘no’ to Australia becoming a Republic, vote ‘no’ to constitutional reform.

Do you want a dishonest government who is controlled by the foreign owned mining companies to be able to re-write our constitution? I think not.

Below is a list (via Crikey) of political donations made to the Liberal Party. It makes for interesting reading and adds to our suspicion.

The 2013-14 political donations data confirms a long trend in Australian politics, with the ALP still fundamentally reliant on the union movement and the Liberal Party in the thrall of big business, rent-seekers and a few wealthy families.

It shouldn’t take until almost halfway through Tony Abbott’s first term in office to be told who funded the campaign that dislodged Kevin Rudd, but the figures were only released by the Australian Electoral Commission at 9am today.

There are dozens of interesting stories in the deluge of data, but perhaps of most interest is the breakdown of donors to the federal Liberals in 2013-14. The election was held on September 14, 2013, and most major donations tend to happen in the weeks leading up to polling day.

Under Australia’s anything goes system of campaign finance, there are no legal restrictions on who can give money to federally registered parties. Ivan Milat, Sir Prince Philip, Vladimir Putin, the Hells Angels … no problems, step right up.

Even businesses that are directly licensed or funded by Canberra have an unfettered right to provide unlimited amounts of cash.

And that’s what you see across the 10 pages of donors disclosed by the federal Liberals who gave more than $12,400.

This is hardly comprehensive, but here’s a summary of those who contributed more than $50,000 to the Abbott campaign to unseat Kevin Rudd:

Adani Mining, $49,500: Indian conglomerate developing the giant Galilee coal fields in Queensland.

Ross Adler, $50,000: former CEO of Santos, whom Libs appointed to the Telstra board. Made plenty as chair of Dominos Pizza.

ANZ Bank, $150,000: easily Australia’s largest financier of carbon-intensive energy sector and most politically generous of the big four banks. Now chaired by David Gonski.

Lord Michael Ashcroft, $250,000: controversial British business and conservative political figure who gave Libs a record $1 million donation back in John Howard’s day.

Australian Salary Packaging Industry Association, $250,000: responded generously when Liberals promised to overturn Kevin Rudd’s clampdown on tax breaks for packaged salaries. McMillan Shakespeare is the largest industry player.

ASX Ltd, $110,000: gave the same to both sides and was clearly relieved when Bill Shorten was persuaded not to introduce competition into its monopoly-clearing business.

Balmoral Pastoral, $400,000: As Bernard Keane reported, this outfit also gave $200,000 to the federal Libs in 2012-13. Is owned by billionaire Bob Oatley, who made his fortune selling Rosemount to Southcorp for $1.5 billion and now focuses on Hamilton Island and winning Sydney-to-Hobart races.

Joseph Brender, $100,000: wealthy businessman who made his fortune in textiles and retail and lives near Malcolm Turnbull in Point Piper.

Brickworks, $150,000: controlled by Rich Lister Robert Millner, who oversees a conglomerate of intertwined listed companies, which have now given more than $2 million of shareholder funds to the Liberals and very little to Labor. Was mentioned in dispatches at the Independent Commission Against Corruption after working with Peta Credlin to fight the carbon tax.

Century Plaza, $220,000: the private company of retail billionaire Solomon Lew, who has lobbied hard for a higher GST on online purchases.

Chevron Australia, $47,300: one of the 10 biggest global oil super-majors with major investments off Western Australia.

Clubs Australia, $180,000: not-for-profit pokies lobby, which was relieved when Liberals helped fight off the Gillard-Wilkie pokies pledge on mandatory pre-commitment.

Coca-Cola Amatil, $55,000: controlled by Atlanta, chaired by David Gonski and a long-time litigant and lobbyist against container deposit schemes globally.

Coles Group, $55,000: part of Wesfarmers and Australia’s grocery duopoly along with Woolworths. Exposed to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and political intervention due to enormous market power over suppliers.

Coogee Chemicals, $50,000: manufacturer exposed to carbon tax. Controlled by Rich Lister Gordon Martin, the inaugural president of the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ Western Australian chapter and former chancellor of Curtin University in Perth.

CST Mining Group, $50,000: Hong Kong-based miner, which owns the Lady Annie copper mine in Queensland.

Dow Chemical, $55,000: US-based chemical giant. Exposed to carbon tax.

Peter Edwards, $100,000: the most politically generous member of the Smorgon family. J

on Fogarty, $100,000: former WA footballer who made the media with some controversies over contracts running public hospitals.

Sir Michael Hintze, $75,000: made his fortune running hedge fund CQS.

Hong Kong Kingson Investment: $500,000: prolific donor which gave a range of parties a total of $761,000 as far back as 2007-08, as The Australian reported at the time. Also gave federal ALP $600,000 last year through its associated Kingold division.

Jiebo Huang, $200,000: lists a Mosman address, little known publically.

IPGL Ltd, $50,000: London firm controlled by former Tory treasurer Michael Spencer.

Jefferson Investments, $55,000: Sydney-based outfit, which has given more than $250,000 over the years, including some to ALP.

Linc Energy, $100,000: another of the Queensland-based gas outfits that has so outraged Alan Jones for their alleged capture of the LNP ahead of its traditional agricultural constituency.

Lion Ltd, $55,000: dairy and beer giant now controlled by Japanese firm Kirin, which has Sir Rod Eddington on the board. Contribution probably involved free beer at fund raisers.

Manildra Group, $124,000: continues Rich Lister Dick Honan’s long practice of seeking regulatory support for products such as ethanol through donations.

Paul Marks, $750,000: based in Waterfront Place in the Brisbane CBD and fronts Nimrod Resources, which has mining aspirations near Bourke in outback NSW.

Harold Mitchell, $100,000: advertising heavyweight and Rich Lister who tends to support both sides.

Alf Moufarrige, $40,000: Rich Lister who controls global serviced office firm Servcorp and has donated more than $500,000 to the Liberals over the years.

New Hope Coal, $250,000: controlled by Millner family through Soul Pattinson and Brickworks structure. Made famous by Alan Jones over controversial Acland project on the Darling Downs.

Parakeelia Pty Ltd, $411,276: software company serving the Liberals, which incensed David Marr back in 2007, given Ron Walker connection.

Peabody Energy, $50,000: world’s biggest coal miner, based in the US with big interests in NSW and Queensland.

Philip Morris, $45,000: US tobacco giant now banned from giving to the Liberals in a move that Tony Abbott’s successor is not obliged to maintain.

Punusi Pty Ltd, $100,000: a previous player in the NSW agriculture and development space but current interests unclear.

SixMileBridge Pty Ltd, $50,000: business operating out of Double Bay in Sydney.

Sonic Healthcare, $200,000: listed healthcare player very dependent on ongoing federal funding.

Gandel Group, $150,000: Melbourne billionaire John Gandel, who has huge property interests like Chadstone in Melbourne and is one of the five richest property moguls in Australia.

Sean Tomlinson, $100,000: Gold Coast entrepreneur who made it onto Young Rich List through iPad point-of-sale business Revel Systems.

Village Roadshow, $200,000: Graham Burke and the Kirby family have been long-time Liberal supporters, with overall donations now approaching $3 million.

Walker Group, $100,000: billionaire Sydney property developer Lang Walker has used Graham Richardson for lobbying but favoured the Liberals more over the years.

Westfield, $150,000: the Lowy family have directed more than $10 million to politicians and parties globally over the years.

Woodside Energy, $129,500: the biggest ASX listed player in the oil and gas space, now breaking free from Shell.

Zafcan Pty Ltd, $100,000: Melbourne registered firm at 1 Spring Street, which donates a similar amount to the Liberals most years.

Zip Heaters, $100,000: appliance and tap manufacturer controlled by wealthy 82-year-old Sydney businessman Michael Crouch.

I have seen articles come out and say that becoming a Republic is not a political move. What rubbish! Abbott’s love affair with coal is politically driven by the sponsors of the Liberal Party. How much will the referendum into this one cost, Joe? Stop wasting taxpayers dollars.

Don’t be fooled Australia. Our country, our land and our people deserve better.

Author’s note: Please feel free to view my political artwork on my Facebook page:

Mining in WA and the relocation of 150 communities

Mining information in Australia

Climate change

The economy



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  1. Kaye Lee

    Indigenous Australians have every right to be suspicious of political constructs like the constitution and parliamentary model but you have more made a case for reviewing political donations than remaining with the monarchy which is what voting no to a Republic means.

    We must have a governing body and we should have a say in how that is set up. The disgraceful dismissal in 1975 showed that, while the Queen may just be a figurehead, her appointed representative has the power to dissolve a democratically elected government.

    Our flag should represent our nation and our people.

    I believe our current political system is broken. If we have the chance to change it then we all need to be thinking very hard about how to fix a system that is very open to corruption at the same time.

    This is a chance for us to change things. We don’t have to follow any other country’s model. We can have a system that is right for our unique country. To get it right we need all sections of our society contributing. We need to listen to each other and find a better way – not sit back and let the puppeteers either maintain the current situation of buying political clout or devising a governing structure that sets up a new power base for themselves.

    The Reform summit on the weekend was very interesting in that all participants said that the government has lost its way and seems incapable of action and it is up to the rest of society to show them the solutions. Indigenous Australia must be part of that.

  2. M-R

    Vanessa, we understand – only too well ! – why our first people are suspicious of any moves towards large groups; but I reckon republicanism is something to go for.
    I readily admit that its major problem is WHO; inasmuch as if it’s a matter of voting, then we have to face the fact that there are many Australians who voted and will vote again for Abbott.
    In fact we do have people worthy of holding the position – people who are known to support (and genuinely !) indigenous Australia. Couple of women come immediately to mind – but there I go …
    Anyway … I don’t believe that continuing on indefinitely as we are is likely to bring our indigenous people much joy, do you …?

  3. Itsazoosue

    i wonder how much tax is paid on these political donations.

  4. Möbius Ecko

    Sorry not in position to write article but can someone please throw one up on Border Force patrolling Melbourne streets this weekend randomly searching people and looking for anti-social behaviour?

    Social media is going into meltdown over this and a staunch hard right wing workmate’s jaw dropped and said; “no f*cking way” on being shown the news.

    Twitter Border Force, #Border Force and Operation Fortitude.

    If you needed convincing that this government is approaching fascism here it is.

  5. Matters Not

    Möbius Ecko, having read your link, I thought that someone’s taking the ‘piss’. But it’s true apparently. I don’t live in Melbourne but if I did I would be visiting the CBD without any form of identification whatsoever.

    The notion that people, visitors included, should carry their passports while roaming the streets is unthinkable.

    Surely the ‘locals’ won’t cop this.

    This is a giant step too far.

    And if I did have identification, I would refuse to show it.

  6. Möbius Ecko

    Border Force have now released a statement saying they will not be going after people at random but only those who have been referred to them.

    This raises more questions than it answers, like why advertise this, something Bill Shorten has just stated.

    As I and many other suspect the media will be there for the arrests and raids with cameras taking photos and footage from every angle. Watch Monday’s news cycle.

    The real reason for this. Abbott and the government are doing woefully in Victoria and the Canning byelection might be slipping.

    Also saw Hockey at a new manufacturing plant in Burnie Tasmania bashing Labor.

    Certain people are getting unbelievably desperate in their attempts to save Abbott’s skin.

  7. Matters Not

    will not be going after people at random but only those who have been referred to them

    Hilarious! If ‘people’ have been referred to them, then why doesn’t the police simply visit their abode or workplace.

    The whole notion of hanging around street corners in order to check the credentials of ‘referred’ persons is just a nonsense.

    Again it’s another piece of evidence that they are incompetent or have no idea of what constitutes a ‘police State’.

    Perhaps they got the idea from Iran (our new best friend) where the Shia Militia range far and wide terrorising the locals.

  8. Möbius Ecko

    Border Force are having a press conference at 2pm, ABC News 24.

    Strange thing is in their previous statement they said they’ve done this before so it’s nothing new, so why are they making such a song and dance about it this time?

  9. David Bruce

    Could I suggest that the TPP is the reason this is on the table again. To become a Republic, we need also to amend the Constitution! I have difficulty trusting anyone and anything to do with Australian politics and media right now. As FDR said, nothing in politics happens by accident: if it happens, it was planned! Hilton hotel bombing for Fraser to declare state of emergency and call out the troops during CHOGM; Port Arthur massacre for Howard to introduce gun control laws; Lindt cafe for Abbort to amend security and intelligence laws, and licencse to kill, for example!

  10. Chopper

    So let’s get this straight. The government is run by coal, gas, fracking and uranium mining….and you have come up with donations of $300k from coal companies, $180k from gas companies, $0 from fracking companies and $0 from uranium companies. Perhaps you just missed some out? You do realize we produce sweet FA uranium these days and with Rio Tinto about to shut Ranger and also converting massive untouched resources into a national park so that no one can EVER touch it…it’s only going to become less?

    Now forgive me if I’m wrong, but I read recently that at the last election unions gave labor more than $3M and the libs sweet FA. …and that was by far the biggest donation for either party. Can you remember when labor was last in power. Who exactly ran the country? Was a close call between the greens and the unions.

  11. Matters Not

    forgive me if I’m wrong

    Chopper, I forgive you.

    I don’t think a further response would add anything.

    You seems to have a ‘hand’ on it.

  12. June M Bullivant OAM

    If the Pollies tell you it is good for you and Australia, and they are supporting it on mass, don’t forget they have told so many porkies, that it will not be good for the average Australian.

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