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Political and economic coup détat in Australia?

By Andreas Bimba

Highly relevant to the forced exit of Australia’s car assembly industry are the free trade agreements (FTAs) and the goals of the Institute of Public Affairs – the think tank for the neo-conservative hard right in Australian business and politics.

This is however more than about making cars, or Australia’s manufacturing industry. It’s about serious corruption of Australia’s democracy and economy and the seizure of considerable political power by hidden, powerful, local and foreign vested interests and could be seen as a hidden coup d’etat.

Why are the Australian neo-conservatives so keen on FTAs with low wage cost competitors unlike any other comparable developed country? Well firstly, Australia’s most powerful lobbyists, from the mining, banking/finance, rural and Chinese business want FTAs and are willing to pay our politicians to get them. Secondly, the FTAs invariably mean we import more goods, for example from China, which acts to lower the value of the Australian dollar from where it would otherwise be, which improves the profitability of the mining industry and the bulk agricultural export industry. A case of one section of the economy taking advantage of its disproportionate power and a corrupt political system to squeeze out another. A bit like cuckoos pushing out their smaller companions.

The main problem with this form of crony capitalism is that the gain in job numbers in the mining and agricultural sectors is much less than the number of jobs lost in the manufacturing and associated services sector. The destruction of otherwise successful businesses, expensively acquired production capacity and technological skills and the social cost has been huge. Our economy has also become more reliant on bulk exports of low value commodities that inevitably fluctuate wildly in value and our coal and gas exports will eventually face price collapse as fossil use is phased out. Australia is moving closer to a high unemployment banana republic economy, that will struggle to support its current levels of social services and healthcare, rather than to a knowledge intensive, high value adding economy, under the incompetent and corrupt stewardship of our neo-liberal Conservative and Labor governments.

The promise of greater high technology and innovative exports arising from the FTAs is mostly a con as firstly no significant policy actions have been taken to bring this about, and secondly the ongoing destruction of Australia’s existing industrial and knowledge base makes the establishment of new innovative industries more difficult and expensive.

In regard to the FTAs, a 21 May 2016 article in The Age by Gina McColl titled ‘Chinese interests play increasing role in Australian political donations reveals one of the reasons we now have ChAFTA, the China Australia Free Trade Agreement and the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It’s not a clean story but don’t ever be fooled that any of the old major Australian political parties have your best interests at the top of their agenda. This looks like corruption to me and it’s on a massive scale. If not in law then the laws have probably been corruptly drafted.

On Monday 23 May 2016, the ABC Four Corners program broadcast ‘Money and Influence‘ which covers the shadowy world of political donations. This program can be viewed in the link below:

The Institute of Public Affairs, the think tank for the neo-conservative hard right has a much more powerful impact than most of us probably realise. Most Australians have probably never even heard of this organisation. Have a look at the IPA’s publication ‘Be like Gough: 75 radical ideas to transform Australia’ and note one of the authors James Paterson who recently won the Liberal Party’s top spot for the Victorian Senate ticket. All of us should make themselves aware of all of the 75 appalling goals of the IPA as they are on the fast track for implementation by the Coalition and in many cases also by the ALP.

While we are on the subject here are a few more relevant articles:

The many ways political donations buy access in Victoria

Politicians can’t be trusted to reform political donations

About the author: Andreas Bimba is a mechanical engineer and former employee of Toyota Australia’s manufacturing operations in Melbourne and a member of the Australian Greens. This article does not necessarily reflect the current policies and views of the Australian Greens.


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  1. Steve Laing -

    The other reason for the clamour to be rid of the car industry is simpler. It is too unionised for the Liberals like. Their unremitting hatred for anything to do with trade unions always leads to very poor decision making where such are involved, and rather than look to implement a model where it works (e.g. the workers council model used highly successfully in Germany, with its booming high quality car manufacturing), we’d rather encourage models based purely on low labour costs. Again its purely about ideology, not facts.

  2. Athena

    The IPA has no shame when it comes to comparing their fake charity to Gough Whitlam. Whitlam built this nation up. The IPA is tearing it down. The conservatives like to pay homage to Sir Thomas Playford as one of the greatest politicians we’ve seen in this country. He would be rolling in his grave if he could see this lot.

  3. Glenn K

    and I am wondering why with the sudden crisis around farm-gate milk pricing, no mention is made of FTA’s and perhaps how this milk crisis for our farmers is a blowback of FTA’s……..
    have we no proper reporting left in this country?

  4. SGB

    I cant say how – but to my mind the FTA and the milk debacle, needs thorough examination, but I will be honest I cannot see any of our politicians instigating a fair dinkum inquiry

  5. Jexpat

    I thought this might be about Baird’s wholesale sacking of democratically elected local officials throughout NSW.

    If they tried anything remotely similar in most US states, they’d have armed insurrection on their hands.

  6. Matters Not

    Glenn K, the price of ‘dairy’ can be traced to a rapid increase of supply, particularly in NZ (up by 30% since 2008) and the EU. The exploding supply has been compounded by the Russian boycott with subsequent loss of demand.

    “The drop is due to the Russian boycott of European products, which have cut Dutch farm produce exports by almost 40%. Dairy, meat and live animal exports have been hardest hit.”

    Ain’t ‘free trade’ great.

  7. David1

    i am really surprised Joel Fitzgibbon, Labors Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
    Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs hasn’t been hammering this milk debacle loudly. If he has I have missed it as Boozey Barney throws $500 million at the problem and offers loans to the farmers. They are broke you dolt how will they pay it back? This is a problem his incompetent Govt created, FWA’s balderdash, a pox on you Joyce

  8. Ronson Dalby

    Everyone, PLEASE, no apostrophes in FTAs.

  9. Matters Not

    Perhaps the ‘crossbred tomato’ could start a new fashion and bathe in milk? It would help with his complexion. Take the ‘redness’ out. And all that.

    (Yep those unnecessary apostrophes annoy me as well. A US cultural invasion).

  10. Athena

    A farmer friend of mine recently said the milk pricing is nothing new. The farmers have been getting screwed for years, being expected to sell for less than the cost of production.

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Nats to do anything about it. They showed their contempt for farmers when they voted to stop farmers protesting about the effects of mining on their land. I’m awaiting the election results to see how many farmers dump them as a result.

  11. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    That’s a good point, Athena. Any self-respecting farming communities should be antagonistic to the Nats for their betrayal. That won’t go down well for the LNP Government at the election.

  12. Terry2

    When asked about the concessional loans program for dairy farmers a journalist volunteered that that now was not a good time for dairy farmers to be entering into new debt. Joyce said that the concessional loans from the government would be used to retire other debt (i.e. from banks) and not increase farm debt.

    So, the government, that is the taxpayer, becomes the lender of last resort and the commercial banks miss out.

    Is that socialism or is that socialism ?

  13. king1394

    One of the biggest mistakes the farmers made was allowing their Dairy Farmers’ Co-operatives to be privatised. Yes, in the short term there was a pot of money for individuals. Then we saw all the small local milk factories and cheese farmers etc. disappear, but that was OK, progress even. Deregulation was seen as a good move for many farmers as well, as the ‘less efficient’ farmers were moved out of the industry.
    The farmers laid themselves open to exploitation by the big multi-nationals … surprising?

  14. PC

    Let’s keep it real: The LNP are more proto-fascists than they are neo-conservatives.

  15. John Cary

    Interesting timing in the signing of the China FTA, this had been in the process of negotiation for a long time with no signing imminent when voilà Robb signs it. At the very same time Gina Hancock announces her plans to extend her dairying interests by establishing a huge dairy farm in QLD to supply powdered milk to ……. you guessed it, China (guess who bankrolls Barnaby?) Gerry Norman also announced similar plans @ the time, anybody else joining some dots? Talking of Gina’s dairy interests, the woman who runs her existing WA dairy interests was lobbying to employ workers on 457 visas, I really hope the people in rural Australia wake-up. BTW I am an ex-dairy farmer

  16. paul walter

    Great piece from Andreas Bimba.. how long before people wake up, although it’s probably too late any way.

  17. Jexpat


    That was an impressive vote:

    Worth posting up (with attention to the absents and no-shows)

    Motions – Coal Seam Gas – Landholders’ right to say “no

    People who are for landholders’ right to say no to mining and gas exploration would have voted Yes

    Australian Greens
    (91% turnout)
    10 Yes – 0 No show members

    Australian Labor Party
    (58% turnout)
    0 Yes – 14 No show members

    Ricky Muir Victoria
    Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party

    Nigel Scullion NT
    Country Liberal Party

    Gavin Marshall Victoria
    Deputy President

    Bob Day SA
    Family First Party

    Jacqui Lambie Tasmania

    Glenn Lazarus Queensland

    Nick Xenophon SA

    John Madigan Victoria

    David Leyonhjelm NSW
    Liberal Democratic Party

    Liberal National Party
    (100% turnout)
    0 Yes – 2 No show members

    Liberal Party
    (32% turnout)

    0 Yes – 8 No show members

    National Party
    (25% turnout)
    0 Yes – 1 No show members
    Dio Wang WA

    Palmer United Party

    Stephen Parry Tasmania

    (57% turnout)
    14 Yes – 30 No

  18. corvus boreus

    Here is the full breakdown of all motions relating to CSG and landholders ‘right of refusal’.
    The initial proposals also sought to outright ban the practice, which is a legally debatable standpoint, but more recent motions have mollified the stridency of opposition and merely sought to acknowledge landholders rights to say no to this destructive activity on their own property, which seems both legal and inherently fair.
    Unconventional Gas Extraction (fracking) causes geological destabilisation, contamination of both groundwater and aquifers, and major air pollution. The practice has repeatedly been observed to cause both economic harm and serious health problems for farmers and other residents who have been exposed to it. It definitely should not be forced upon the unwilling.
    Public opposition to involuntary fracking of land is both widespread and numerous, and tends to transcend party allegiances.
    A great number of people seem to think that the right to refuse to allow fracking to occur on one’s own land should be an automatic given, but the party politicians who accept donations from mining interests obviously disagree.
    ‘Impressive’ is not a term I would use the outcome of these divisions.

  19. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Hear, hear corvus. There is widespread opposition to CSG fracking because of the damage it does to aquifers and groundwater, pollution and geological destabilisation.

    Considering gas energy is also one of the old energy sources, I am disgusted that the vote was 14 Yes (Against) – 30 No (For). The Greens did what they do well and voted Yes and so did Xenophon. Great to see all of the new Independents: Muir, Lambie, Lazarus voting Yes. Typical of the dinosaur duopoly to vote No or be gutless and absent.

    If I had a farm, which I loved and to which I had dedicated my life day in day out, I would be fighting to keep CSG off my land too.

  20. Kaye Lee

  21. Andreas Bimba

    The plight of farmers is vitally important and the Nationals are good with the rhetoric and a bit of rushed pork barrelling but rarely address the underlying issues. The Greens will make a lot of headway in rural Australia but more rural members are needed so their concerns are better understood.

  22. silkworm

    “Australian Labor Party (58% turnout) 0 Yes – 14 No”

    Another reason to despise the ALP. I hope the Greens kick Albanese’s butt in Grayndler.

  23. corvus boreus

    Certainly a significant contributing factor in my own decision not to cast any vote for Labor candidates in the senate.

  24. Expergiscere

    Call them what these scum are Neo-fascist.
    This is the Elitist/Globalists agenda, Agenda 21, aka Agenda 2030. To first weather our strength, ability/desire to fight back. Death to freedom by a thousand cuts as it were. Then subjugate the entire world under a totalitarian regime.
    How are people not seeing this yet?
    It’s sold to the public and sheeple as a benefit and virtue, but in reality it is the complete opposite beneath the veneer.
    Unfortunately the majority of Aussies are more concerned with the Footy, TV and where their next beer will come from to see that their freedoms and future is being usurped right under their noses.
    Sad, sad mad world.

  25. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    interesting name. Let me know its origin when the time is right.

    Meanwhile, we don’t concede any ground to the neoliberalist exploiters. We stay strong and we form alliances in all forms to make that happen.

    First step, we start The Alliance between the Greens and Labor despite the obvious contests for seats.

    We make ourselves strong by supplying numbers, will and might in every electoral gap that the LNP debauched Degenerates have left unassisted and unloved.

    Second step, we develop the Alliance along Left-Centre/Left lines. As Right faction MP’s fail eg Feeney, we claim the seat either as Greens of Left Faction Labor.

  26. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Greens OR Left Faction Labor

  27. David1

    Silkworm…re Albo…that a joke? Would have to be, greens beat Albo?….hark a cuckoo it is I hear, looking for its mate, missing from the land of. Needed a decent laugh, Greens always oblige.

  28. corvus boreus

    Do you believe that farmers and other landowners should have the right to refuse CSG mining on their own property?

  29. Andreas Bimba

    Here’s what a few hours of internet searching yielded in regard to our current crony capitalist system that has evolved under our two party political system. The list can be much longer for example the privatisation of the original semi government electricity providers like the SECV in Victoria has been a financial disaster for consumers but I leave that for later.

    Crony capitalism is where the big profits are now. Here the crony capitalists persuade or pay their favourite political party or government for legislation that provides a lucrative business opportunity or monopoly rights. For example our superannuation system that currently has about $2,000 billion funds under management, compulsorily takes 9.5 % from peoples wages and this is given to the superannuation funds to manage. The total in fees taken by fund managers is now about $23.5 billion p.a. Given the meagre rates of return for most funds is this level of fees reasonable for what is basically just money shifting? When you also consider the $30 billion p.a. of taxation revenue forgone due to the concessions on super contributions and when you compare this with the current cost of the aged pension of $44 billion p.a. this starts to look a lot like a scam that disproportionately benefits the wealthy at the expense of the majority.

    I think the superannuation industry also needs to feel the sting of more competition and a good way to start is for Australia Post to use it’s retail outlets to offer superannuation as well as other financial and banking services in a similar way to many other countries.

    Another example of crony capitalism is the property sector where negative gearing and lower tax rates for capital gains, that are exploited disproportionately by the wealthy, are used to subsidise the purchase of investment properties and along with foreign investment, underpin an upward spiral in property prices. This also helps the banks who then earn interest on ever bigger loan portfolios. The total value of Australia’s investment housing loans is now about $550 billion and owner occupied housing loans is about $1,000 billion. Assuming these loans have an average interest rate of 5.35%, the interest received by the banks and other lenders is about $83 billion p.a. What would this figure be if we didn’t have the great increase in property values of the last two decades? Maybe half of $83 billion which represents a windfall of over $40 billion p.a. to the banks due to a few government tax incentives.

    The big four banks suffer from a wide range of ethical shortcomings for example we hear of frequent reports of fraud, generally putting fees and profits first and customers last, exploiting the legal process to unfairly fight customers with genuine grievances, enormous salaries for senior staff, off shoring of customer service and IT/data functions, their funding of the destructive and doomed fossil fuel industry, predatory acquisition of competitors, massive donations with strings to political parties and one can just keep going….

    The banking sector clearly needs to face greater competition from the customer owned and regional banks and as I suggested earlier from a postal bank. Customer owned and regional banks also face a raft of taxation and regulatory disadvantages in comparison to the major banks. For example these smaller banks need to hold three times the level of capital of the major banks against equivalent portfolios with the same underlying risk which increases their costs.


    Have you ever noticed also that nearly all the important articles on these sorts of issues appear in the Sydney Morning Herald/The Age, the ABC, Crikey, the Conversation, the Guardian and a few others but not on the rest of the commercial media that reaches the overwhelming majority of Australia’s population. Wonder why?

  30. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Thanks Andreas. Spot on, like usual.

  31. David1

    Corvus…I don’t believe I referred to farmers doing anything, but of course they can do what like, its still a Democracy, for now. However as for the Greens unseating Albo
    [video src="" /]

  32. corvus boreus

    No, farmers cannot refuse CSG miners access to their land, despite our alleged democratic status.
    A motion was tabled attempting to enshrine the right of refusal, but it was voted down (with the help of Labor senators).
    I posted information on this subject, which relates to the topic of the article, but you obviously didn’t read it.

    As for Greens vs ‘Albo’ (which has sweet FA to do with the article), it is not my electorate and doesn’t really effect or interest me greatly, so que sera.

  33. David1

    corvus I stick by my original post, have a good night and cheer up, toodles for now.

  34. corvus boreus

    Yep, similar sentiments back, minus the superfluous exhortation against pessimism.
    Tootles till you’re looking at fracking.

    Ps, for what it’s worth (two-fifths of sweet eff-ay), I hope shadow minister Albanese retains his seat.

  35. David1


  36. Andreas Bimba

    Thanks Kaye Lee for your link to the fracking music video @ May 26, 2016 at 9:34 am
    luvd it! It’s now on my facebook wall. 🙂

  37. Ele

    What makes people think that dairy farmers ever got a fair price for their milk.? In the early days
    on the Mid North Coast it was take whatever price was offered by the Co-op and when the Milk Board
    arrived it was take an even smaller cut as wholesalers and retailers both got more per litre than
    the farmer.and the price was set by the Board.And you had to go from using 10 gallon cans to
    having a stainless steel milk vat that cost thousands or your product was not wanted.Even milk
    vendors in Sydney got more per litre than the farmer. No wonder so many farmers have given up.

  38. Andreas Bimba

    Ele, many more dairy farmers (and other farmers and residents of regional Australia) should not just lobby the corrupt old parties but become members of parties like the Australian Greens, other ethical micro parties or ethical independents, and help break the monopoly of the failed two party system. One day it will be broken and probably earlier than most expect.

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