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Scott Morrison uses Ukraine war to push coal agenda

IN A PRESS RELEASE on 20 March, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that his Government is donating 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal to Ukraine, in response to a ‘direct request’ for the fuel, made through the Polish Prime Minister.

Morrison said:

And today, in response to a direct request from Ukraine, Australia will donate 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal. This will help Ukraine’s power generators operating and supplying electricity to the power grid at this critical time. They need that before the end of May and we have arranged the shipping for that to take place and are working with other countries to ensure it can get to Ukraine. So it’s our coal. We dug it up. We’ve arranged the ship. We’ve put it on the ship and we’re sending it there to Ukraine to help power up their resistance and to give that encouragement.

The fuel will be supplied by Whitehaven Coal and will cost the Government $28 million, plus likely staggeringly high delivery costs.

It is fairly important that Mr Morrison’s gift of coal is examined more closely, for reasons that will quickly become apparent.

There is considerable public if not media scepticism about the donation, including from Richard Denniss, chief economist at the Australia Institute, who tweeted:



Details of how the Prime Minister will deliver the coal to Ukraine are sketchy and so far, proposed logistics have not been interrogated by the media. Will the coal be shipped to Poland then transported by rail to Ukraine, for example, as Ukraine’s only remaining accessible port, Odessa, is preparing for Russian attack? Is it still possible to transport coal by rail across the Polish border, or is infrastructure too damaged or threatened to function?

Has Morrison bought $28 million of thermal coal from Whitehaven that will not reach its destination? Is this an announcement about notional coal that serves only to funnel public money to a major supplier of fossil fuel?

It’s a measure of the lack of trust in the Morrison Government and its fondness for announcements that these questions even need to be asked.

As Denniss suggests, does it not make more sense to give money rather than incur the costs and risks of transporting the coal ‘we dug up’ to a war zone?

Morrison announced:

‘This was a request that was made of us and Australia is in a position to fulfil that request. It was also made to me through the Polish Prime Minister and we’re very pleased to be able to meet that need.’

Why would the Polish Prime Minister ask the Morrison Government to donate coal to Ukraine? Has Poland run out?

Of course, giving money to Ukraine to source Polish coal would not benefit Whitehaven, who have generously agreed to donate $250,000 to the Australian Red Cross Crisis Appeal as part of their contribution to humanitarian assistance.

It would be an immense relief to be living in a country where questions such as those asked above were raised only by fringe dwelling conspiracy theorists. Sadly, that is not the country in which we live today.

The Morrison Government has a history of announcements that have come to naught, not least of which is the mysterious $4 billion disaster relief fund to which we have had occasion recently to refer, after the catastrophic Northern Rivers and South East Queensland floods. None of this money has been released, despite the dire need of many survivors of both bushfire and flood, and it has instead earned some $473 million in interest for the Government.

Given what we know, it is by no means beyond the parameters of reasonable speculation that the Morrison Government could have seen an opportunity to line the pockets of their Whitehaven mates under the guise of organising a notional shipment of notional coal to a stricken Ukraine.

Of course, the intention to assist may well have been present, the awkward reality that the form of assistance and its delivery may not be feasible is hardly the Morrison Government’s fault, is it?

It would, of course, be a despicable move for the Government to transfer public funds to Whitehaven, disguised as humanitarian relief for a country ravaged by war. Oh, that we lived under the authority of a Government where such speculations were wild and thoroughly dismissable!

But we don’t. We live under the authority of a Government that has a long history of rorting. We live under a Government led by a Prime Minister who is internationally and domestically acknowledged to be a liar, including by his own colleagues. We live under a Government that we cannot trust to act in the interests of its people, but only ever in its own interests and those of its supporters.

So it is important that we demand answers about this gift of coal, because if $28 million of public money has just been donated by this Government to the fossil fuel industry, we deserve to know.



This article was originally published on Independent Australia.


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  1. Phil Pryor

    Poland and other nearby nations have plenty of coal they can hardly give away these days, but a bloodsucking parasite donor here can get our money to send coal elsewhere, all the while burning huge amounts of carbon leaching fuel. Our TOP Anus knows what to do in a futile effort to cover up for a career of failure, backstabbing, bludging, lying, exaggerating, loudmouthing, lying again, cheating, double crossing and once again, LYING.

  2. john ocallaghan

    There is no snake on this planet whose belly is low enough for this putrid stinkin piece of sewage to crawl under, and the overpowering vomit inducing stench emanating from he and his equally obnoxious stinkin putrid foul smelling psycho babbling cronies would kill a draught horse at 50 paces……………………………………………………………………….. Not to mention\but i will anyway/…. his partner in slime.. gods own drunk and a fearless man, Barnaby Joyce,or known to his friends as .. Ole dry retch/.. a more immoral rancid rooter rorter and rapacious oxygen thief that the good lord is still going to weekly confession over!……………………………………………………………………………………….. May a thousand scorpions crawl out of their anus and torment them to their surely eventual destination… that 28 thousand tonnes of coal should fuel the flames for eternity!

  3. TuffGuy

    As mentioned above the biggest question in this is “will the coal actually get to Ukraine?” We have had the big announcement right before the one about the election. We have seen they went directly to Whitehaven, thus bypassing/rejecting most other coal mining companies. No doubt the government will pass all the money directly to Whitehaven (for the coal and transport) and we will most likely never hear about any ships full of coal departing our shores. They have done this before, slipping large sums to donor friends. $40 million slipped into rupert’s pockets, another $40 million slipped into brian houston’s pockets, $440 million slipped to the GBRF staffed by (at the time) 7 es fossil fuel CEOs, many billions slipped to that company working out of a little beach shack on kangaroo island (not only with just $7 in their bank account but also zero experience in providing garrison services overseas or anywhere).
    So yeah, this money will just disappear into the ether of Whitehaven bank accounts

  4. New England Cocky

    Whitehaven Coal is associated with former Nazional$ Party leader Mark Vaile, who abandoned politics to take the coal mining position.

    Well, you have to look after your mates at taxpayer expense, don’t you?

  5. Terence Mills

    The coalition government were shocked and dismayed to learn that the Solomon Islands are responding to Chinese offers of aid.

    I wonder why ?

    The Coalition government has cut aid spending in real terms for six budgets in a row between 2013-14 and 2018-19. Annual aid spending fell from $5.5 billion to $4.1 billion over that period, after adjusting for inflation.

    What is it about this government that they don’t seem to grasp the importance of foreign aid, particularly in our Pacific region.

    I’m just waiting for Morrison to announce a shipment of coal to Honiara !

  6. Michael Taylor

    Terry, I don’t wish to make light the horrors of the Ukraine invasion, but if Scotty jumps when they asked for coal, perhaps we could encourage Ukraine to ask Scotty to do more for Indigenous Australians, or our Pacific neighbours, or refugees, or the unemployed… I could go on.

  7. Kerri

    Why are we supplying coal to allow electricity supply to Ukrainian households, many of which, are now rubble?

  8. Jon Chesterson

    TRUTH TRUMPS SATIRE – Morrison’s Lunacy!

    Despicable! Did anyone tell him there was a war on and he wants to give them coal he can’t sell any more to anyone including China. Will they have to come and collect it?

    How are the people of Ukraine going to use coal if they are being deported to Russia and interned in camps by Putin and the Russian military?

    And don’t forget what he really thinks of refugees. He’ll be selling it to them next, or New Zealand.

  9. Terence Mills


    I’m prepared to bet that coal never gets to Ukraine and that it was just another announcement – I hope our media follow up on this.

  10. Regional Elder

    Meanwhile, following up your point about Australia’s declining foreign aid to Pacific nations, Terry, Morrison has declined to meet the new Chinese Ambassador. This is probably due to his paranoia that China will be providing aid in the Solomons.

    Morrison seems not to appreciate how much he is on the nose in Pacific Island nations due to his refusal to acknowledge how climate change has for some time affecting their way of life, and his refusal to acknowledge that high emitting emissions Australia, is contributing to their challenges.

  11. Goog48

    Wikipedia has Poland gets its coal from Russia and gets some from Australia and Poland does have its own coal mines many not profitable

  12. Watchdog

    Well said Goog48. There is always another half to the story of rusted on spin. Even the aimed at 7-14 year olds has the basics.

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