Home > The taint of corruption? [op/ed]

The taint of corruption? [op/ed]

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When applying for the role of New South Wales mining and resources minister is there a sign that says you must be at least this corrupt to apply?

It definitely seems to be the case when you look at some of our previous resources ministers for the state. 

While I'm obviously being facetious, there is something about the run we've had with some of recent the resources ministers in New South Wales - Chris Hartcher, Ian Macdonald, and Eddie Obied. 

Then again, it may just have something to do with the Central Coast, we can't forget the trouble Craig Thomson and Darren Webber and the allegations being laid against them as well. 

While these men have all tarnished their own reputations with misdeeds that we aren't going to go into here, we're left wondering what kind of damage they've done to the NSW mining and resources industry. 

There have always been claims of dodgy dealings against the industry, and compared to how business was done less than 100 years ago, the industry has cleaned itself up immensely and it's very transparent in its operations in Australia. 

Despite the constant claims by Greens of underhandedness, the industry doesn't like to get figuratively dirty.

One of the most bizarre claims of dirty dealing by the industry recently was by Greens MP David Shoebridge who said that Rio Tinto forced its workers to give positive responses to the public submission stage of Rio's Mt Thorley Warkworth coal mine expansion plans. 

"We've seen Rio Tinto having an open email to its employees urging them to go and make personal submissions on both the planning bill and other matters," he said, claiming company shenanigans.  

"Effectively disguising their corporate lobbying as being self generated individual submissions from their employees, and there is a degree of dishonesty in that." 

He went on to bash the company saying: "We've got what is a dishonest process where Rio Tinto is effectively getting its individual employees to put in submissions looking as though they were generated by, produced by these individuals, when they've been presented after having a big shove in the back by there corporate employer." 

Because of course no one in their right mind would be positive about an expansion which ensured that they could keep their job for a few more years - it must obviously be the company forcing their hand and being dishonest. 

One miner, speaking to the ABC, clarified the entire argument.  

"They pointed us to the website to make submissions if we wanted to. 

"For me personally I sort of made it based on my situation and the way I want my future there to be." 

And no doubt Shoebridge would be up in arms in the mine shut down and cut all the jobs at the operations if the expansion does not go through. 

It does seem that dirty dealings in the government have tarnished mining to a degree, but there are always those that ensure the industry is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't.

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