WA election: a hope for the environment

Western Australians are going to the poll on Saturday, April 5,  to elect six senators to represent the State to Federal Parliament. Environmental groups nationwide are hoping it will be a historic day to defeat  Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his power over the Upper House.

Kimberley landscape

After six months or so in office, the Abbott’s Coalition Government has been under fire from various sectors due to what their call anti-human policies. These include  uncompassionate treatment of asylum seekers detained in Manus Island, unnecessary job cuts, gay rights and bigotry, ignoring child care workers, and reckless participation in TPP, among many other issues,

Conservation groups are especially disappointed at how the Government disregards pressing issues such as environment and climate change. They accused Abbott of callousness with “unprecedented attack on the natural environment.”

Among environmental attacks include:

  • the intention to log World Heritage forests in Tasmania;
  • the anomalous approval of the world’s biggest coal port next to the Great Barrier Reef which include dredging and dumping waste into the world heritage area; and
  • the slaughter of endangered marine life such as the great white shark

Former Greens Senator Bob Brown joins the crowd to oppose the gas hub project. (Photo: Supplied)

Perth protest against shark cull. (Photo: Stu Rapley /Flickr CC)

Wilderness Society (WA) campaigner Jenita Enevoldsen reminds voters that Abbott also wants to hand environmental approval powers to the States, which are incapable of handling nationally significant environmental matters.

A reminder of the Coalition Government’s free market thinking with no regard to legality and decency, Enevoldsen brings up WA’s Barnett Government which approved to bulldoze ancestral lands in James Price Point to build a gas hub.  The courts, however, ruled the multi-billion dollar project illegal.  She warns, “WA’s beautiful south west forests are also under threat given the Prime Minister’s recent extraordinary comments about logging and national parks.”

Last month, various groups across  political parties held a huge rally nationwide in protest to the Government’s policies. March in March , for one, is a demonstration against policies that degrade the most vulnerable. ”This signifies the people’s vote of no confidence in policies of the government that go against common principles of humanity, decency, fairness social justice and equity, democratic governance, responsible global citizenship and conserving our natural heritage,”  its website reads. March in March is just a beginning. Bigger assemblies are coming up.

But before West Australians are going to the poll this weekened, the Wilderness Society and GetUp are out to thwart Abbott’s grip of power over the Senate.

A gas exploration clearing in James Price Cook (Photo: Julia Rau)

They launched a new campaign made up of a TV ad and a website to gather supporters. The TV ad targets younger voters: “Do Australia a Favour – Don’t give Tony Abbott control of the Senate.” The Wilderness Society spearheaded Thunderclap .

Sam Mclean, National Director of GetUp, said West Australians had a second chance to create balance in the Senate this weekend.

There are 77 candidates contesting for the Senate with six candidate from the Greens, four from the Australian Labor Party, and four from the Liberal.  The rest come from a diverse political parties. View list HERE

Blog LInk: The Green Journal / Asian Correspondent

 

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Northern Australia poised to meet the Asian era?

Re-blogging:

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott indicated yesterday he is ready for the Asian Century.

If he wins in the federal poll this coming September, his coalition government will map out plans to fast-track the development of Australia’s northern regions- from Cairns in Queensland to Broome in Western Australia. This will lay the groundwork for linking Australia’s tropics to Asia. It will be Abbott’s priority within the first 12 months in office.

Northern Australia’s farmland which could be transformed into a food bowl of Australia and Asia. (Photo: Supplied)

The Coalition’s 2030 Vision for Developing Northern Australia, which was released Friday, highlights his plans. Topping the list is to develop the long-standing dream of many free-market economists and politicians to transform Northern Australia into a food bowl which will feed not only Australians, but also neighbouring Asians.

Abbott said the coalition wants to “capitalise on Northern Australia’s existing strengths and natural advantages in agriculture”—along with energy development, tourism opportunities, education and health services. Noting the economic forecast in the region, he said,

With Asia’s real GDP expected to grow from US$27 trillion to US$67 trillion by 2030 and Northern Australia’s proximity to the tropical region, Northern Australia is well placed to capitalise on the significant economic, strategic and environmental macro-trends that will shape both the Asian and tropical regions.

The food bowl mega-dream will include premium produce which could help to double Australia’s agricultural output.

A tractor ploughs through the vast land of Western Australia. (Photo: Supplied)

The resurrected food bowl plan, however, backfired from environmental groups.

The Wilderness Society (WS), for one, repulses the plan saying that past projects have failed. It said that while billion of dollars have been ploughed through large-scale irrigation projects, they were all doomed. Examples are the Humpty Doo in the Northern Territory and the Ord and Camballin in Western Australia, respectively.

The Society notes the Ord, the poster child of the northern food bowl,  has “been a monumental flop.” The government invested more than $1.3 but large-scale cropping for rice, sugar, cotton, and other crops have failed.

It also said that in 2010, rice failed in 12 months after being reintroduced in the Ord while the cotton industry collapsed after 12 years.

In 2007, former Samsung subsidiary Cheil Jedang shut down its unprofitable sugar mill. The Ord has now been given to a Chinese hotel developer for a “pittance in the vain hope he can succeed in the sugar business where the Korean food giant failed.”

Almost half the Ord is now planted with sandalwood for incense and perfume ‑ hardly useful for feeding Asia.

Crops in this northwestern region. (Photo: Supplied)

The Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce (NALWT) earlier released a sustainability report that finds no scientific evidence to support a food bowl vision for the north. The landscape is limited by poor soils, water availability and harsh climatic conditions.

The WS said recent research by the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge group (TRaCK) at Charles Darwin University has backed up previous substantial analysis showing the case for a sustainable northern food bowl does not exist.

Northern Australia is a graveyard for failed agricultural projects. There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support the northern Australia food bowl fantasy.

Rob Law from Melbourne University earlier wrote in The Conversation that the nation’s psyche has been obsessed with the vision for Northern Australia’s food bowl.  He notes it never left the minds of southern developers and politicians as well as other “visionaries.” The vast scope of northern land covers the vast and intact  savanna ecosystems across northern Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.

The Institute of Public Affairs, a free-market economy think-tank, highlights “the north remains underdeveloped and it is fantastic that the Coalition is looking to unleash its potential.”

By contrast, the NT Environment Centre  pointed out that “the north is a graveyard for failed agricultural projects inspired by ‘visionary’ southern politicians”.

Law predicted that if a coalition government wins in the 2013 election, “it is likely a new battle will be played out on familiar ground.”

The WS’s response: Abbott’s northern food bowl idea is doomed to be an expensive failure and repeat mistakes of past.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott announces his coalition’s 2030 vision. (Photo: Alex Ellinghausen/Canberra Times)

National Director Lyndon Schneiders said Northern Australia needs new infrastructure and sustainable development opportunities but the north will never be the food bowl of the world, Asia or even Australia. He adds,

“This is bad policy, written with purely political objectives and dressed up as vision, with no costings and no hard commitments. The main point of this policy announcement seems to be currying favour with Australia’s richest person, Gina Reinhart, and to stem vote leak in northern Australia to the Katter Party and Clive Palmer’s United Party.”

Schneiders  suggests that rather than pursuing the “northern myth,” the coalition should be looking at ways to increase support and productivity for sustainable agriculture in southern Australia.

The Society welcomes proposals to increase investment in tourism but questions how destroying the north’s greatest asset, its extraordinary wilderness environments, to make farmland, is compatible with realising its tourism potential, including recreational tourism such as fishing.

Blog Link: Asian Correspondent

Kimberley’s gas hub collapsed

Western Australia’s fantasy of making Kimberley the next Dubai and the world’s largest gas hub suddenly came crumbling down following Woodside Petroleum’s announcement today it is dumping its $45 billion LNG investment in James Point Price.

Broom Community No Gas Campaign flashes a banner to celebrate win outside Woodside’s Office. (Photo: BCNG)

Woodside CEO Peter Coleman admitted the gas project is economically unviable saying the company has been under cost pressure. He said James Point Price does not meet the company’s commercial requirements for a positive investment decision.  A major review of the proposed LNG processing plant near Broome was found it would not deliver the returns the company needed.

While this development is a cause for elation among traditional land owners and local communities who have fought day in and day out to block the project, the WA state government is now pointing fingers amid  the “dismal failure” of the project.

Theresa Roe embraces her granddaughter after Woodside’s announcement. (Photo: BCNG)

WA Opposition Leader Mark McGowan blamed Premier Colin Barnett, saying his constant interfering and meddling caused the project to be lost. Barnett has opposed offshore processing and has intervened in the decision of the onshore site which is unviable, McGowan claimed.

Woodside also announced it will immediately engage with the Browse joint venture to recommend evaluation of other development concepts to commercialise the Browse resources. Woodside would consider floating technologies, a pipeline to existing LNG facilities in the Pilbara or a smaller onshore option at the proposed Browse LNG precinct near James Price Point, a statement said.

Coleman said the company supports floating technology, but this will need to be determined by the joint venture. Woodside’s partner like Shell Australia, for example, supports the onshore floating technology.

A photo showing an alternative technology for the project. (Photo: Golarabooloo- Lurujarri Heritage Trail)

“Floating LNG can bring significant long-term, sustainable jobs to Western Australia, Australia, and the Kimberley, as well as providing employment and business opportunities for Kimberley indigenous people,” Shell spokesperson Ann Pickard said in a statement. She added Shell would work closely with the Browse joint venture and government to keep the Browse project on track.

Premier Barnett laments the failure to develop a gas hub project at James Price Point is a “tragedy and a missed opportunity.”

Greens celebrate death of Barnett’s gas hub

The Wilderness Society said the gas fiasco should serve as a warning to governments and businesses not to go ahead with any project without a social licence forcing communities to accept unwanted and unsustainable developments. He notes Barnett’s failure also proves that WA can not be trusted with environmental assessments.

Traditional owners and local communities march in Freemantle. (Photo: Save the Kimberley)

Wilderness Society National Director Lyndon Schneiders said, “Woodside and its joint-venture partners have avoided possibly the biggest environmental battle in Australia’s history by walking away from Barnett’s folly at James Price Point.”

In January this year, Woodside started bulldozing ancestral burial sites in Walmadan, an act that enraged indigenous communities. “Hundreds if not thousands of people were prepared to stop Woodside from working in the sand dune area at Walmadan, which has great cultural significance to the Traditional Owners,” Schneiders said.

Schneiders, in a statement, also calls for Barnett to end this “appalling project” for good and asks him for a time to heal the pain of the indigenous people in WA. He said,

This development was opposed by people all around Australia and the world, but nowhere stronger than by the brave Broome community who stood up to hundreds of police alongside the Traditional Custodians who wanted to treasure their cultural heritage.

The Wilderness Society still wants answers on why a compromised Western Australian Environment Protection Authority was allowed to approve the project when there were so many flaws in the environmental and social impact assessment.

An aerial view of the LNG site/ (Photo:AAP/Mike Gray/Environs Kimberley)

Victory, but the fight is not yet over

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) said the battle to save the Kimberley has come to define a new generation of Australian environmental activists, many of whom have taken the opportunity to visit the Kimberley, get the red dirt on their feet, and will now feel personally connected to it for life.

The ACF also notes how rallies and festivals brought the Kimberley to the nation’s capital cities where hundreds of thousands of exceptional Australians have collectively said: ‘No, the Kimberley is too precious to lose.’ It adds the project lost its social license long ago and with Woodside’s announcement, it has now lost its economic licence.

Former Greens Senator Bob Brown joins in a Freemantle rally to oppose the planned gas hub. (Photo: Save the Kimberley)

While Woodside is exploring other alternative options to salvage what remains in the project, the AFC warns the battle is not yet over. ”Put simply, this means that the industrialisation of James Price Point and west Kimberley remain a possibility,” it said, concluding:

We will continue to update you on what this means, but for today at least take a moment to feel proud that because of Australia’s standing strong for the Kimberley ancient songlines, dinosaur footprints, monsoon thickets, bilby colonies and the world’s largest humpback whale nursery remain protected from a gas hub.

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Kimberley’s sacred sites destroyed for a large-scale gas venture

Western Australia is one of the last remaining frontiers of the Indigenous Australians. Series of land grabs pushed them to this territory. But now, even their ancestral graveyards have to go.

Western Australian Indigenous Affairs Minister Peter Collier approved Woodside Petroleum to start bulldozing Aboriginal heritage sites, including the sand dunes area at James Price Point, in order to give way to a $30-40 billion  LNG project. Below the sand dunes are the remains and fossils of Aboriginal ancestors.

The company stopped working in sand dunes last year pending application of a clearance under the Heritage Act. The clearance would allow holders to work at sites registered by local Aboriginal people. The lack of earlier approvals underpinned protesters’ claims the project is illegal.

The State Government fancies this sacred land to emerge as the “Saudi Arabia of Gas,” the world’s largest gas hub. And this could be the ultimate act of Aboriginal dispossession.

Tracks on James Price Point (Photo: Kimberley Media)

James Price Point, originally named Walmadany, is located at the apex of the Lurujarri Heritage trail, the sacred place where several of the revered Goolarabooloo and Jabirr Jabirr men and women were buried, including the highly respected traditional custodian Walmadany.

Woodside claims a Native Title Agreement was executed on 30 June 2011 to enable the establishment of the Browse LNG Precinct near James Price Point, 60 km north of Broome. The Indigenous people, however, said the agreement was based on fraud.

When the Colin Barnett Government approved the multi-billion gas project, the Traditional Owner Taskforce (TOTF) was not consulted. The TOTF drew on the best practices in traditional governance and decision-making structures. It incorporates procedures in contemporary meeting, decision-making and information transfer practices to “create a unique, culturally appropriate, consistent and comprehensive consultation and engagement process.” (p.41)

Protests continue to oppose the gas hub. (Photo: nationalunitygovernment.org)

The principle of Indigenous Free Prior Informed Consent (IFPIC) was ignored. It also reinforces the decision of West Australian Supreme Court Chief Justice Martin that the process of compulsorily acquiring land from Goolarabooloo and Jabirr Jabirr traditional owners was unlawful.

The Wilderness Society said allowing Woodside to start work in the sand dunes at James Price Point is like sanctioning the bulldozing of St George’s Cathedral in Perth or St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney and all of the grave sites associated with these religious institutions.

The Society joins the Traditional Custodians in condemning the approval of Woodside’s request to enter and destroy thousands of years of Indigenous Heritage in the area to pursue its proposed gas processing complex.

Wilderness Society WA Campaign Manager Peter Robertson said,

This approval by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs yet again demonstrates the willingness of the WA Government to put unnecessary and unwanted development ahead of the people of the region and the values of the community. We call on the other Browse joint-venture partners to make it clear whether they support the destruction of these ancient burial grounds.

He added it is worth noting that the proponent for the James Price Point gas processing complex is Premier Colin Barnett in his role as Minister for State Development, and that Indigenous Affairs Minister Peter Collier is also the Minister for Energy.

Heritage trail in Broome, WA (Photo: Kimberley Media)

The Society further accused the Government of  incompetence and multiple conflicts of interest in pursuing the project from its botched attempts at compulsory acquisition through to the environmental approval process and now the approval for Woodside to destroy sand dunes of the highest cultural and religious significance.

James Price Point is one of the fiercest battlegrounds between the Indigenous people and the Australian Government in contemporary times. With the support of the local communities, Green and civic groups, the Indigenous people are fighting to protect the “Law Below the Top Soil” – the law handed down from many generations to another that governs their ancestral rights.

Barricades, clashes between police and civilians, and arrests are expected to continue in the course of the project.

“I can feel the pain coming through this ground. This country is screaming from hurt.” –Albert Wiggan’s powerful monologue from OLD COUNTRY NEW COUNTRY on Woodside Energy’s proposed gas plant at James Price Point.

Blog Link: Asian Correspondent

Greens, Sea Shepherd intensify anti-Woodside gas campaign

Former Senator Bob Brown will be the star celebrity on Fathers’ Day when he gathers a throng of supporters to see the Sea Shepherd’s Steve Irwin ship docked onto the Circular Quay in Sydney, Sept 2.

Sea Shepherd’s Steve Irwin sail for Ganthueme Point to launch Operation Kimberley Miinimbi. (Photo: Anabelle Sandes)

The ship has just arrived from its voyage to the remote coast of Kimberley in Western Australia to intervene on behalf of 10,000 or so humpback whales said to be threatened by Woodside’s Petroleum’s gas factory in the Browse Basin off western Kimberley.

Sea Shepherd is known as the champion-defender of marine animals. It goes against man-made predators including the well-known Japanese whalers in the southern oceans. In July, the Goolarabooloo people invited the marine group to help drive away Woodside and its partners from the Kimberley region.

The Browse Basin off western Kimberley is home to the Humpback Whale (Photo: Paul Souders/National Geographic)

In the letter to Jeff Hansen, Sea Shepherd Australian director, the “Senior Law Bosses” said the industrialisation project located 50km north off Broome will destroy 30 sq km of land and 50 sq km of seabed. It will destroy the Law of Culture and songcycle which provides health and vitality of the people.

Hansen responded positively, and with Brown, the Operation Kimberly Miinimbi was launched. Sea Shepherd’s Steve Irwin left the port of Melbourne in early August and sailed for Ganthueme Point to assess the area.

The Kimberley region is home to the world’s largest population of humpback whales. The Wilderness Society estimates the Kimberley whale population to stand at an estimate of 16,000 to 20,000 individuals. Every year the whales congregate along the Kimberley coast, an arc stretching from Broome and the Dampier Peninsula to Camden Sound where they mate, give birth and nurture and train their young. The whales then migrate south from their ‘home base’ in the Kimberley region, along the Western Australian coast, until they reach their Antarctic summer feeding grounds.

Former Senator Bob Brown, Melissa Park – Federal MP for Fremantle, and Jeff Hansen – Sea Shepherd Australia director flash a banner on the rocks of Ganthueme Point (Photo: seashepherd.org)

Other marine wildlife in area include dolphins, penguins, whale sharks, and turtles.

Brown admitted that whales are the only larger species to ever move on the planet along with the now extinct dinosaurs. The Kimberley coastline is home to the world’s biggest humpback whale nursery, the so-called Group IV humpback population.

The Sea Shepherd claims that since 1 July this year, more than 259 whales have already been recorded by scientific survey just a few kilometers south of James Price Point and 23 calf and cow (mother and baby) pairs have been sighted already, with over 70% found within 5 kilometers of the coast.

The Browse Basin lies entirely offshore north of Broome and covers about 140 000 sq km. The basin is bounded by the Leveque Shelf in the south, the Kimberley Block to the east, and the Ashmore Platform and Scott Plateau in the north, and grades into the offshore Canning Basin to the southwest. The area can be serviced from Broome, which has adequate port and air facilities. The Browse Basin is one of Australia’s most hydrocarbon-rich basins. The most significant hydrocarbon fields of the Browse Basin occur in the Caswell Sub-basin.

The breeding ground for humpback whales is under threat from the massive LNG gas development project. (Photo: wilderness.org.au)

Gas exploration in the area began in 1970. However, the Woodside’s LNG Development marks the largest ever with an investment of $45 billion within the next 30 years. The LNG development seeks to process $200 billion worth of gas and 360 million barrels of condensate from three fields in the Browse Basin, approximately 400km north of Broome off the Western Australian coast.

Woodside has the largest interest in the Browse permit areas held by the Browse LNG Development joint venture, with approximately 46 per cent working interest. The other joint venture participants are Shell Developments Australia Pty Ltd, BP Developments Australia Pty Ltd, and BHP Billiton (North West Shelf) Pty Ltd. Chevron Australia Pty Ltd, however, recently withdrew its interest in the Browse project for a swap deal with Shell.

The gas would be shipped to Asia. James Price Point will become a transmogrified industrial precinct fed by a new highway from Broome. Hundreds of tanker ships will take the processed gas to China, Japan and elsewhere.

Woodside Petroleum unveils its $45 billion LNG plan (Photo: woodside.com.au)

The Goolarabooloo people, traditional owners of the James Price Point (Walmadan) coastline, oppose Woodside’s project. However, the Kimberley Land Council, in a split vote, endorsed it after Woodside committed to paying the council $1.3 billion over 30 years, Brown told Crikey.

The Conservation Council of Western Australia warned that exploitation of this gas field will bring a major environmental impacts from drilling in sensitive marine environments, dredging and blasting of coral reefs and other sensitive marine environments for pipeline construction and construction of new ports.

The massive scale project with offshore emission facilities will produce formation water containing hydrocarbons and heavy metals and flared gas. Over 10 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year is also in place.

The area, to be transformed into a megaport, will significantly increase shipping movements that will potentially interfere with the migration and breeding of humpback whales and other marine life, and risking the introduction of marine invasive species.

If it go head, the Bowse Basin will cost irrepairable damage which include:

4 gas pipelines coming ashore at James Price Point; 4 oil pipelines coming ashore at James Price Point; 4 export pipelines (2 with monoethylene glycol—anti-freeze— going to Scott Reef, 2 with carbon dioxide (if Woodside decides it wants to ‘geo-sequester’ it); 8 huge LNG tanks, 4 LPG storage tanks, 4 oil tanks;  Construction camp for 3,500 – 6,000 workers;  1,000 permanent onsite staff; Desalination plant; 1000 – 1,500 LNG tanker movements year

Whales are natural attractions of Kimberley (Photo: Anabelle Sandes)

The Conservation Council of Western Australia noted that EPA Chairman Dr Paul Vogel even admitted “that turbidity from dredging, oil spills, industrial discharges, noise, light and vessel strikes could adversely affect whales, dolphins, turtles, dugong and fish. Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett is pushing ahead with gas factories at James Price Point, just north of Broome, on one of the world’s most unspoiled coastlines, even though whale deaths are inevitable.”

Blog Link: Asian Correspondent

Australia’s mining goddess acquires Fairfax media

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart grabbed the largest stake at Fairfax Media with additional 42 million shares costing $25 million which she bought in just one transaction today. This increased her total share at the company to almost 15 per cent from 13 per cent, The Australian reported.

Gina Rinehart grabs Fairfax. (Photo: Patrick Hamilton/Perth Now)

Rinehart bought the shares at a price of 60 cents per share. The trade was worth $25.2 million representing 1.8 per cent of Fairfax’s total issued shares, the AAP said at noon.

Perth Now, however, is following up latest developments including a dramatic approached for 235 million shares which was made after the local sharemarket closed, with the offer available till 8pm.

Fairfax is one of the two biggest and most influential media conglomerates in Australia, along with the News Limited owned by the old-rich Rupert Murdoch’s clan.

Perth Now also noted Canberra Media analyst Peter Cox who believes Rinehart is increasing her stake to boost her influence in national affairs. He said Rinehart has already acquired Ten News as a financial investment.

“So this has to be driven by her view on politics in Australia…What’s the point of spending that money on it if you’re not going to have influence?”

The latest stake must be a way to go forward fulfilling the prophesy of climate sceptic Lord Christopher Monckton who advised the rich to capture the media to advance free-market agenda.

Australia’s mining magnates: Clive Palmer, Gina Rinehart, Andrew Forrest

Monckton spoke last year to free-market think tanks in WA on “How to better capture the Australian media to help push a right-wing, free-market and climate sceptic agenda.” It was a boardroom meeting hosted by the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation, a group chaired by mining “Hall of Fame” member Ron Manners to promote free-market ideals and low government intervention.

ABC’s The Drum said Manners is a member of Gina Rinehart’s lobby group ANDEV, which has been joined by the Institute for Public Affairs to lobby for a separate low-tax low regulation economic zone for the north of Australia to make mining projects easier to develop.

The original version of the video has been deleted from You Tube, but GetUp reposted it with transcription capturing Monckton’s verbatim sinister claims:

Is there an Australian version of Fox News?… No….

Frankly whatever you do at a street level, which is what you are talking about here, is not going to have much of an impact compared with capturing an entire news media.

You look at the impact that Andrew Bolt has had since he was rocketed to fame and that is the way to do it, you have to capture the high ground of what are still the major media, and what will remain for quite some time.

And until we crack that one both in the UK and Australia, we’re going to suffer from an disadvantage, against the more libertarian right-wing minded people in the United States…who have got Fox News and have therefore got things like a Tea Party, have at last put some lead into the pencil of the republican Party.

And it seems to me that putting some time into encouraging those we know who are super rich to invest in perhaps even establishing a new satellite TV channel is not an expensive thing, and then get a few…Joe Novas and Andrew Bolts to go on and do the commentating everyday—and keep the news free and fair and balanced, as they do on Fox. That would be breakthrough and give to Australia as it has for America a proper dose of free market thinki

The Australian said Rinehart admitted her desire to control two board seats at the media company which publishes The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age in Melbourne, and the Australian Financial Times. The company also controls the auction website TradeMe, as well as the Southern Cross Broadcasting network of radio stations.

Amid mining boom, Rinehart was also the first mining magnate to get the approval from the Federal Government to import 1715 foreign workers under a new type of 457 visa for the three-year construction phase of Roy Hill iron ore mine in Western Australia.

Caricature to mock Rinehart’s foreign workers (By Nicholson)

The scheme angered local workers and labour unions. Labour observers said Rinehart will take advantage of skilled foreign workers that come with cheaper wages.

This year, the BRW magazine named Rinehart as theworld’s richest woman with $29 billion mining fortune making her $3 billion richer  than Christy Walton’s, the widow whose inherited wealth springs from US retail giant Wal-Mart.

The ABC said “Ms Rinehart has ridden Australia’s resources boom like no-one else; her wealth ballooning by an unparalleled $18.87 billion in the past year….That equates to $1,077,054 every 30 minutes of every day.

Blog LInk: Asian Correspondent