Clive Palmer wants to protect Australia from foreign powers and to save Australia. He makes this promise in advertisements on TV, online, in the print media and on massive billboards throughout the country.
However, while he promises voters that his United Australia Party will protect Australia from foreign ownership and foreign interference, he himself has benefitted enormously from foreign companies operating in Australia.
The UAP website states:
“Our precious assets including our hospitals, ports, schools and power companies cannot be in the firing line, they need to be protected. We cannot have the Chinese government or any foreign government deciding how much we pay for essential services and how we live,’’
On a side note, does any foreign government or company want to buy an Australian school?
The UAP also boasts about preventing the sale of Australian assets to Chinese state owned companies, including a campaign launched in January 2015 to stop the potential sale of $50 billion in Queensland and NSW assets to the foreign government.
The UAP statements are true on the surface.
But dig a little deeper and it’s clear to see how Palmer himself has benefitted from foreign ownership in Australia, and used that money to fund the United Australia Party. The UAP website lists only one country specifically: China. This is interesting because China made Clive Palmer one of the richest people in Australia, and the world.
Economics experts claim that Palmer’s Mineralogy company was at one stage earning a million dollars a day from a Chinese mining company. According to Australian Financial Review, Palmer did a deal with Chinese company CITIC in 2006 in which he sold a series of mining claims for $415 million with ongoing royalties payable on every tonne of ore mined.
Despite earning so much money from a deal with a foreign company, Palmer did not pay many of his own employees. As a result, the Commonwealth Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme, funded by the taxpayer, paid $65.6 million to workers. Logic tells us that Palmer, their employer, will repay the money to the government, and to the taxpayer, but he indicated on numerous occasions that he was reluctant to do so.
Palmer’s business deal also allows a Chinese company, and thus a foreign company, to expand its iron ore mining activities in Australia.
Where does that money go?
How much of that mining money goes to the ‘foreigners’ Palmer and his UAP are trying to warn us against?
A lot of it. Foreign companies do employ a certain percentage of Australians in their operations on Australian soil, in accordance with Australian laws, but they also employ their own people. Mining operations make millions and millions of dollars per year, and when this much money is at stake, companies don’t take a risk when hiring employees. They won’t take a risk on hiring an Australian who may or may not be the best person for the job. They bring in their own people, and often those people are foreigners, who send the majority of their earnings back home.
This sobering statistic applies not only to Clive Palmer and his comany. It applies to the entire mining industry in Australia.
86% of Australia’s mining industry is foreign owned.
BHP, for example, is 76% foreign owned and Rio Tinto is 83% foreign owned. Furthermore, according to the Australia Institute:
“A 2016 Treasury paper on Foreign Investment in Australia stated that less than 10% of mining projects currently underway is solely owned by Australian owned companies, while over 90% have some level of foreign ownership.”
Thus, if Palmer plans to save Australia and protect it from foreign ownership, he might first need to warn his colleagues in the mining industry.
What does this all mean?
If you’re Australian, and if you’re eligible to vote, it matters. If you vote for the UAP, for any of their candidates, you are voting for increased foreign ownership of Australia’s resources, and you are voting for Aussie money to be taken overseas.