Last week saw Tony Abbott arrive back from his overseas sojourn to find himself well and truly wedged between the farmers who are his natural constituents and the miners of Western Australia who contribute much needed $s to Liberal Party coffers.
Media coverage of Tony Abbott being questioned resulted in as TomR put it, “the yabot bobble head moment”.
As per one of the interviewers “You’re dodging it here…this is quite embarrassing”.
Bill Shorten subsequently added:
Mr Abbott has put a sovereign risk into mining investment by backing the rights of farmers. If you’re going to upend the whole way of doing business in Australia here in the mining sector, I wouldn’t do it with some reckless, risky thought bubble. It doesn’t matter what is a popular headline on a radio show. We need foreign investment in this country.
The Liberal Party is therefore faced with contradicting policies. On one hand we have the resources super-profits tax which Tony Abbott has stated:
Well plainly, I think there are real sovereign risk issues associated with Australia today because with the mining tax and with the carbon tax the Government is seeking to change the game after it’s started. It’s seeking to change the rules after people have already committed millions and billions of dollars in these vast operations. Now, it’s just not fair to investors to have them commit billions of dollars to projects like this and then suddenly change the rules under which they operate and ultimately change the returns to shareholders. I mean investors already face many uncertainties; they face uncertainties of market, they face all the range of difficulties that businesses face and the job of government is not to make difficult situations worse.
On the other we have Tony Abbott’s call for farmers to have the right to “say no” to their land being accessed for mineral exploration. All resulting in an unlikely political alliance with the Greens, who have now supported his declaration that farmers should be able to say no to mining exploration and development on their own land.
And welcome tomorrow to the new Senate and the Greens who Abbott has stated previously that he will not negotiate with. But what about on this issue Tony?
UPDATE: How quickly can Tony Abbott backpedal, he is now saying that “it (coal seam gas miners having access to agricultural land) is a matter for the states”.