Mining lobby spent almost $400,000 trying to hold back the Greens

After calling for a vote against the Greens, the Queensland Resources Council was forced to register as a third party at the state election.

Dec 15, 2020, updated Dec 15, 2020
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane. (Photo: ABC News)

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane. (Photo: ABC News)

The lobby group, headed by former federal Liberal frontbencher Ian Macfarlane, has now disclosed $388,972.91 in campaign-related expenditure. Its overtly political approach led several mining companies to sever ties, and forced the resources council to meet tougher transparency requirements with the Electoral Commission of Queensland.

The Greens gained a second seat in parliament at the election, and built its vote in several south-east Queensland electorates. In her maiden speech, new Greens member for South Brisbane, Amy MacMahon, declared the state’s rich mineral deposits to be “a wealth enjoyed only by the few at the expense of the many” and vowed to continue pushing for change.

Labor was comfortably re-elected in its own right, and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk recently turned out to a resources council event to reiterate her government’s support for the mining sector. Her gesture came as China ramped up its trade war with Australia.

Mining company New Hope spent $658,521.31 just campaigning for the next government to finalise approvals for the stage three expansion of its mine in southern Queensland.

In disclosures made to date, the third biggest campaign outlay from a third party came from the Shooters Union, which disclosed $201,767.21. The union, which supported One Nation and Katter’s Australian Party candidates, had warned of city-based politicians eroding the rights of gun owners. It also released a “How To Vote Pro-Gun App” to guide supporters.

The gun industry continues to financially support right-wing parties in Queensland.

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