Greenpeace exposes murky influence network that entrenches coal’s power over Liberal and National parties
SYDNEY, May 8, 2019 - As Australians prepare to cast their votes, a new report by Greenpeace lifts the lid on a secretive cabal that has embedded itself in the highest levels of the Morrison government, benefitting the coal industry at the expense of communities, families, and the environment. You won’t find it on your ballot paper, but its power looms over Parliament.
Greenpeace’s ‘Dirty Power’ report, authored by investigative journalist Michael West, exposes why the coal industry continues to enjoy unparalleled political support from within the Coalition, even as much of the world plans to reduce, and ultimately phase out the power source that is the number one cause of climate damage.
“The coal industry hasn’t achieved its unprecedented power over governments and climate and energy policy by chance. The political decisions that delay climate action, slow the introduction of clean energy and – against the wishes of the majority of Australians – entrench coal power, can be attributed to the influence of this shadowy network,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Head of Research and Investigations, Dr Nikola Casule said.
“A wide, well-funded web of industry groups and lobbyists, supported by coal’s political and media allies, has been key to protecting the interest of coal companies. Individuals at these organisations regularly trade places, reinforcing the connections within a system that keeps coal at the centre of Australian politics, stifling energy sector reform and action on climate change.
“On their face, many of the decisions the Morrison Government has made around climate and energy seem hard to explain.
“Why would the Prime Minister overrule Treasury advice and shortlist a coal fired power plant for a government subsidy? Why did Josh Frydenberg hand over $444 million in public funds to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation without a competitive tender process or application? Why would the Environment Minister order an independent government body to advise how coal-fired power stations could earn carbon credits under a climate action scheme? This report sheds light on the answers to these awkward questions.”
Through dozens of interviews with industry and political insiders, Dirty Power exposes how Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s senior staff and members of his government are dominated by former executives and employees of the coal industry, and its lobbyists. The report also examines the controversial, last-minute approval for the Adani Carmichael mine’s groundwater plan by Environment Minister, Melissa Price and the treatment given to Trevor St Baker’s coal business interests.
In its totality, Dirty Power reveals a network with industry, lobbying, media and political arms that all work together to keep coal paramount as individual leaders and ministers come and go.
“Australia is in a climate emergency caused by the coal industry and these enablers,” Dr Casule said.
“This network can no longer be allowed to decide whether the Great Barrier Reef lives or dies, or our children get to breathe clean air, or whether ever fiercer bushfires threaten our homes. People are fed up with broken promises and want urgent action now.”
To read the full report
Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan
0424 295 422