The Citizens Party will reassert national control over Australia's huge mineral resources, by "buying back the farm", or through other necessary government action.
This is the unfinished work of Gough Whitlam and Rex Connor. Australia is home to the world's largest diamond mine, the Argyle mine in the Kimberleys, and we also rank in the world's top six producers of bauxite, cobalt, gold, iron ore, lead, lithium, manganese ore, mineral sands, nickel, silver, tantalum, uranium and zinc. As for reserves, we have the world's largest economic demonstrated resources of bauxite, lead, mineral sands (alluvial ilmenite, rutile and zircon), tantalum, uranium, silver and zinc, and are among the world's top six for black coal, brown coal, cobalt, copper, diamonds, gold, iron ore, lithium, manganese ore, nickel and rare earth oxides. Australia also ranks 11th in world production of natural gas, the North West Shelf Project alone responsible for producing, marketing, and transporting one-tenth of the world's current supply of liquefied natural gas. Most of these bountiful resources are in the control of the British Crown's raw materials cartel, led by the Queen's own mining company, Rio Tinto. Rex Connor's vision was to use this huge wealth for the development of Australia. It is important this be achieved, if we are to progress from being nothing more than a glorified quarry for our colonial masters.
Exporting raw materials actually robs the nation of many times the wealth it generates, as was illustrated in Liberal Prime Minister John Gorton’s 23 January 1970 Federal Cabinet submission, in the case of exporting one million tons of bauxite (dollar values have changed since, but ratios will be similar):
- Raw material, export earnings: $5 million
- Processed one step into alumina, export earnings: $27 million
- Processed second step into aluminium, export earnings: $120 million
- Processed final step into aluminium products, export earnings: $600 million!
Great Australian patriots such as the Liberal Party’s John Gorton, Country Party leader John “Black Jack” McEwen, and Labor stalwarts Rex Connor and Jim Cairns knew that raw-materials exports looted Australia, and waged a fierce fight in the late 1960s and early 1970s to establish the Australian Industry Development Corporation (AIDC) as a national fund to invest in processing; Gorton was even called a socialist by people in his own Liberal Party. When Connor and Cairns fought to “buy back the farm”, the owner of Rio Tinto (then CRA), the Queen herself, sacked the Whitlam government, to crush any attempt to assert national control over Australia’s resources, which would impinge on the Anglo-Dutch raw materials cartel’s monopoly.
Since Hawke and Keating unleashed the globalisation destruction of Australia, our once-great industrial economy, which built the Snowy Mountains Scheme, launched satellites into space, was capable of every type of manufacturing and boasted a world-class machine tool industry, has been literally reduced to rubble—mountains of it, towering beside the enormous holes that are the main feature of our globalised “quarry” economy.
The government’s bastardisation of our social security system has herded workers into compulsory superannuation, to become the millions of small investors in the very companies gouging Australia: banks, oil companies, resources companies and so on.
The only way to reverse this wanton destruction of Australia, and make our economy fully functional for the future, is to assert national control over all of Australia’s resource wealth:
- The Citizens Party will establish a national resources company, owned by the government, to develop our strategic resources, especially uranium and thorium, and take over functioning mines that private companies would otherwise shut down, such as BHP’s Ravensthorpe nickel mine.
- Private mining companies would only operate under a strict national licensing régime, to regulate the mining operation and to ensure the resource is used in the national interest. For example, mining companies would not be allowed to use Australian resources to extort the domestic or global economy, the way the Rio Tinto/BHP Billiton duopoly currently use Australia’s iron ore to hold the world’s steel industry to ransom for higher and higher prices.
- Financed by a national bank, credit will be directed into developing onshore processing for all raw materials—steel factories, oil refineries, smelters, uranium enrichment etc. From there, Australian infrastructure and industry will have priority access to those materials, as Australia embarks on an unprecedented reindustrialisation program centred on a national high-speed railway network, a nuclear power grid, great water projects, especially to develop the Top End, and a space program.
- Australia will share its resources with other nations under mutually-beneficial, long-term government-to-government contracts.