12 Oct 2023
The Senate Inquiry into the Closing Loopholes Bill is underway and Australian mining bosses with their world-beating profits have tied themselves in knots explaining how they are the real victims here.
Leading the pity party was Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) CEO Tania Constable. Here are 5 highlights (or lowlights) from her evidence.
1. Labour hire miners getting their fair share?
According to Constable, labour hire workers in mining are actually paid more than direct employees. Say what?
In our experience, labour hire workers in coal mining typically earn $30,000-$40,000 less per year than directly employed workers doing the exact same job.
When pressed about when labour hire workers would get their fair share at a time mining profits are rapidly outstripping wages growth, Tania Constable insisted: “They are already getting their fair share.”
2. … but new laws will still cost billions?
Question of the day was from Senator Tony Sheldon when he asked:
“So, if they’re not getting paid less, why are you putting out there in the media that there’s billions of dollars extra that the mining industry will have to pay? On one hand you’re saying that there’s labour hire getting paid more, but then there’s also an additional cost of billions of dollars. That, to me, just simply does not make sense.”
3. Mining companies have spent ‘tens of millions’ fighting fairer work laws
If you’ve seen their ads in the media, driven past one of their billboards, or received one of their dodgy mass texts this statement won’t shock you.
Still, it’s remarkable how quickly Constable admitted to spending a fortune on confusing ads and spam texts, especially for an organisation so concerned with the new laws costing members’ money.
4. … just don’t ask who is paying
In contrast, Constable remained tight-lipped when asked exactly who is funding their campaign. Responding to the question of “who do you work for?” with the steel resolve of a spy being interrogated, Constable only gave up that the campaign was approved “across the board” and that the biggest backers were the MCA’s “tier one members”.
No prizes for guessing who these backers may be.
5. ‘We don’t intend to stop until this Bill is stopped’
The MCA have made it clear they’ll continue to pump out confusing ads about lettuce pickers and bludging workers until the Closing Loopholes Bill is withdrawn. Mining companies are on a good thing with their labour hire rort, and they’re not going to let concepts like ‘fairness’, ‘genuine collective bargaining’ and ‘sharing record profits’ get in the way.
Unfortunately for the Minerals Council, we don’t intend to stop campaigning either.
Hearings are continuing and MEU members will participate in an upcoming hearing in Rockhampton, stay tuned for more details.