Mining Industry Campaign Cost $22million

This blog post is 10 years old. Please, when reading this, be mindful of its age.

Last year, I wrote that the Mining Industry had one of the best campaign sites I’d seen.

The Minerals Council of Australia is running a scare-campaign in opposition to the Federal Government’s proposed resources super-profits tax. The Federal Government is quite rightly proposing to introduce a profits tax on exceptionally high profits to ensure that Australians get a greater share of the profits made by mining companies made from Australia’s non-renewable resources.

The Minerals Council’s well-resourced (and misleading) scare-campaign is being run with television and newspaper ads, both from the Council itself and from individual members (such as BHP and Rio Tinto, and others), as well as a scare-website: Keep Mining Strong.

This website (and the campaign more broadly) is a good case study for campaigners to look at. This is for several reasons: strong key messages, clear calls to action, consistent branding, good mix of media (including social media), and personalisation.

Mary-Katherine, an abandoned uranium mine near Mt Isa, QLD
Mary-Katherine, an old uranium mine near Mt Isa, QLD

It has now been revealed that their scare-campaign cost over $22 million.

This astonishing fact shows the corrosive nature of the Minerals Council’s anti-democratic campaign. The intervention into Australia’s civil society by a cashed-up lobby group is straight from the US Washington DC “hardball” playbook.

The figures show the industry spent $22.2 million on the campaign, which ran from the start of May until late June when Ms Gillard took over and negotiated a compromise on the tax.

The industry’s national body, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), spent $17.2 million, mainly on television advertisements; BHP Billiton spent $4.2 million; Rio Tinto spent just over $537,000; and a smaller lobby group, the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC), spent just over $273,000. […]

On top of the direct spending by the mining industry, several mining companies donated another $1.9 million to the federal election war chests of the Liberal Party and the Nationals.

While I lauded the website as an example of a successful, effective campaign, and noted that you don’t need millions of dollars to re-create that kind of effectiveness, it is shocking to see just how much they did spend on the campaign overall.

This blog post is 10 years old. Please, when reading this, be mindful of its age.

1 thought on “Mining Industry Campaign Cost $22million”

  1. It really shows the need for Unions to be campaigning quite strongly on campaign finance reform. Big Money has no place in politics – our strength comes from our members.

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