May 2012 Editor's Note
It’s budget time, that onset of chill when the leaves turn golden, the currawongs descend from the mountains and the billionaires swing into activism. Two years ago, vested mining interests set about scuttling a tax on their super profits, going at it so hard that they upended the Prime Minister to boot. Only Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest had second thoughts (as he’s been at pains to explain in recent weeks) – not about paying less tax, but about the overkill.
Then again, perhaps Forrest’s premier-slaying colleague, Clive Palmer, was also trying in his unique way to make amends for Rudd’s removal, with his offer earlier this week to personally unseat the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, at the next election. Or is he still rising to the bait of Swan’s Monthly essay from March, ‘The 0.01 Per Cent’?
Interestingly, Swan’s central point about vested interests having more than a fair go in this country was borne out again on the weekend with the Minerals Council of Australia taking out full-page advertisements to prevent yet another fair budget measure – the abolition of the diesel tax rebate for miners. Indeed, the word is Swan has already capitulated: the mining industry can rest assured that the Australian taxpayer will continue to subsidise the industry’s fuel use for the time being. Which is particularly grand news for Palmer, given the likely nautical miles-to-the-gallon needs of his latest project, the Titanic II.
Speaking of miners, we can’t not mention Gina Rinehart, who stars in our May issue (‘What Gina Wants’) in a story of wealth and wrath that shows money can’t buy you love. Or peace, respect, adoring offspring or a nation’s gratitude. As you’ll read, her grievances run deep.
Meanwhile, enjoying a spot in the wintry sun, the Monthly turns seven this month. At a time when readership elsewhere is in sharp decline, the magazine is experiencing robust growth. It’s a credit to our staff past and present, previous editors Christian Ryan, Sally Warhaft and Ben Naparstek, publisher Morry Schwartz, superb writers and you, our readers.
John van Tiggelen, Editor