Barnaby Joyce, the Indian wedding and the big new coal mine

June 2011:
Billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart flew Coalition MPs, including the Liberal Party's deputy leader Julie Bishop and Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce, to take part in a sumptuous three day-wedding of a prominent Indian industrialist in Hyderabad. The Reddy family company, infrastructure behemoth GVK, is seeking a controlling stake in coal mines owned by the Hancock group. 
(The Age, 17/6/2011)


November 2013:
The federal government has approved a massive coalmining project in central Queensland that will be the largest in the country. The environment minister, Greg Hunt, approved the 37,380-hectare Kevin's Corner project on Friday. The mine (will) be operated by a joint India-Australia consortium, GVK-Hancock. 
(Guardian, 4/11/2013)


Correspondence from Barnaby Joyce to G.V. Sanjay Reddy, November 2013:

Dear Sanjay,

I haven’t seen you since the wedding! 

Gina probably told you, I’m a minister now. Not for mining, mind you, hold your horses!

Julie, Teresa and I were feeling a bit ashamed because we didn’t bring your family a gift. Gina was in such a rush to get us on her plane we were caught totally empty-handed. And she left straight after, too, with the jet! Always in such a rush. Luckily my old mate the Australian taxpayer got me home safe and sound.

Anyway, we put our heads together and up popped the perfect thing – something great for your whole family. Not from us, beg yours, it's from the whole Australian people. At long last, may we present… federal approval for your very own Aussie coal mine! 

Greg (have you met Greg?) just asks if you could burn the coal back in India, otherwise it’ll cost us a fortune to ‘offset’ your ‘emissions’. Otherwise, no worries, it’s all yours!

Sorry it took so long. We had no idea it would be another couple of years before we got into government. Then Julie wanted to get you a think tank, but I knew better, right?

Your daughter’s wedding was absolutely mind-blowing, one of the greatest events I’ve ever experienced. I danced with the Brad Pitt of India, for goodness sake. (I have to tell you though, Mr Khan was more like the Russell Crowe of India by the end of the night, if you know what I mean – running around in his grundies!) 

And your daughter looked like a Bollywood starlet herself. That young Siddharth is a lucky man.

Anyway, it was amazing, and a far cry from my wedding. You had 6000 guests and the cream of Indian society. Me and Natalie got married in a tent, with 6000 head of sheep in the back paddock and the cream of a few cows.

I hope I can show you a few local customs when you come to Queensland next, like the missus' leg of lamb, and we can have that hit of tennis we talked about. 

I’m sure your new venture will be a great success, mate. Our coal is the best in the world. 

Give me a call if you’re having any problems.


Nick Feik

Nick Feik is the editor of The Monthly.


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