Friday, June 11, 2010

Corprate power and the "marriage" of money and politics

image courtesy of The West Australian

This picture is from the front page of Thursday's West Australian newspaper.

The photo shows the Deputy Leader of the Federal Liberal Party locked in an embrace with WA 's richest man, who is also one of the key spokespeople for the miner's campaign against the Federal Government's Super profits tax.

My colleague Gavin Mooney and I have a piece in the online publication Online Opinion under the title Power and Money to Thwart Democratic Process in which we raise concern about the power of corporate money and corporate self- interest to control the democratic process. Our concern is that the debate on the super profits tax reflects the disproportionate influence of wealth and corporate power over the political and democratic process.

In our piece we raise questions about the way that the mining companies and some of the richest people in Australia use their financial power against a democratically elected government in order to protect their private interests. And what of the role of large segments of the corporate media who have actively prosecuted the miners' case?

Currently there are few rules that limit the spending of rich and powerful individuals and corporations. We ask
  • Why have limits on government spending on selling public policy and not on corporations spending on opposing public policy?
  • Surely any curb on political advertising first and foremost should apply to corporations? And should there not be limits on corporate funding of political parties?
In the piece we also ask about the role of the Liberal National Party in prosecuting the miners’ case. How much money are they receiving from the mining industry and how much money is flowing into the party’s coffers from the industry?

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