I was pondering why our friends at ‘Get Up’ were not posting any information about key a issue in global geo-politics. Specifically, why they make no mention of Uranium Mining or the current issue of the dessicration of Mount Gee by Marathon Resources (see blog entry – Marathon Not Playing By the Rules). Well, it turns out ‘Get Up’ has some fine illuminaries on its board who would prefer not venture down this particular trail. Take for instance, Don Mercer:
Don Mercer is Chairman of Orica Ltd. and of Newcrest Mining Ltd. He is also Chairman of Australia Pacific Airports Corporation and Chairman of The State Orchestra of Victoria. He was a previous Director of CSIRO, APRA and a past Director of Australian Institute of Company Directors, and past Chancellor of RMIT University. Don spent 19 years with Shell International Petroleum Co. Limited, with postings in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada, Indonesia and Australia. He joined ANZ in March 1984 and in June 1992, he was named Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, retiring in 1997.
Newcrest Mining has its sticky fingers in contentious Gold Mines in Indonesia but we don’t hear too much about that on the ‘Get Up’ campaign list.
Halmahera is the site of several mining projects. Australian corporation Newcrest Mining is the majority owner of two gold mines on the island. The Gosowong mine was an open-pit cyanide-leach mine that operated from June 1999 to May 2002, and is now closed. The Toguraci mine began operation in February 2004. This latter mine has been the subject of conflict between local residents and the mining company. The mine is located in a forested area that, according to local residents, is protected under Indonesian law. In January 2004 then-president Megawati issued an amendment to the forestry law that, according to Newcrest, ensures that its operations are within the law.
In 2003 and 2004, there were intermittent protests at the Toguraci site by residents seeking to stop the Newcrest mine. Until late 2003, security at the mine was provided by members of the Indonesian military, who were paid by Newcrest Mining’s local subsidiary. In October 2003, they were replaced by a private security force; one person was killed and several others injured by these security forces during a protest in January 2004. Further protests and an occupation of the mine site occurred in May and June 2004.
Don, if your passion is the environment and civilian rights there is no place better to start than home, or in this case the rain forests of Indonesia which is taking a fare battering from your Gold Mine operation. Cyanide leaching for gold in previously untouched parts of our precious planet!…hmmm…time to ‘Get Up’ and do something about that one before the loyal ‘Get Up’ followers get up and leave.
On your website it all sounds rosy :
“Public reporting represents one part of our commitment to sustainability – the commitment to keep our stakeholders informed. At Newcrest we see sustainability as a simple concept “a balance of economic, environmental and social factors”.
Try communicating these simple concepts to the displaced indigenous people no doubt still reeling from the effects of your Gosowong Mine Operation.
The crew on the ‘Get Up’ board is one hell of a slick public relations unit also featuring Evan Thornley, National Secretary of the Australian Fabian Society, a fascinating organisation which will be covered in another article. Any ‘grassroots’ organisation preaching social agenda reform needs to keep its nose clean. There is ample here to suggest ‘Get Up’ is a ‘Set Up’ and conflicts of interest abound and are not up front for the membership to see. There is nothing grassroots about this campaign, its more akin to a Global PR unit, harvesting and manufacturing its own sanitary, safe and edited version of dissent.
‘Get Up’ Australia!
Tell the ‘Get Up’ Board Where to ‘Get Off’!
Right now Newcrest is destroying human habitat in Indonesia, has bribed the government and hired a private military to suppress the owners of the land. Tell Mr Don Mercer, of the Get Up Board, your concerns about the mines so he can make the right decision! Take Action!
Kernot defends Labor quitter – Evan Thornley (The Age, 2,09)
The shadow minister for police and emergency services, Andrew McIntosh, said the departure risked the perception of impropriety, as Mr Thornley is believed to be joining a company he may have met through his responsibilities as parliamentary secretary for innovation.
Mr McIntosh demanded Mr Brumby introduce a code of conduct for ministers similar to the one established federally by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, which bans contact between former ministers, the government or public servants for 18 months after leaving government.
A Government spokesman said that Mr Thornley was not a member of the Victorian cabinet, so debate over a ministerial code of conduct was irrelevant.
But the core problem with GetUp is not its coziness with either the ALP or self-styled social entrepreneurs. It’s the aloof detachment from the grass roots networks that have always impelled real social change.
Along these lines, GetUp have been criticised for spending excessive amounts on wages and administration. The ASIC filings reveal a massive $1 million wages bill, an issue former Executive Director Brett Solomon was grilled on in 2007. The $2.2 million gap between total donations ($3.4 million) and political expenditure ($1.2 million) would indicate a significant proportion of total revenue is spent on day-to-day running costs.