The “Revolving Doors” between politics and big business are corroding democracy in Australia. Secret deals, mates’ deals and the promise of riches after politics all undermine democracy and the power of ordinary citizens. The following investigation of fossil fuel networks in Australia – put together by Adam Lucas and curated by Simone Marsh – is designed to deliver public awareness.
Six weeks after resigning from federal politics in August 2013, former Federal Resources, Energy and Tourism Minister, Martin Ferguson became a board member of British Gas. Ferguson had given approval to BG’s $20 billion Curtis LNG/CSG export project while resources minister in 2010.
In March 2014, he took on a senior role at peak industry lobbyists the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA).
After replacing Martin Ferguson as Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism in March 2013, Gary Gray, a former Woodside executive, joined Mineral Resources Ltd as general manager of external affairs exactly one month after the 2016 federal election and his retirement from politics.
Former Labor cabinet ministers Greg Combet and Craig Emerson, both took up advisory positions for Santos and AGL within months of leaving public office. Former Federal Minister for Industry and Science (Sep 2013-Sep 2015) and Energy, Tourism and Resources (Nov 2001-Dec 2007), Ian Macfarlane, took up the role of CEO of the Queensland Resources Council four months after retiring from his federal seat of Groom.
Macfarlane was a self-confessed member of John Howard’s ‘Greenhouse Mafia’. Former leaders of the National Party, John Anderson, became Chairman of Eastern Star Gas which was bought out by Santos in 2014, while Mark Vaile, became a non-executive director and chairman of Whitehaven Coal shortly after they both left public office.
Former Liberal Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, became a board member of Lakes Oil after iron ore baroness Gina Rinehart appointed him to this position following her purchase of an 18.6% share in this oil and gas exploration company. He is also a former board member of the Clive Palmer company, Resourcehouse Ltd. Former Liberal Premier of NSW, Nick Greiner, acted as a lobbyist for a consortium of coal companies during the privatisation of Queensland Rail.