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National Party and mining

For a supposed party rooted in supporting farmers and agriculture, the National Party is now much more focussed on mining.

The interests of mining, and fossil fuels in particular, would seem to run counter to the best interests of farmers, but even more so with climate change making the outlook to successful agriculture looking bleaker due to more floods and droughts, threatening the existence of the traditional supporters of the National Party within the next 30 years. About the only common factor that mining has with agriculture is that they are on the same land, though in Australia that is a pretty big area.

Of course the biggest difference between mining and agriculture is the huge disparity in wealth. While there are some large agricultural businesses, mining has the giants in terms of economic activity. No wonder politicians are scrambling to get their share of the lobby money being freely passed around, turning the National Party away from farmers, but still trying to woo them by dubious cultural common interests. The true common interest is in exploiting land and natural resources to make money.

While many farmers are living the reality of climate change and acknowledging its influence upon their livelihoods, the leadership of the National Party is firmly siding with the mining company propaganda denying climate change or that nothing should be done about it. With money from mining blinding the National Party to follow their line, they have been the main driver behinds the lack of acceptance and action on climate change by the coalition.

Farmers have traditionally been conservative, as opposed to conservationist, but many of them, like many supporters of the Liberal Party in the cities, are wanting action on climate change. While a lot of scare tactics about how tackling climate change will lead to job losses in Australia's north was the cultural catchcry that undermined Labor's penetration into those areas in 2019, we shall see how much the devastations of fires in 2020 and floods in 2022 have led to changes of heart in National Party supporters.

Fossil fuel mining workers are facing job losses from the impending worldwide decrease in demand for coal and gas, notwithstanding the current surges brought about by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but mining companies are increasing their use of robot technology, cutting more workers out of the money flow. Politicians may well be the only ones reaping the rewards of the overflow of mining money.

While mining workers focus upon maintaining a lifestyle that is centred around mining, the industry is looking at a future without them. Some concrete policies have to be worked through to help these workers find alternative livelihoods, just so they can see a different future that the one that is increasingly going to be denied to them.

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