It seems the Coalition events aren’t really events unless there is a lump of coal involved. First there was then treasurer and now prime minister Scott Morrison waving his lump of coal around parliament, telling Labor and the Greens and the Australian population not to be scared.
Then there was the Victoria Liberal party fund-raiser where the presentation of another lump of coal to Morrison so outraged then Liberal party member and former Clean Energy Finance Corp boss Oliver Yates that he was ejected from the event, and subsequently quit the party and stood as an independent against current treasurer Josh Frydenberg in the last election.
Now it has emerged that Barnaby Joyce, the former National Party leader and deputy prime minister who delighted in handling Morrison’s lump of coal in parliament two years ago, has been at it again – auctioning a lump of coal at the executive dinner held at the conclusion of the Nationals Federal Council conference in Canberra in September.
Unlike Morrison’s lump of coal, which had been thoughtfully lacquered by its supplier, the Minerals Council of Australia (whose CEO has since joined Morrison’s staff), Joyce’s lump of coal was not clean, and likely to negatively impact anyone who handled it, so it was placed into a glass jar.
As our source observed: “It just shows that they are not completely stupid.”
The lump of coal was auctioned – on September 14 at the Old Parliament House – as part of a job lot along with a “start Adani” t-shirt that had apparently been worn by resources minister Matt Canavan, who likes to describe himself as “Mr Coal from Australia,” and who is a former chief of staff for Joyce.
We are informed the auction generated great interest and went to an unidentified bidder at around $800. The proceeds were destined for the Young Nationals. We’re pretty sure the winning bidder won’t get the money back on the open market, as coal is now selling for around $60/tonne.
Our informant was horrified by the events. It wasn’t just the discussions about coal and climate that dominated proceedings. “It was like being back in the 1970s,” our informant observed. “They are on a completely different planet.”
Sadly not. They are very much on this planet, in Australia, and in government.