Wednesday, June 25, 2008

An infestation of grubs

Lenin coined the deca-syllabic term "parliamentary cretinism" to describe the practices characteristic of bourgeois political institutions.

However, South Australian Liberal Party leader Martin ("Major Marty") Hamilton-Smith wanted something easier to say this morning, opting to describe State Treasurer Foley as a "grub" for raising the issue of the 26 company share portfolio that he holds whilst serving as Leader of the Opposition.

Foley had the temerity to suggest that serving politicians, who can vote for and against legislation in the parliament, and who sometimes even in Opposition receive confidential business and other briefings, might be compromised by continuing to hold shares in publicly listed companies.

It was a fair point, and Marty has a case to answer that should extend to more than a single syllable outburst.

But is it also a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

We have already raised the issue of Premier Mike Rann's connections with wilderness sanctuary despoiler Marathon Resources through another company established by its CEO John Santich (see here).

In brief, Rann's private home in the Adelaide suburb of Norwood sports a rooftop of solar panels installed by the Solar Shop, owned by Stellar Energy P/L established by Santich.

There is no suggestion of graft involved, although the Solar Shop website prominently displays the Premier's home and the fact that he has given them his custom.

What is intriguing is that Santich has recently gone in with Uranium SA, a prime shareholder of which is Rann favourite Tom Phillips, former CEO of Mitsubishi which recently closed down its Adelaide manufacturing plant.

And State Labor Party heavyweight Chris Schacht, who lobbied successfully with Rann to overturn the Party's "no new uranium mines" policy, was elevated from shareholder to Executive Director of Santich's Marathon mob when the latter ran into trouble for violating the terms of its Arkaroola/Mt Gee exploration licence.

It's a cosy set of relationships, and one in which Santich could feel comfortable enough to say, in March 2007, that "we have essentially the approval of the state government - it's supported it (the Mt. Gee project - ed.) in every possible way".

It also explains why Marathon is still in the running for approval to rip uranium out of the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary following the rap over the knuckles it got from Rann's government with a short-tailed grass wren feather in the form of a suspension of its exploration licence, issued on the same day that it announced the completion of its exploration program!

The drought may have knocked the wildlife around at Arkaroola, but there's an infestation of grubs all round in the coward's castle of state parliament.

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