As we enter 2020, Australia has no national climate change policy. There are no mechanisms to reach our vastly inadequate commitments under the Paris Agreement1

Meanwhile, our nation suffers through unprecedented drought and bushfires, and we face yet another brutally hot summer of heatwaves and coral bleaching2. Yet as public concern about the climate crisis reaches record levels, our Government’s refusal to act only becomes more entrenched. 

Why is there bipartisan support for action on climate change in nations like Germany, France and the UK, while we are so far behind?

The answer is the massive  power of coal and gas lobby groups in Australia.

In particular, the power of the Minerals Council of Australia, which has recently been named one of the top 10  climate policy wreckers in the world3. The Minerals Council does everything it can to support big coal companies at the expense of action on climate change.

The Minerals Council has always been a powerful force in Australian politics. However, it was the $22 million advertising campaign against the Rudd government’s proposed Resource Super Profits Tax (the “mining tax”) that entrenched the Minerals Council as the most powerful lobby group in Australia4. As the Sydney Morning Herald stated: ‘How much does it cost to bring down a prime minister? The answer: a tad over $22 million.” 

This campaign did two things. It scared the hell out of anyone thinking of doing anything the Minerals Council would oppose, such as putting a price on carbon pollution. It also emboldened the climate deniers in Parliament who the Minerals Council have been shepherding for years.

We saw this manifest itself in the campaign against Australia’s only substantial legislation on emissions – the Clean Energy policy introduced by the Gillard government in 2011. Under this policy, our emissions reduced and reached an all time low. The Minerals Council campaigned strongly against the Clean Energy package5. The election of the Abbott government in 2013 killed that legislation off, and ever since, our emissions have risen.

The Minerals Council continues to flex its muscle on climate policy. For example, they pushed hard to make the Turnbull government’s National Energy Guarantee as weak as possible, arguing for unlimited carbon offsets and the removal of state renewable energy targets6.

Why are these campaigns so successful?

Part of the reason is that the coal lobby spends big on advertising and political donations. The coal lobby ads are the biggest third-party political expenditure in Australia – according to recent data7, “advertisements spruiking the benefits of coal and mining were the biggest political expenditure by third-party groups in Australia last year.”

Perhaps an even bigger source of power for the Minerals Council is the infiltration of Minerals Council ex staffers in our politicians’ offices8. Perhaps the most powerful person in Australian politics apart from the Prime Minister is his chief-of-staff, John Kunkle, who was formerly the second in charge at the Minerals Council. Former Liberal Minister, Helen Coonan, is now the Chair of the MCA. And former CEO of the MCA, Brendan Pearson, is a senior adviser to the Prime Minister. 

This is the reason that even as support for action on climate change amongst the public skyrockets, our Government refuses to introduce an ambitious climate policy. And this is more than just a barrier to climate action – it’s also undermining our democracy. 

That’s why we’re taking them on. The Minerals Council has huge power over our politics, but we know that in our democracy, it’s the people who our politicians must serve – not polluters. We have a plan to ensure that we can end their wrecking-ball role, and get the big polluters out of our politics, and it will take a massive people-powered campaign to pull this off.

Sign the petition to get involved in the campaign today to undermine the power of the Minerals Council and get on with the job of creating a better world for all.

Here are the current members of the Minerals Council of Australia:


Full members of the MCA Associate members of the MCA
Adani Mining 

Anglo American Metallurgical Coal 


Ashanti Australia 

Arafura Resources 

BHP Boss Resources 

Cameco Australia 

Castlemaine Goldfields 

Cauldron Energy 

Centennial Coal Company 

Centennial Mining 

Dart Mining NL 

Deep Yellow Ltd 

Donald Mineral Sands (Astron Ltd) 

Downer EDI Mining 

Energy Resources of Australia 


GBM Resources 

Glencore Australia Holdings 

Heathgate Resources 

Idemitsu Australia Resources 

Jellinbah Group 

Kalbar Resources 

Lithium Developments Ltd 

Kirkland Lake Gold 

Mandalay Resources 

Manhattan Corporation 

Navarre Minerals 

New Hope Corporation 

Newcrest Mining 

Newmont Australia 

Peabody Energy Australia 

Providence Gold & Minerals 

Rex Minerals 

Rio Tinto 

St Barbara 

The Bloomfield Group 

Thiess Pty Ltd 

Toro Energy 

Verdant Minerals 

Vimy Resources 

Vista Gold Australia 

Whitehaven Coal 

Yancoal Australia

AECOM Australia 

AMC Consultants 

ANSTO Minerals 



Bechtel Australia 

BP Australia 

Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia 

Corestaff NT 

Dyno Nobel 

ECOZ Environmental Services 

Ernst & Young 


Herbert Smith Freehills 

IBM Australia 

KPMG Australia 

MinterEllison Lawyers 

Mitsubishi Development 

NSW Minerals Council 

Orica Australia 


PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia 

Quadrant Energy Australia 

Queensland Resources Council 

South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy 

Sparke Helmore Lawyers 

Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council 

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