Major mining company BHP has suspended its Queensland Resources Council (QRC) membership over election advertising specifically targeting the Greens.
The company said it had expressed its opposition to this advertising approach and had formally requested that it be withdrawn. But this had not occurred.
It follows the QRC urging Queenslanders not to support the Greens party this October 31, and to preference them last.
Origin has also advised the QRC of its intention to suspend membership.
“Origin values the policy advocacy of the QRC, however the campaign around the Queensland election oversteps a clear boundary between policy and politics and we do not endorse this activity,” a spokeswoman said.
BHP said the QRC had over many years made important contributions to policy debates, however the current campaign was not consistent with that contribution. “BHP has been left with no choice but to suspend its membership with immediate effect,” the company said.
South32 is also among the major mining companies to formally raise its concerns with the QRC.
QRC Board president Brent Gunther said today the Board had considered the issue of an anti-Greens campaign carefully before deciding to proceed.
“This campaign is consistent with campaigns previously run by other mining organisations in other states,” he said.
“The QRC has made a decision in relation to the anti-jobs policies of the Greens that is in the best interests of Queensland mining and gas members, and the 372,000 people and 14,400 businesses who rely on the resources sector for their livelihoods.
“The resources industry will continue to support the economy and jobs of Queenslanders despite the Greens wanting to shut the industry down. The current situation is so dire the QRC has to stand up for its industry, particularly people in regional areas.”
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility welcomed BHP’s suspension of its QRC membership and called on more to do the same.
“Despite telling its shareholders for three years that suspension of membership of any industry association was simply not workable, BHP has done just that with the Queensland Resources Council,” ACCR director of climate and environment Daniel Gocher said.
“Ahead of the NSW State election last year, the NSW Minerals Council distributed anti-Greens material. Clearly, BHP is no longer comfortable with interfering in elections.
“We welcome this move and encourage BHP to look at its other lobbying associations which have been placing a handbrake on climate action in Australia – notably the Minerals Council of Australia and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association.”