Home » Australia Politics Live: Companies Were ‘lying For Years’ About Quality Of Clean Coal Exports, Wilkie Claims In Parliament

Australia Politics Live: Companies Were ‘lying For Years’ About Quality Of Clean Coal Exports, Wilkie Claims In Parliament

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Companies were ‘lying for years’ about quality of clean coal exports, Wilkie claims in parliament

Josh Butler

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has made explosive claims that companies including Peabody energy, Glencore and Macquarie Bank have been involved in “lying for years about the quality of our coal”.

In a speech to the House of Representatives this morning, under parliamentary privilege, Wilkie alleged that “coal companies operating in Australia are using fraudulent quality reports for their exports, and paying bribes to representatives of their overseas customers to keep the whole scam secret”.

And this has allowed them to claim, for years, that Australian coal is cleaner than it is in order to boost profits and prevent rejection of shipments at their destination.”

Wilkie said he’d been provided with thousands of documents from a coal industry whistleblower. He alleged:

This shocking misconduct includes exports to Japan, South Korea, China and India, and involves companies including Terracom, Anglo American, Glencore, Peabody and Macquarie Bank.

A spokesperson for Peabody told Guardian Australia that the company would provide a statement shortly, but rejected the claims and said they had been reported previously.

Wilkie also claimed coal testing companies ALS and SGS had been involved in fraudulent testing.

Guardian Australia has contacted each of those companies for response.

Wilkie detailed one specific instance where he claimed the moisture content in a coal sample was initially set at 16.7%, but later amended to 15.9%, which is drier and burns cleaner. He alleged that such a change represented “hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra profit” and meant an export shipment wouldn’t be rejected on arrival.

Wilkie wants the parliament to set up an inquiry into the claims, so the whistleblower can detail their information. He claimed that federal and NSW police, as well as government departments and agencies were aware of the information, but had not taken action. Wilkie said:

That’s important because the fraud is environmental vandalism and makes all the talk of net zero emissions by 2050 a fiction. It could also be criminal, trashing corporate reputations as well as our national reputation.

Independent MP for Mackellar, Sophie Scamps, is supporting Andrew Wilkie’s call for a parliament inquiry into allegations that Australia’s coal industry has defrauded trading partners in relation to the quality of coal exports.

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In a statement, Scamps said:

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The reality is there is no such thing as clean coal, and the evidence provided by this brave coal industry whistleblower suggests that the coal industry has been misleading the world for years.

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If true, what this information does is confirm three things. It shows the lengths the coal industry will go to mislead Australians, our trading partners and the world.

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Secondly, it shows we cannot trust the coal industry …

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Finally, it shows the value and importance of whistleblowers and why we must protect whistleblowers. Whistleblowers must be better protected under the National Anti-Corruption Commission, and we also need a whistleblower commissioner to enforce whistleblower protection laws.

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Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has made explosive claims that companies including Peabody energy, Glencore and Macquarie Bank have been involved in “lying for years about the quality of our coal”.

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In a speech to the House of Representatives this morning, under parliamentary privilege, Wilkie alleged that “coal companies operating in Australia are using fraudulent quality reports for their exports, and paying bribes to representatives of their overseas customers to keep the whole scam secret”.

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And this has allowed them to claim, for years, that Australian coal is cleaner than it is in order to boost profits and prevent rejection of shipments at their destination.”

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Wilkie said he’d been provided with thousands of documents from a coal industry whistleblower. He alleged:

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This shocking misconduct includes exports to Japan, South Korea, China and India, and involves companies including Terracom, Anglo American, Glencore, Peabody and Macquarie Bank.

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A spokesperson for Peabody told Guardian Australia that the company would provide a statement shortly, but rejected the claims and said they had been reported previously.

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Wilkie also claimed coal testing companies ALS and SGS had been involved in fraudulent testing.

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Guardian Australia has contacted each of those companies for response.

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Wilkie detailed one specific instance where he claimed the moisture content in a coal sample was initially set at 16.7%, but later amended to 15.9%, which is drier and burns cleaner. He alleged that such a change represented “hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra profit” and meant an export shipment wouldn’t be rejected on arrival.

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Wilkie wants the parliament to set up an inquiry into the claims, so the whistleblower can detail their information. He claimed that federal and NSW police, as well as government departments and agencies were aware of the information, but had not taken action. Wilkie said:

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That’s important because the fraud is environmental vandalism and makes all the talk of net zero emissions by 2050 a fiction. It could also be criminal, trashing corporate reputations as well as our national reputation.

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The Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi has a few amendments she would like to move on the government’s cheaper childcare bill (including changing the name):

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The amendments aim to:

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  • Improve access to early education and care by abolishing the activity test,

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  • Improve transparency measures within the bill by expanding reporting requirements for providers,

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  • Extend staff discounts for early education and care, and

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  • Rename the bill from “Cheaper Child Care” to “More Affordable Early Education and Care”.

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The government and at least one crossbencher would have to vote for them for it to pass (if the opposition does not support it).

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Faruqi says they are necessary changes:

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The activity test is cruel, punitive and beyond repair. As the Senate inquiry heard from numerous stakeholders, the activity test has the effect of denying access to early education for the m