WOODSIDE saved, now save BHP for Australia

LET us all thank Federal Treasurer Peter Costello for saving Woodside from Royal Dutch Shell, which gets the blame for the actions of dictatorships such as in Nigeria.

  Regarding BHP [Broken Hill Proprietary], let us all ask the Treasurer to make the same sort of pro-Australian decision.

  It is in the national interest to keep as much local ownership as possible, so that our products compete fairly with reasonable profits, and so that some taxation is collected to be spent on our own people.

JOHN MASSAM, Greenwood.

-- The West Australian, Friday April 27 2001, page 16

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THERE is not a lot that Peter Costello and I agree on, what with his smug, supercilious smirk which I must admit has been missing of late.

  Even allowing for a certain amount of politics in the decision, I must congratulate him on the courageous (apologies to Sir Humphrey) stand he has taken on the Woodside issue.

W.J.BURGESS, Kingsley.

-- The West Australian, Friday April 27 2001, page 16

(Footnote: The "supercilious smirk" had greatly diminished into smiles since the serious Coalition electoral losses in the State elections of Western Australia and Queensland, the latter great win to Labor even while the Labor premier was getting rid of ministers for a 1983 electoral fraud. But the smiles grew less as economic indicators kept coming in to say that Australia -- and the world -- was heading into a recession, thus defying all that the multinationals and Mr Costello had been braying -- oops, saying -- for years. By the time Mr Costello announced his refusal to permit Shell to take over the remaining 66 per cent of Woodside that it does not own, his face on television looked decidedly serious, even glum, and flushed as if it was a great effort for him to make the decision public. Political commentators differ greatly on the REAL, as distinct from the announced, reason for the decision. My own opinion was that it was possible the oil cartel's moves in forcing up the bowser petrol price about that time, and the possible hint to those "in the know" that Shell was about to announce another increase in profit, may have just tipped the federal cabinet from its usual "sell-out" mentality into a decision to defy the multinationals. They might just have realised that the multinationals were going to press on in open rebellion against the Coalition government, which had lost a lot of credibility over its inability to keep its petrol price promise. The other opinion I have is that it might have been "throwing the dogs a bone," that is, giving the vociferous minority opposing sell-outs of Australian raw material monopolists one win -- Shell -- while planning to let BHP be swallowed up in a so-called "merger." I love the multinationals' skill with words, don't you? Of course, the Shell take-over will easily be allowed to go through after the federal election by the "windbag from the West," while prating about the necessity to be competitive, to be open to world investment, it's in the best long-term interests of Australians, etc., etc., backed by the usual chorus of "running dogs" repeating this and sturdily maintaining that Shell will pay company and other taxes, etc., etc.)

Contemptible man

HOW sick that we now have our Treasurer, Peter Costello, apart from his about-face on his globalisation policy by barring the take-over of Woodside by Shell, also now making noises that he would like to reform the superannuation rip-off by politicians.

 The statement on politicians' superannuation tells us three things. First, he knows how the public feels about it and therefore hopes that by saying he "would like to reform it" will win him and his party votes in the coming election.

  Second, he has utter contempt for the intelligence of the Australian people if he really thinks we will believe that anything will be done about it.

  Third, it tells us that our politicians have no principles and will say and promise anything to stay in power, regardless of truth or sincerity.

~.+.!@##$%, Coolbellup.

-- The West Australian, Friday April 27 2001, page 16

(FOOTNOTE: This correspondent had claimed in a February 9 letter to the editor that the Court Government should be re-elected in the Western Australian State election because the police had prosecuted a number of men for asking policewomen, working on a "sting," for sex. That attitude towards politicians was a deviation from his usual stance. The heading on this letter is apt, but not for the reason that the headline writer wrote it! Anyone who wishes to decide if the Liberal-National Coalition was worthy of re-election ought to read the old webpage entitled "Luxury spending $880m while 97 die".)

The West Australian is at:   To e-mail letters to the editor use:

Woodside Petroleum Ltd's website is at and has items about the takeover bid and the aftermath of the Treasurer's decision.

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Coded by John Massam with Microsoft WordPad on 29 April 2001, last modified 19 Jun 01
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