Monday, July 19, 2010

Tyranny of the minority - this time its the miners and their investors

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This election ought to be a referendum on the rights of the minority. Unfortunately neither party offers much in the way of credibility on this issue. The rights of the government to impose its arbitrary will on the people goes unchallenged. For years now I have highlighted the lack of consideration given to regulation of small listed companies, including miners. Basically the government does not provide ASIC with sufficient resources to regulate disclosure and market manipulation, so the small companies, which are easiest to manipulate are rife with such practices because they are illiquid, with a small number of shareholders. The issue arises because of control of information. The problem arises because the number of shareholders affected is considered too small.
This is why the government, after announcing the proposed Resource Rent Tax, only dealt with the largest corporations. e.g. Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue Metals. It has failed to deal with the plethora of other prospective mining companies with iron ore resources under various stages of development in Australia. It actually involves a huge number of coal and iron ore projects. The number of investors in small mining companies is also huge. I suggest the government is undermining the impact that their shareholders can make. Consider that you hold your shareholdings in BHP (more probably) through a superannuation fund. Many mum's and dad's however like to invest in smaller stocks, and with so few resource funds at this end of the market, most moms and dad's invest directly in these companies. The implication is that miners will be able to send out criticism of the government policy just prior to the election. That is a pretty powerful marketing.
I personally don't like these companies having that type of unaccountable power. But its justified by their cause, and its the basis of our incredibly silly political system. There ought to be no need for small mining companies to lobby separately from the majors. There ought to be no need for large miners to lobby separately from all other companies. This is the result of arbitrary, segmented, rule. This is what we would expect of the Nazis. Divide and rule. Having won over the major miners, the government thinks it will win against the small miners because they have less power. I think they are making a strategic plunder! Stupid system.
Andrew Sheldon

ConvinceMe.Net - Anyone up for a debate?