Australia's mineral resources rightly belong to this and future generations of Australians, not to foreign corporations. This was what Labor Energy Minister Rex Connor was trying to bring about with the AU$4billion loan that he tried to secure in 1974.
Because Rex Connor had tried to do so through secretive and unorthodox means and had misled Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and Parliament, this was seized upon by the Opposition led by Malcolm Fraser and the Murdoch Press to launch a further campaign to destabilise the Whitlam Government. (An earlier attempt had failed when the Australian people re-elected the labor Government in the mid-term election of 18 May 1974. The 1974 election was called by Gough Whitlam in response to a threat by a rigged Senate majority to block the Federal Budget.)
The subsequent Liberal/National Coalition governments of Malcolm Fraser (1975-1983) and John Howard (1996-2007) as well as the purportedly 'Labor' governments of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating (1983-1996) removed much of the legislative controls that the Australian government had over our mineral resources. As a result our coal, gas and the remnants of Australian petroleum, in addition to metallic ore are being extracted at an ever faster rate for export to countries like China in return for their manufactured produce (much of which ends up in land-fill after a few years).
The latest example of the sell-off of our mineral wealth is plans by the Federal Abbott government to allow foreign corporations to extract our natural gas and export it overseas leaving little for Australians, at inflated prices.
To end this sell-off, a community campaign Reserve Our Gas has been launched.