Like many mining giants, Whitehaven uses political donations, lobbying and proximity to politicians to push for political outcomes that benefit them to the detriment of the environment and Australian democracy. Whitehaven are a member of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) and the Queensland Resources Council, and have staff in board positions on these peak lobbying bodies that aggressively campaign against action on climate change.
Whitehaven’s chairman Mark Vaile is a former Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the National Party - a particularly stark example of the revolving door between Australian governments and the fossil fuel industry.
Whitehaven has donated $140,000 to the Liberal Party in the last 10 years. In 2022 the Morrison Government paid Whitehaven $31M to supply a “donation” of coal to help the war effort in Ukraine, despite there apparently being no proper tender process or plan for how the coal would actually be delivered. Whitehaven said the 70,000 tonne “donation” - enough to power a medium-sized generator for a few days - would support Ukraine’s “energy security and independence”.