The Morrison government has stripped mining giant Rio Tinto’s of its right to operate in Australia after it destroyed a historic statue of John Howard, believed to be at least eight years old.
An irate Scott Morrison called a special hearing of Parliament to condemn the destruction, labelling it a ‘shocking act of cultural vandalism’.
“This is one of the earliest known statues of John Howard and one of the most significant cultural artefacts in Australia. It is a precious link to our past that is now lost to us forever,” a seething Mr Morrison said.
Other MPs joined a chorus of criticism against the company. “Mining is important to our economy, yes. But not at all costs,” Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said. “We will not allow an organisation that shows such reckless disregard for our cultural heritage to operate in this country”.
Rio Tinto apologised for the error, saying they were unaware they were mining near a sacred site.
The Prime Minister has called for a Royal Commission into the statue’s destruction.