GetUp! rallies behind Swan on mining tax

“Politicians have a choice… between standing up for workers and kneeling down at the feet of the Gina Rineharts and the Clive Palmers …”  – Wayne Swan, The Monthly, March 2012

Here’s from the email inbox:

The Government is talking tough about the need to ensure all Australians benefit from the resources we own. But here’s the stark truth: Over the next three years, as the Minerals Resources Rent Tax brings in $10.6 billion from the mining industry, around $8.5 billion will be handed back to them in tax concessions and loopholes!

Wayne Swan is making critical decisions over the next few weeks in an attempt to reach a budget surplus in 2012/13. As we’ve seen at budget time in years past, ideas are floated out in the weeks leading up to the budget to see how the public responds. Just this morning, news outlets began running the story that perhaps mining subsidies would be cut in the upcoming budget. As Wayne Swan takes the public’s temperature on this issue, let’s turn up the heat on him.

Can you make sure Swan stands up for workers by ending mining handouts? Chip in to put this ad on the air so that he hears from everyday Australians instead of mining magnates:

http://www.getup.org.au/end-billionaire-welfare

Mining magnates such as Clive Palmer and Gina Reinhart continue to rake in record profits at the same time as receiving billions of dollars in handouts (our tax dollars) from the Government.

Each year, mining subsidies on offer include (but are not limited to): – $1.89 billion under the Diesel Fuel Tax Credit Scheme [1] – $330 million under the exploration and prospecting deduction [2] – $250 million via an accelerated deprecation scheme that lets them write down their assets early [3] – $390 million in various research & development deductions [4]

This billionaire welfare is occurring at the same time as nurses, teachers, aged-care workers and other public sector workers face further budget cuts.

That’s why we’ve made an ad that highlights the stories of the people who really deserve the Government’s aid – people working for public interest, not vested interest.

Can you help get their message on TV screens before it’s too late?

http://www.getup.org.au/end-billionaire-welfare

It’s safe to say that at some point in our lives – if it hasn’t happened already – we’ll all depend on people like Clare, Michelle, Janice and Inge. It’s not right that they continue to work hard and pay taxes week in and week out, facing budget cuts and staffing shortages – only to have that money handed over to Clive and Gina so they can become even richer.

We can put a stop to it. Ask Wayne Swan to put our money where his mouth is and end handouts to big mining: http://www.getup.org.au/end-billionaire-welfare

Thanks for standing up for what’s right, for the GetUp team.

PS – With just weeks to go before the budget is handed down, the word out of Canberra is that key meetings to discuss policy options like ending mining subsidies are occurring over the next few weeks. Can you help us get this ad on the air as these important decisions are being made? http://www.getup.org.au/end-billionaire-welfare

Sources: [1] ‘Taxation Statistics 2008-09’, Australian Taxation Office. 2011. p 14 [2] ‘Tax Expenditures Statement 2011’,  The Australian Government the Treasury. January, 2012. p. 108 [3] ‘Drill Now, Pay Later’, Australian Conservation Foundation. September, 2011. p. 8 [4] ‘The Berd in the Hand Report’, Australian Business Foundation. April 2011. pp 18 – 25

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Australia’s mining tax and CIA conspiracy

The mining tax has dominated Australia’s political landscape this week.

The Senate passed the mining tax on Monday imposing a 30 percent tax on super profits generated by mining companies from coal and iron ore. The tax revenue will be used to elevate income and pension funds of the less well-off Australians and to cut tax on small businesses.

This sent shockwaves to the mining industry which could have been rejoicing over mining boom worldwide.

Mining magnate Clive Palmer hits CIA of mining conspiracy

Queensland mining magnate Clive Palmer lashed out at the federal government and claimed the CIA is behind the mining tax as part of America’s conspiracy to kill Australia’s coal industry.

Palmer also accused the Greens as “tools” of the US government and the environmental activists group, Greenpeace, is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

He said he will lodge a double High Court challenge on both carbon and mining taxes.

But his accusation hits back like a boomerang.

The CIA via ABC email denied his claim prompting him to back away from inflammatory comments, Fairfax reports via SBS.

Crikey, an alternative online media said,

Now Clive Palmer again has demonstrated the eccentricity that comes from having so much money you don’t have to care what anyone thinks of you…

Palmer is doing no more than continuing Queensland’s rich tradition of conspiracy theorists, which has produced the Citizen’s Electoral Council and Pauline Hanson, to name only the most prominent of recent years. Nor is it the first time he’s accused people of being a CIA front — back in November, it was American Express who were doing the bidding of the spooks.

Palmer could probably find consolation in knowing another mining group, Fortescue Metals, confirms it has sought legal advice ahead of plans to mount a High Court challenge against the Federal Government’s mining tax, News Corp said.

Chairman Andrew Forrest of Fortescue Metals leads a protest against mining tax during Kevin Rudd’s time

Fortescue claimed the MRRT is a poorly designed tax, drafted by the big miners behind closed doors to minimise their tax exposure at the expense of the rest of the industry,” the company said in a statement.

The Government is also facing a revolt from Liberal-led mining states.

Western Australia’s Premier Colin Barnett, for one, says he will support any legal action against the tax.

Not Amused

Newly appointed Foreign Minister Bob Carr blasts Palmer’s “reckless” CIA conspiracy claims

He said the “recklessly irresponsible” claim that the CIA is sponsoring a campaign against the coal industry will trigger concern from the United States government and business community.

Carr said the comments should also make many Australians question  Palmer’s links to the Opposition. He said Palmer is very close to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Palmer is considered the largest donor to the Liberal Party.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr

Treasurer Wayne Swan has also denounced Palmer’s claims. He supported Carr’s claim the mining businessman “is in cahoots with Mr Abbott.”

Federal Greens leader Bob Brown has echoed the remarks of Carr and Swan saying Palmer is a life member and a major donor to the Queensland Liberal National Party.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace senior campaigner John Hepburn rejected Mr Palmer’s comments as “ludicrous”. He said Greenpeace would not accept money from any government, corporation or secret service.

The mining tax was initiated almost two years ago, floated by former Treasury boss Ken Henry. It originally proposed a 40 percent tax on super profits—a proposal that stirred an industry-wide opposition rocking the Labor Party’s leadership. It was the same tax proposal that ousted Kevin Rudd from prime ministership in 2010.

Rising to power, Prime Minister Julia Gillard negotiated a modified tax rate with BHP, Rio and Xstrata although smaller miners remain unhappy with the deal.

The Mineral Resources Rent Tax (MRRT) Bill 2011 and related bills are now ready for the governor-general’s royal assent. The mining tax will start from July 1 this year, Australian media report.

The federal government estimated the new tax will generate $11 billion in three years which will be used to elevate income of the less well-off Australians. It will boost compulsory superannuation contributions, infrastructure payment and a one per cent tax cut for business.

The Australian, however, is pessimistic over the tax. Its editorial page said:

While this newspaper recognises the benefit in ensuring that some of the revenue generated by the once-in-a-generation mining boom is secured for future generations, this tax will do little to drive reform in the slower sectors of the economy while the fastest-growing sector is slugged with a tax that could damage our competitiveness.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott supports Palmer

I defence of Palmer, Abbott said he was a “larger than life” character.

“I think when he says that the Greens want to stop the coal industry he’s absolutely right – of course the Greens want to stop the coal industry,” Abbott told Channel 10.

Abbott is vowing to repeal the tax if he wins the next election.

Blog Link: Asian Correspondent