Kevin Rudd has performed a neat backflip this week. After calling political government advertising a “cancer on democracy” prior to the 2007 election, the government has just given itself an exemption to spend $38 million on ads in support of its proposed mining tax.

It’s also nice timing with Rudd rejecting Abbott’s claim last week in parliament that the RSPT will have a negative affect on the economy. However, the economy was the reason given for allowing the advertising exemption. “I have also accepted the Treasurer’s advice that, as the tax reforms involve changes to the value of some capital assets, they impact on financial markets” said Minister of State Joe Ludwig, who gave the exemption.

The mining industry has fought back with this ad against the tax:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5T1Pxo2KFE&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

So now the vultures are circling. Did Rudd deliberately mislead the parliament on the impact of the RSPT? Is Rudd a hypocrite on government advertising? Or, is the government just up to Howard’s old tricks?

Here’s what the pundits are staying:

The Australian

Glenn Milne: Another fine mess for Kevin Rudd, all of his own making

So, the day after Rudd tells parliament Abbott’s claims the mining tax is affecting financial markets are garbage, his government uses the same rationale to justify rorting its own advertising standards.

Editorial: Another election sound bite returns to haunt Mr Rudd

Kevin Rudd’s double standard in abandoning his own rules on government advertising is self-evident. So blatant and audacious is the backflip that any further commentary would be superfluous.

The Age

Michelle Grattan: Ad campaign will trash PM’s reputation

…it is hard to explain why the PM, already under attack for backflips and broken promises, would further trash his reputation.

Sydney Morning Herald

Phillip Coorey: Rudd in no hurry to fix mining standoff

While the opposition is justified in squawking about the government ditching its own guidelines, it has no right to bellyache about the actual spending of taxpayers’ money on ads, given its own shameful behaviour just three years ago, a precedent far more prominent in the public mind.

The Daily Telegraph

Malcolm Farr: Rudd must resolve mining row

The side-stepping of its own system to get approval for its $38 million, two-year pro-tax advertising made the Government look desperate and devious.

Herald Sun

Phillip Hudson: Rudd government dodges own rules to rush out taxpayer-funded ad campaign

The Rudd Government has given itself permission to dodge its own advertising rules so it can rush out a $38.5 million taxpayer-funded campaign to sell its controversial mining tax.

The Courier-Mail

Dennis Atkins: Kevin Rudd uses taxpayers’ money to sell mining tax

The Rudd Government is now so desperate to make its own dirty deeds look less bad, ministers are seasonally adjusting John Howard’s old tricks.