Kevin Rudd was faced yesterday with 2000 protesters against the mining tax, led by billionaire miners Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest (dressed in jeans and a hi-vis t-shirt) and Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart.
Rudd offered up a $2 billion sweetener to the WA government for roads, rails and ports.
Protestors chanted the catchy slogan “Axe the Tax”, and Twiggy talked about how China is attempting to lower mining taxes — “I ask you which communist country is turning capitalist and which capitalist country is turning communist”, although according to John Garnaut, China is actually considering raising taxes on resources.
But is Kevin Rudd actually prepared to negotiate with miners? Will the high profile rally change anything? Is this mining tax as terrible as the miners claim?
Here’s what the pundits are saying:
Jennifer Hewett: PM’s tax talk works only on the surface
But there is no sign that the Prime Minister is prepared to act on what he is hearing and alter the essential elements of the government’s resource super-profits tax. Instead, it’s all about appearances.
Samantha Maiden: What’s the PowerPoint of all these mining ads?
But it is surely a bridge too far for the government of the man who coined the term “great moral challenge of our time’’ on climate change, who suggested mining companies were either lying or ignorant, to start throwing stones in the rhetorical hysteria glasshouse.
Matthew Franklin: Kevin Rudd offers up a bonanza from mining levy
As the Prime Minister vowed to divert the lion’s share of a $6bn infrastructure fund into the resource-rich states, the opposition accused him of pork-barrelling to avoid defeat in the approaching election.
Michael Stutchbury: How mining helped Australia avoid recession
Yet Australia’s greater reliance on mining, rather than manufacturing, clearly separated us from the US, Britain, Europe and Japan, all of which went into recession.
Michael Gordon Perth: It’s Commie Kev versus the Bolshie Billionaires
Outside the hotel, at the corner of the park, there was another, more modest protest. An Aboriginal woman, Jude Kelly, stood by a hand-painted banner reminding anyone who cared to look just who were the original owners and custodians of Australia’s mineral wealth.
Sydney Morning Herald
Ian Verrender: In miners’ war on tax, logic is first casualty
Enough is enough. If one more person looks me in the eye and talks about sovereign risk and the new resources tax, I swear I’ll strangle them.
The Daily Telegraph
Steve Lewis: Turmoil has PM Rudd in the pits of despair
What do we want? Another billion!
When do we want it? Now!
In scenes reminiscent of the late 1960s Vietnam War protests, hundreds – possibly thousands – of peace-loving Perth residents took to the streets in the Wild West yesterday, taking aim at that dreadful parade of socialists known as the Rudd Government.
Editorial: Voters confused
Mr Rudd needs to fix his flawed policy before it turns into an election losing about- face along with all the others he has made.