Andrew Forrest and Simon Bennison of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies are wasting their time and money threatening to reactivate the mining industry’s campaign against the Government.
Even as Kevin Rudd struggled to hammer out a compromise on the tax, Australians remained evenly divided on it, and strongly supportive of the things it funded. The idea of a Government compromise on the tax was strongly supported – only 14% of voters didn’t want any new mining tax of any kind, Essential Research found just after Julia Gillard’s leadership coup.
That’s why when Gillard nutted out a compromise with the big multinationals, she received strong support. 50% of voters approved the deal, versus 28% who objected. 58% approved of her handling of the issue. And 41% thought mining companies had too much influence over policy.
Even a third of Liberal voters approved of the deal, and 75% of Labor voters. Less than 10% disapproved. Western Australians were less enthusiastic about the deal but even in the west, more favoured the deal (45%) than opposed it (40%).
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The only press coverage of the issue since then has been to suggest the Government was very generous to the miners, which it was.
Forrest, who led that ludicrous millionaires’ rally against the tax dressed in a miner’s outfit, has lost his friend at court – Kevin Rudd. And the small miners have paid the price for caving into pressure from the big foreign-owned miners and staying silent as the foreigners waged a campaign against the tax based on outright lies. The Government negotiated a deal with the foreigners that took away many of positives of the RSPT, which were aimed at smaller miners in the first place.
Those miners large enough to be caught above the $50m threshold have been given a demonstration of how real power works.
The Government can now also point to its implementation committee, headed by Don Argus, as a convenient excuse to put off resolution of remaining concerns until after the election.
There is no narrative or framing story in which a renewed campaign won’t look like simple whingeing – which, for that matter, it always was anyway. For voters, the issue is resolved. If anything, a campaign might make the Government look as if it actually stood up to the miners – when nothing could be further from the truth.
The miners can of course campaign against the Labor-Green preference deal, but then that’s just more partisan political advertising while the airwaves are full of them.