They peer out of our TVs as unsung heroes of our gilded age, the "real Australians" knocked off course by a Labor government hellbent on throttling progress.

There's Rio Tinto accountant Len Thong, a Chinese orphan, reminiscing mistily about the power of minerals. There's "devoted mother" and "pony club instructor" Heather Parry, a Leighton project manager who reckons "mining is a rare industry that allows professionals to live in the bush". And don't forget Roxby Downs gun nut, trucking magnate and Paul Hogan lookalike Ken "Lamby" Lamb, who popped up again this week to allege that paying for election promises through mining taxes was a "really dumb idea".