Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mining Tax Kerfuffle

This week we have seen strong, even vehement, reactions to the Government’s proposed ‘Super Profits Tax’ on mining companies.

You can always tell the level of desperation by the intensity of the marketing campaign. The stronger the campaign, the more likely there is to be misinformation, “statistics”, and outright lying. Political parties will attempt to score cheap political points.

The Mining Council of Australia is running ads. They are marketing – you should therefore be sceptical of any claims. Indeed, they have largely been debunked by respected economics and business journalists Ross Gittins and Ian Verrender. See the following:

Meanwhile the Liberal Party has brought forward its marketing campaign. You will remember the ads – they are certainly annoying  - but they don’t ague on good policy, just on annoyance. take them with a grain of salt – they are only marketing. For its part, the Government has bypasses its protocols on Government advertising, by NOT having its ads checked by the Auditor-General. Political expediency is more important. However, the Opposition has successfully diverted attention from debating the proposed super-tax on mining profits to voter perceptions of the Government. WHY? Well, Tony Abbott doesn’t want to debate the merits of the changes to tax on mining companies, and would very likely change his mind, and keep the tax if elected. (remember, John Howard did the same with the ‘never, ever GST’)

Meanwhile, in Federal Parliament, both sides have done little but try to score cheap political points. Labor Ministers almost queued to make statements alleging that the Liberal & National Parties were simply after mining company donations. Jamie Briggs (Liberal) responded with figures showing “the federal Australian Labor Party has received $80,500 from the mining industry in Australia, and the federal Liberal Party has received nothing.” However, has lied by omission – he forgot to include the personal donations from those who run our mining companies. the ABC has reported:

” Australia's fifth richest man according to the last BRW rich list, Mr Palmer donated a total of $865,000, including $400,000 to the Liberal Party of Australia through his mining company Mineralogy.

Mr Palmer …  also made a personal donation of $280,000 to the Liberal National Party of Queensland.

While most of his generosity was reserved for the conservative side of politics, Mr Palmer also boosted the West Australian Labor Party's coffers by $25,000 via Mineralogy.”

Liberal Jamie Briggs omitted to mention that, and similar, donations.

The intensity of marketing, and the presence of enough spin to bamboozle Shane Warne, ought to make all voters cynical of the ads they are seeing. If asked about it respond - ‘Yes, I saw it. It’s marketing crap’. I suggest simply reading the first two links I’ve provided, to articles by Ross Gittins and Ian Verrender. Ignore everything else.