Australia is now officially a ‘patch-work’ economy, according to anyone trying to explain away massive mining profits amidst job losses and rising living costs elsewhere.
It’s a neat term because it has a sort of unthreatening, homely feel; just a series of patches, knitted together by the golden thread of trickle-down economics.
But if you were to map out our economy into sectors and ask people to rate their value, you would see something looking more like a ragged blanket being pulled in multiple directions by different interests.
Which is exactly what we have done in this week’s Essential Report – asking people to rate industries by their importance – as well as by how we think they are travelling.
While all the focus is on the first anniversary of the knifing of St Kevin, another milestone is slipping through largely unnoticed: the scrapping of his contentious plan to impose a Resource Rent Tax on the mining industry.
It almost seems like ancient history now. In the face of the mining industry’s $20 million blitz, the new Prime Minister sued for peace, settling on a far more modest package that is still working its way through the legislative process.
Twelve months on, for all the self-interested tub-thumping and slick promotional ads from the mining lobby, this week’s Essential Report suggests very few Australians see themselves deriving any personal benefit from the boom.
If there is any silver lining from the mining industry’s 20,800 per cent return on investment for knocking over the Rudd Government’s Resource Rent Tax, it’s that the punters are beginning to wise up.
As interest groups around the nation hone their scare campaigns in expectation of a price on carbon, this week’s Essential Report suggests the mining industry has dealt themselves out of any credible role in the debate.
With record profits the size of many sovereign nation’s GDPs and ongoing plans to extract even more of the national wealth, a majority of the public say they support forcing the mining industry to pay a greater share of their profits in tax.
Q: Would you approve or disapprove of higher taxes on the profits of large mining companies?
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