Aussie PM Rudd and mining giants in ad war over tax

Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd wants to bring in a 40 per cent surtax on the mining giants who are digging up huge chunks of the country to supply the ever-growing needs of Chinese industry.

He’s been criticised already for launching a $38m ad campaign putting the government’s case. Some say that he’s ignoring the rule that government ad campaigns can’t be ‘party political.’

The miners, who include Rio Tinto and XStrata, now among the biggest companies in the world (they account for between 30 and 40 per cent of the London FTSE100 index) are fighting back with a somewhat larger budget.

But Rudd might just win. It’s not the miners’ fault that a BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is already the biggest company-induced natural disaster to hit America. But it underlines the point that these huge companies should be made to pay an environmental tariff as well their ordinary taxes.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.