Leslie Cannold on Australia's "billionaire liberation front" :
Why did the government's bid to replace the current royalties regime with the resource rent tax proposed by the Henry Review fail? Mainly, because profitable international companies don't like paying tax, and have few qualms about setting up complex legal structures, stone-walling tax authorities and otherwise fighting dirty to shell out as little as possible....I firmly believe that if Australians had understood that the tax international super-profiting mining companies didn't pay on their windfall profits would be clawed back by the Gillard government through attacks on life-saving cures, childcare centre rebates and middle-income jobs, they'd have insisted the Billionaire Liberation Front – a term coined by Lindsay Tanner – pay up. The reason they didn't requires a book to fully explain but boils down to political and communication nous and – you guessed it – finance. Background Briefing reports that the big mining companies spent $22million to defeat the super profits tax by way of a PR campaign that made the government's communications efforts – to use an analogy offered by legal expert Michael Kobetsky – look like the football under-10s. These days big business dirty tricks are the rule, not the exception. Politicians must be armed and ready.
You can read the rest of the piece here. A useful reminder to those gullible enough to believe that mining tax policies anywhere are settled by rational arguments. Taxation policy nearly always is an outworking of the power struggle - and in that access to money is everything. Unfortunately, unlike in Australia where they even hope that "policians must be armed and ready", Zambian politicians are directly armed with American dollars in their campaign finance pockets by mining companies.