Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Minerals Resource Rent Tax Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — General) Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Customs) Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Excise) Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax Assessment Amendment Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — General) Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Customs) Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Excise) Bill 2011, Tax Laws Amendment (Stronger, Fairer, Simpler and Other Measures) Bill 2011, Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Amendment Bill 2011; Second Reading
Through the actions of this government, we have witnessed the trashing of democracy in Australia. In promising not to have a carbon tax and then doing the exact opposite—when it could cobble together a half-baked government—the Labor Party rendered democracy pretty much useless. The voice of the people was silenced and we witnessed the trashing of democracy.
But democracy will be restored at the next election, and introducing this new mining tax will ensure that the restoration will be just as painful for Labor as the four years Australia has had to endure this government. The last time a government sought to impose extraordinarily unfair taxes on miners, it gave rise to a movement known as the Eureka Stockade, which is credited as the birth of democracy in Australia. So history repeats. In the lead up to the Eureka Stockade, the government imposed heavy taxes on the entrepreneurs, the miners who were spilling their blood, sweat and tears on the goldfields in Victoria at Ballarat. In return for the heavy taxes they received—wait for it—nothing. The government saw an opportunity for a quick money grab, took it and gave back nothing in return. It was no wonder then that those brave miners took up arms against the government. At that time, they had little choice. The Eureka Stockade, where miners drew a line in the sand and said, 'Enough enough is enough,' was such a defining moment in Australian history and laid such an enduring foundation for our culture—including the concept of a fair go—that Australians are still rallying behind that notion of rebellion. But here we are 157 years later, and what has this government learned? Nothing.
Eureka parallels a similar story in the United States of America where the famous Tea Party patriots demanded 'no taxation without representation'. We may well be demanding something similar here, because history is repeating itself. This government just simply cannot help itself. Someone is making money, the Labor Party thinks. 'We cannot have people earning a living digging stuff,' say the Greens. 'We will tax it,' is their first and only answer. This is an ill-conceived tax from an illegitimate government; make no mistake. Even the previous Labor government, the one that had some legitimacy, started this rot. The funny thing is that that government was knifed, and that Prime Minister was knifed—