Labor has launched a last-ditch fight to keep the mining tax as the federal government prepares to scrap the measure in a parliamentary vote.
Debate on the minerals resource rent tax (MRRT) resumed on Wednesday, for what could be the last time in the House of Representatives if the coalition government gets its way.
The government used its numbers in the lower house to limit the debate, and wants a bill to repeal the MRRT put to a vote before the evening.
The government’s character is to back the big guy, at the expense of the little fella.
Labor MP Nick Champion said the government’s determination to scrap the mining tax spoke volumes about the priorities of the Liberal and Nationals parties, and how out of touch they were.
“The government’s character is to back the big guy, at the expense of the little fella,” he told the lower house on Wednesday.
“The Australian character is the complete antithesis of that.”
He said the bill was a “gift to powerful interests” and an assault on families and the superannuation savings of Australia’s lower-income earners.
Abolishing the mining tax wouldn’t do the nation “a lick of good”, and the government would change its tune once the flow-through cuts to struggling families became clear.
Both sides of government have accused the other of waging a class warfare over the legislation.
Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer said her Labor colleague was living in a “parallel universe”.
The MRRT had not only hindered mining investment and threatened the national economy, but had failed as a policy because it didn’t even raise any revenue, she added.
“The MRRT was the tax that revealed the former prime minister and treasurer to be the economic vandals that we knew them to be,” Ms O’Dwyer said.
“Like the pub with no beer, the MRRT was the tax with virtually no revenue.”
The MRRT is a 30 per cent impost on the super profits of coal and iron ore producers.
Debate on the MRRT Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2013 is continuing in the lower house.