Clive behind Qld challenge: Swan

FEDERAL Treasurer Wayne Swan has blamed the influence of billionaire Queenslander Clive Palmer for the state’s decision to join Fortescue Metals Group’s High Court challenge against the Minerals Resource Rent Tax.
Clive behind Qld challenge: Swan Clive behind Qld challenge: Swan Clive behind Qld challenge: Swan Clive behind Qld challenge: Swan Clive behind Qld challenge: Swan

Treasurer Wayne Swan

Kristie Batten

It’s understood the Queensland Liberal National Party will join FMG in the legal fight against the tax.

FMG confirmed the High Court challenge last month.

Swan told ABC Radio that Queensland was “prepared to waste taxpayer's money on a futile challenge – a challenge that not even the premier of Western Australia would entertain because he knew it would be unsuccessful”

While Swan said he was confident the MRRT legislation would stand against the challenge, he also used the opportunity to take a shot at Palmer.

“I think what we're seeing here is the influence of Mr Palmer in the Liberal National Party in Queensland,” he said.

Swan said federal Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman would join Palmer to try and “knock off this very important measure of spreading the benefits of the mining boom right around our country.”

FMG is challenging the tax on the grounds that it discriminates between the states contrary to section 51(ii) of the Constitution; curtailed state sovereignty contrary to the Melbourne Corporation principle; gave preference to one state over another in contrary to section 99 of the Constitution; and restricted a state’s ability to encourage mining contrary to section 91 of the Constitution.

The MRRT, which came into effect on July 1, taxes the profits of coal and iron ore companies operating in Australia.

This article first appeared in ILN's sister publication MiningNews.net.

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