Tax could be back

THERE is no guarantee the Minerals Resource Rent Tax is off the agenda as the full results of the cliffhanger election on Saturday are still not in.
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Mine Life senior resources analyst Gavin Wendt.

Blair Price

Both the Labor party and the Coalition are frantically trying to negotiate with three country independent MPs to form a minority government.

Newly elected WA Nationals MP Tony Crook – who removed long-serving O’Connor Liberal MP Wilson Tuckey from office on the weekend – has made it clear he will support a Gillard government if the mining tax is dropped.

But there is no certainty to whether the country independent MPs of Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, and Bob Katter will side with Labor or the Coalition.

Mine Life senior resources analyst Gavin Wendt told ILN they were all ex-National Party members who did not seem particularly enamoured with the Coalition.

“I think it’s 50:50 if they align themselves with the Labor party as much as the Coalition,” he said.

While votes are still being counted, it is also appears likely that Andrew Wilkie will become the fourth independent to be elected to the House of Representatives.

Wilkie stood for the Greens against former Prime Minister John Howard in the seat of Bennelong back in the 2004 election.

Along with newly elected Greens federal MP Adam Bandt, Wilkie is expected to side with Labor.

What is known is that the Greens have won control of the Senate and their approval will be required for the MRRT.

Greens Leader Bob Brown has regularly stated the original resources super-profits tax proposal was better than the MRRT – leading to fears that the mining tax could be broadened to include a higher tax rate or to target other commodities apart from coal and iron ore.

On the other hand, if the Coalition manages to sway over the independent MPs to form a minority government, no mining tax proposal is likely to be introduced.

Wendt noted that the Labor vote was not high in the seats of the independent MPs, and he expects this to be another factor as the MPs try and do what is best for their electorates.

A total of 76 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives is required to form government, with the Coalition predicted to land 73 by the time all votes are counted while the Labor party is expected to hold onto 72.

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