CANBERRA - Australia's treasurer lashed out at some of the country's wealthiest and most powerful mining executives on Friday, accusing them of using their power and influence to threaten democracy and undermine good policy.
Treasurer Wayne Swan's attacks were directed at mining billionaires Gina Rinehart, Andrew Forrest and Clive Palmer, who have all been outspoken critics of the government's new 30 percent tax on iron ore and coal mines, due to start in July.
Over the past two years, the minority Labor government has also been fighting with the gambling industry over slot-machine reforms, international tobacco companies over plain packaging for cigarettes, and big business over a new carbon tax.
"I think the fair go that we all cherish, the fair go that we nurture, is at grave risk today because vested interests are on the march," Swan told Australian radio.
"We've seen this just not through our debate on resource taxation. We've seen it through carbon pricing and we've seen it through the debate about plain packaging of tobacco."