Mining tax scrapes though after fiery debate

The minerals resource rent tax (MRRT) was passed 38 to 32 last night in a fiery Federal Senate chamber.

The Opposition twice tried but failed to suspend standing orders to delay the vote on the so-called mining tax.

The new tax on iron ore and coal will start counting revenue on July 1. But the fight is not over yet, with reports of legal challenges being considered by the Opposition.

Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann told ABC Radio he thought the MRRT would be scuttled by a High Court challenge, while Finance Minister Penny Wong says she is confident the tax could survive any High Court challenge.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard rejected suggestions the tax would ‘kill the goose that laid the golden egg for Australia’.

“We know that we have more than $400 billion of investment in the pipeline,” Gillard told ABC radio.

“That’s record-breaking any way you want to measure it. It is an incredible development in our nation’s history.”

Gillard says she is not concerned about a possible High Court challenge to the tax by Queensland coal miner Clive Palmer.

“Well Clive Palmer is a very, very, very rich man. He is a billionaire and good luck to him,” she said.

The world’s biggest mining companies spent millions to advertise the benefits of mining before negotiating with Gillard a reduction in the tax from $40 billion to an estimated $11 billion.

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