Opposition demands mining ad inquiry

The federal opposition is calling for a Senate inquiry into the government’s $38.

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5 million splurge on mining tax advertising.

It’s demanding answers as to why Special Minister of State Joe Ludwig failed to mention the campaign during a week of Senate hearings.

Labor wants to implement a 40 per cent tax on mining super profits to pay for business tax cuts and new infrastructure.

“Labor deliberately hid the exemption from Senate estimates last week,” Liberal frontbencher Eric Abetz said in a statement.

“Senator Ludwig sat through his estimates this week without showing any indication of this campaign being urgent knowing full well the decision had already been made.”

The government has given itself approval to begin an advertising blitz on the mining tax, classifying it as a matter of extreme urgency.

Usually government advertising needs to be vetted by an independent panel.

“Labor is breaking its own guidelines in order to run a partisan political campaign,” Senator Abetz said on Sunday.

He said the coalition will move for a Senate inquiry into the issue.

But others say that the Howard government set the standard. Host of the ABC’s Insiders show, Barrie Cassidy, said the Liberals ‘abused an exploited every loophole in this area, and set a world record for shameless publicly funded political advertising.’

Today, Small Business Minister Craig Emerson says a taxpayer-funded advertising campaign to promote the Rudd government’s proposed new mining tax is warranted because the debate so far has been biased.

Industry groups have slammed the plan, prompting the government to bypass normal vetting requirements for its advertising and embark on a 38.5 million dollar campaign blitz.

Dr Emerson says the smear campaign directed at the proposed new tax is an emergency situation, and it’s perfectly appropriate for the government to tell both sides of the story.