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Swan uses emergency powers to plan advertising blitz against miners on resources super-profits tax

Mining tax

A Rio Tinto iron ore mining operation in the Pilbara, Western Australia.

TheAustralian.com.au

WAYNE Swan is preparing to escalate his pitched battle with the mining industry over the resource super-profits tax, obtaining a special exemption under national emergency powers to waive the government's own advertising rules for a campaign against the miners.

The exemption granted this week to the Treasurer by Special Minister of State Joe Ludwig will allow the government to rush out an advertising campaign to counter a mining industry blitz against the new 40 per cent super profits tax.

Mr Swan on May 10 sought permission from Senator Ludwig, in his role as Cabinet Secretary, to mount a tax reform advertising campaign.

"Given that co-ordinated misinformation about the changes is currently being promulgated in paid advertising, I accept the need for extremely urgent action to ensure the Australian community receive accurate advice about the nature and effect of the changes," Senator Ludwig said in a special statement granting Mr Swan permission for the campaign.

"As the changes also affect the value of the capital assets and impact on financial markets, I am satisfied that a compelling reason for an exemption exists, particularly given the nature and extent of misinformation against a backdrop of continuing market volatility."

The exemption from the government's advertising rules will enable the Treasurer to avoid the need to seek the approval of the Indendendent Communications Committee which vets all government advertising.

It will free the campaign from constraints under the guidelines prohibiting campaigns run for party political purposes and releasing materials that "directly attack or scorn the views, policies or actions of other such as the policies and opinions of opposition parties or groups".

As Cabinet Secretary Senator Ludwig can exempt a campaign from compliance with the guidelines on the basis of a national emergency, extreme urgency or other compelling reasons.

In granting the exemption, Senator Ludwig said: "I note and accept the Treasurer's advice that there is an active campaign of misinformation about the proposed changes and that Australians are concerned about how these changes will affect them.

"I further note and accept the Treasurer's advice that, as tax reform involves changes to the value of some capital assets, they impact on financial markets."