The structural power of business and the power of ideas: the strange case of the Australian Mining Tax

Bell, Stephen and Hindmoor, Andrew (2014) The structural power of business and the power of ideas: the strange case of the Australian Mining Tax. New Political Economy, 19 3: 470-486. doi:10.1080/13563467.2013.796452

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Author Bell, Stephen
Hindmoor, Andrew
Title The structural power of business and the power of ideas: the strange case of the Australian Mining Tax
Journal name New Political Economy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1469-9923
1356-3467
Publication date 2014-01-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/13563467.2013.796452
Volume 19
Issue 3
Start page 470
End page 486
Total pages 17
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Formatted abstract
In 2010 the Australian federal government fought and lost an intense and very public battle with the country's mining industry over the introduction of a new ‘super-profits’ tax. The proposed tax was withdrawn and the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, was removed from office. Why did the government lose this battle and what can this episode tell us about the nature and determinants of business power? We argue that business power is not an objective condition but is shaped subjectively and inter-subjectively. What counts in the power equation is not whether business investment is essential for growth or whether business will disinvest if a new tax is imposed, but whether actors believe this to be the case. One reason why the structural power of business varies is because actors’ normative and causal ideas about the value and determinants of business investment vary. In the Australian case ministers did not believe that the introduction of a new tax would jeopardise investment. Ministers did however come to believe that the mining industry had successfully persuaded a large number of voters that the introduction of a new tax would jeopardise investment, employment and growth. This is why the tax was eventually abandoned.
Keyword Business power
Ideas
Mining
Public policy
Australian politics
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 9 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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