Challenges confront new Australian PM
Monday, July 05, 2021 6:17 AM

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SYDNEY, Jul. 5, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) -- Australia's first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard should be an inspiration to women from all walks of life, according to Luciana Ozcan, Director of Asian Business, City Index.

"I do believe that as an individual, Gillard has empowered women in politics. She definitely has some solid credentials," Ozcan told Xinhua on Monday.

Ozcan believes the general perception of the Labor Party is basically that they are a tool of the trade union movement and tend to look after the "battler" at the expense of those who aspire to a higher standard.

"Given the recent events within both the state and federal parties, politics is very unpredictable. It seems to be more a popularity contest than having the ability to get the job done.

"I have no doubt that Gillard will face many challenges and one of them is to prove that she is not a puppet of the Labor Party.

"Regardless of whether it's politics or business, to be successful, a leader must have a vision as well as a dedicated team to work together towards achieving that vision," she said.

Gillard's first major hurdle as Prime Minister was to seal the mining tax deal recently.

The federal government has replaced its contentious 40 percent resource super profits tax (RSPT) with a minerals resource rent tax (MRRT) at a rate of 30 percent.

Smaller miners with profits below 50 million Australian dollars (42 million U.S. dollars) a year will not be liable for the new tax, which will kick-in when profits exceed about 12 percent, up from about six percent under the RSPT. Commodities other than iron ore and coal will be exempt from the revised tax.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have issued statements welcoming the new tax proposal, but they indicate there is still much work to be done on its design before it takes effect.

Ozcan supported the changes saying Gillard's new tax proposal is feasible. "It's about time. I'm a great proponent of taxing the big companies, mining or otherwise, rather than individuals," she said.

"It's absolutely disgusting when you read about the bonuses that the Chief Executives get each year, regardless if the company is making or losing money, whilst the average person works hard for the company but ends up paying up so much more in personal taxes."

However, Australia-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Michael Jones has a different perspective on the proposed changes to the mining tax.

"I think most of the 'figures' and the spokespersons are biased. It is now claimed that the mining tax has been reduced to almost 20 percent or half. However, if it was still 30 percent it cannot raise the revenue claimed - so either it will not work or other policies will have to be sacrificed.

"The Australian people are amongst the most conservative in the world - some would say selfish. They want to live off the resources industries forever with as few extra people as possible, " Jones told Xinhua.

He believes Gillard is pandering to the worst elements of insular Australia in an attempt to "out-right" Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

"The Liberals want skilled migrants that other countries have paid to train as well as lower taxes and hence quicker profits; whereas the Labor Party wants local skilled workers regarding training of their union affiliate members with a few profitable ' rorts' along the way," he said.



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