By Cameron Chai
Mr Kevin Rudd was warned by Australian Government solicitors (AGS) that there might be legal problems with the proposed mining Resources Super Profits Tax (RSPT) as per new evidence which came to light yesterday during a Senate estimates hearing.
The chief executive officer of AGS, Ian Govey confirmed to Senator George Brandis that they advised the government that there was a risk that the RSPT was unconstitutional. Senator George Brandis is the opposition legal affairs spokesman.
The RSPT was the predecessor bill to the proposed Mineral Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) currently being debated by the Gillard government.
Mr Govey handed out extracts of the AGS legal advice which warned that the RSPT may be unconstitutional on the ground that the tax would have the potential to discriminate between states.
The AGS found the RSPT could have allowed a person mining a resource in one state to receive a different tax refund or credit from a person mining the same resource in another state. He said that the AGS had suggested changes to the RSPT.
It is not clear if the Gillard government has overcome the constitutional hurdle identified by the AGS in the new proposed MRRT.