Don Argus is reluctant to face a Senate inquiry scheduled for February 7 in Melbourne. The former chairman of BHP Billiton had helped with a policy transition group which advised Wayne Swan about the planned $7.4 billion worth mining tax.
Senators hope to find out from Don Argus the nature of the talks between the mining companies and Julia Gillard which led to the breakthrough in the mining tax business just before the elections in July last year. This may be precisely why he is reluctant to face the inquiry.
He has said that he would be considering legal advice about the matter. He feels that his work with the policy transition group ended when the report was delivered to the government just before Christmas last year.
The committee set up with the support of Senator Nick Xenophon by the Coalition on September 30, 2010 sees Mr Argus’ reluctance as unnecessary. Ian Macfarlane the Coalition resources spokesman said that he must front the inquiry and be open about what was said to him by the mining companies during the months of talk over the design of the MRRT.