Fortescue Metals’ Andrew Forrest has slammed Wayne Swan, accusing him of "almost an act of racism" by turning Australians against one another in the latest mining tax salvo.
Forrest also took the opportunity to say Swan is almost attempting to criminalise collecting capital, NineMSN reports.
It comes after Swan’s vicious attack last month on Forrest and fellow mining moguls Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer.
Swan said the mining boom had introduced an ugly new force to Australia, where a small group of magnates "use their considerable wealth to oppose good public policy and economic reforms designed to benefit the majority.
"The combination of industry deep pockets, conservative political support, biased editorial policy and shock-jock ranting has been mobilised in an attempt to protect vested interest," he said.
The crux of Swan’s lengthy critique concerned what he saw as an inherent contradiction in mining industry rhetoric.
What the industry claimed as lobbying in the best interests of the Australian people, he saw as a self-interested argument focused on personal profit first and nationwide benefit last.
"What characterises the vested interests that I’m concerned about is how they misrepresent their self-interest as the national interest," he said.
Speaking at the Sydney FC business lunch yesterday, Forrest called on Swan to change the conversation.
Forrest went on to say Swan has "used almost an act of racism to turn Australians against Australians by trying to make it a crime to organise and collect capital".
However he did not expand on what the ‘act of racism’ referred to.
He also took lunch engagement to respond to Swan’s direct attack and accusations of avoiding paying tax.
"I happen to be able to accumulate capital," he said.
"I don’t see that as any special gift but clearly the treasurer does and he thinks that’s a problem."
The Government dismissed Forrest’s comments
"[Andrew] Twiggy [Forrest]’s comments make about as much sense as Clive [Palmer]’s recent outburst about a secret CIA plot," an unnamed source told AAP, referring to Palmer’s comments the CIA was secretly helping to fund anti-coal protests in Australia.