Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to look at the recent history of proposals to tax resource rents in Australia, from Australia's Future Tax System Report (the "Henry Tax Review") through to the proposed Resource Super Profits Tax ("RSPT") and then the Minerals Resource Rent Tax ("MRRT"). The process of change from Henry to the RSPT to the MRRT can best be understood in the context of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) as a capitalist workers' party. The author argues that it is this tension in the ALP, the shift in its internal balance further towards capital and the lack of class struggle, that has seen Labor preside over what the father of rent tax in Australia, Ross Garnaut, describes as a "problematic" tax.
Design/methodology/approach: Qualitative research using Marxist tools.
Findings: The paper argues that the poor health of the MRRT is a consequence of the nature of the Labor Party as a capitalist workers' party, the shifts in power and influence within its material constitution and in essence the ascendency of capital in the capitalist workers' party.
Originality/value: A very original approach to understanding the nature of the MRRT in Australia.