By James Regan
SYDNEY, June 28 (Reuters) – The odds of Australia introducing a tough new mining tax have improved under the popular new Prime Minister Julia Gillard who is tipped by pollsters to lead her Labor Party to a general election win this year.
Miners had counted on former premier Kevin Rudd losing the election, expected between August and November, thereby killing the tax proposal which would have only been considered by parliament if Labor formed the new government.
But the first Nielsen poll since Gillard took over on Thursday showed an eight-point swing to the government and gave Labor a comfortable, 55-45 lead over its the conservative opposition.
Gillard has shown a willingness to negotiate so-far unspecified components of the tax before the election, particularly an earlier proposed 40 percent super profits levy, indicating it is a top priority for her administration.
But she has made it clear miners should expect to pay more starting in 2012.
WHY GILLARD MAY BUDGE ON THE TAX BEFORE AN ELECTION
Gillard says she is aware of the “anxiety” among Australians over the battle with miners and is concerned uncertainty determining the final form of the tax was harming her Labor party and dividing the nation.