MINING Magnate Andrew Forrest has accused Kevin Rudd of "turning communist" over his attitude to the proposed super profits tax on miners.
Mr Forrest and fellow mining boss Gina Rinehart today addressed more than 2000 mining industry workers who rallied in a Perth park to protest against the federal government's proposed resources tax.
The rally, organised by the Association Of Mining and Exploration Companies, was timed to coincide with Mr Minister Rudd's visit to the West Australian capital to sell the 40 per cent tax on mining company super profits.
At the protest meeting, Mr Forrest, the chief of Fortescue Metals Group, accused Mr Rudd of going communist in imposing the tax while communist China moved the other way.
From the back of a large flat bed truck, Ms Rinehart led the crowd in chants of axe the tax.
Protesters held up mass produced placards bearing the slogans and then chanted, "super tax, super stupid'', "super tax kills jobs'' and "Rudd's mining tax hurts us all''.
Mr Forrest, who is due to meet Mr Rudd later on Wednesday, told the rally their numbers were more than Prime Minister Kevin Rudd would have expected.
"In China right now there's a fierce debate about how to lower their resources tax to encourage the mining industry.''
Australia was doing the opposite, Mr Forrest said.
"I ask you which communist is turning capitalist and which capitalist is turning communist.''
Mr Forrest told protesters this was their opportunity to change Australia's direction from the direction Mr Rudd was taking it, which was largely socialist redistribution over the creation of value.
Elizabeth Kelly, who works in the accounts department of mining company Sandfire Resources, said the tax would definitely hurt the mining industry.
"I'm here because I don't want to lose my job,'' the 28-year-old said.
Mr Rudd has shown no signs of backing down on the tax because of vehement mining company opposition or of making substantial changes to it to satisfy miners' concerns.
Dozens of police officers were stationed at the nearby Hyatt Regency Hotel where Mr Rudd was due to address a Perth Press Club luncheon.
But protesters did not approach the hotel and their rally in the park remained peaceful.
Mr Forrest, in yellow and blue mining overalls, said the hopes and aspirations of fellow Australians were pinned on mining workers and their chances of having prosperous careers without being "ripped off halfway through the game''.
"We represent so much more than mining, we represent the hopes and dreams of thousands and millions of people who depend on the mining industry, who depend on the resource sector for a strong Australian economy.
"This day is about your opportunity to change Australia's history from where Kevin Rudd would take it, a largely socialist distribution of capital over creation of value.''
James Pearson of WA's Chamber of Commerce said businesses across the state were concerned about the new tax because their prosperity depended on a strong and growing resources industry.