Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan Wednesday ramped up an attack on Australia's "self-interested" mining billionaires, in comments that lauded the political messages of US rock star Bruce Springsteen.
Swan resurrected his condemnation of three top resources magnates who he has accused of using their wealth to influence public policy for their own vested interests.
It followed his high-profile attack on the world's richest woman, iron ore tycoon Gina Rinehart, coal businessman Clive Palmer, and Fortescue Metals chief Andrew Forrest in an essay for prominent magazine The Monthly in March.
"My only regret is not going in hard enough, because every criticism I made has been played out almost to the letter on our national stage," Swan was to say in a speech Wednesday evening which was widely leaked in advance.
Australia's Labor government has been at odds with miners, particularly Rinehart, Forrest and Palmer, over new taxes on iron ore and coal profits and corporate pollution that sparked a furious campaign from the powerful and wealthy mining industry.
Swan's earlier essay slammed "a handful of vested interests that have pocketed a disproportionate share of the nation's economic success (and) now feel they have a right to shape Australia's future to satisfy their own self-interest".
"This poison has infected our politics and is seeping into our economy. Though these vested interests have not yet prevailed, every day their demands get louder," he wrote in The Monthly.
In his speech Wednesday, Swan was to argue that Rinehart, Palmer and Forrest have continued to mount "blatantly self-interested" campaigns since his initial denunciation.
"One tycoon is using his money to challenge the principle of fair taxation through electioneering," the text said.
"A second is using his money to challenge it through the courts. And a third is using her money to challenge it by undermining independent journalism.
"Parliament, the constitution, independent journalism: all three are fundamental pillars of our democracy, being used as their playthings."
The remarks were a reference to Palmer seeking to challenge Swan in his parliamentary constituency in Queensland, and Forrest bankrolling a High Court case against the government's mining tax.
The treasurer accuses Rinehart of attempting to manipulate public opinion by buying shares in communications giant Fairfax Media.
To convey the message to Labor's traditional working class base that Australia must avoid extreme income inequality, he was to invoke Springsteen's championing of ordinary people.
"Concepts like equality, justice, patriotism, not leaving people behind but advancing as a community. Concepts we can hear in the strains of great musicians like The Boss," a reference to Springsteen's nickname.
Speaking to ABC radio, Swan cited the singer's "Wrecking Ball", which highlighted the growing gap between the traditional American Dream and reality.
"What I say in my speech is, let's not let that happen here. Let's not let the people with the deepest pockets have a disproportionate say in the debate and a disproportionate say in economic outcomes," he said.
Rinehart and Forrest had no immediate reaction but Palmer hit back, saying he had a right to speak out.
"The treasurer doesn't attack what I say. He attacks me personally. He doesn't play the ball, he plays the man," he said, while taking a swipe at the Springsteen references.
"Unlike the treasurer I don't go to the United States for inspiration," he said -- adding that he preferred little-known Australian band Redgum.