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Mining magnates have been campaigning against the government over the introduction in July of a 30 percent tax on iron ore and coal miners’ profits that have burgeoned over the past decade due to Chinese growth.

They also oppose a carbon tax that came into effect in July that requires Australia’s largest polluters to pay 23 Australian dollars ($24) for every metric ton of carbon dioxide they produce.

Swan accused the three outspoken miners in an article in March of using their wealth and influence to undermine Australia’s democratic processes.

“The rising influence of vested interests is threatening Australia’s egalitarian social contract,” Swan said.

“A handful of powerful people not only think they have a right to a disproportionate share of the nation’s economic success, they think they have a right to manipulate our democracy and our national conversation to gain an even bigger slice of the pie,” he said.

He accused Rinehart _ whom Forbes magazine estimated in March was worth $18 billion _ of “baldly seeking the power to manipulate public opinion” by increasing her stake in Fairfax Media, Australia’s second-largest newspaper group.

Swan also criticized Forrest, chairman of iron ore miner Fostescue Metals Group, for challenging the mining tax in the High Court and Palmer for using billboard advertising to announce he would contest Swan’s electoral division at the next elections, due late next year. Palmer has since withdrawn his candidacy.

“In the face of all this, we have to stand up and be heard, because when the massively wealthy buy the loudest megaphones, the voices of the people are drowned out,” he said.

Swan also revealed that he plays Springsteen’s hit single “Born to Run” after delivering to Parliament the government’s five annual budget plans each May. He said Springsteen is also the favorite musician of Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

“We are in many ways the Springsteen Generation,” said Swan, who was a university lecturer on public administration before entering politics. “And if our generation has an anthem, it is `Born to Run.’”