Last week, when the Reserve Bank cut interest rates and downgraded its forecast for the economy, Tony Abbott became the latest politician to declare the mining boom over.
He blamed the government, specifically the mining tax.
In reality, the mining tax, whether the miners pay it or not, is having next to nothing to do with the minerals sector coming off the boil.
''The whole point with the mining tax was to slow down the mining boom. Well it's worked fellas, it's worked," Abbott said.
''The mining boom has ended prematurely, so it seems, because of bad policy from this government and what we need above all else with the end well and truly in sight is a government that gets the economic fundamentals right.''
Eroding this argument somewhat is the continuing equal and opposite assertion by the Coalition that the miners won't actually pay the tax because they outsmarted the government when it was negotiated. The veracity or otherwise of that argument will be known in about a fortnight, when the iron ore and coal giants stump up the first instalment of the tax.
In reality, the mining tax, whether the miners pay it or not, is having next to nothing to do with the minerals sector coming off the boil. It's predominantly the slowdown in China.
The problem is not unique to Australia.
Two weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that slowing growth in China was taking "a brutal toll'' on Appalachian coalmines and towns.
Appalachia, one of the world's richest deposits for high-grade metallurgical coal, used for making steel, has seen prices drop from $US330 a tonne last year to $US170 today, as China's steel industry begins to slow, with the rest of the economy. Chinese steel production consumes half the world's metallurgical coal and it is forecast to make a loss this year.
Exacerbating the problem in the US was the resurgence of metallurgical coal production in Australia, which had been severely disrupted by the Queensland floods.
There is no mining tax or carbon tax in Appalachia and what is happening there is a microcosm, albeit with a sharp focus, to what is occurring in Australia.
At the speech she was to deliver in New York before illness struck, Julia Gillard's aim was to impress upon global investors the Australian economy was about more than commodities, and therefore, more robust than commonly perceived.
That was not to downplay the significance of mining, and the speech, delivered by Bob Carr, urged investors to keep the current situation in perspective.
"Australia's mining boom has long to run,'' the Minister for Foreign Affairs declared on behalf of the boss.
Iron ore prices this year will average about $US126 a tonne and are forecast to fall to $US101 next year. "Ten years ago we got around $US20 per tonne,'' he said.
Similarly, coking coal was forecast to fall from $US211 a tonne to $US183, still well above the $50 per tonne a decade ago.
Still, as the speech went on to concede, "the easing in prices squeezes profits, meaning slower revenue growth for government and hard decisions on the expenditure side''.
As the government struggles now to find more cuts to replace the revenue loss and meet is promise to return the budget to surplus, thought is also turning to how to tap into Asia for the longer term.
The government is soon due to release its white paper on the Asian century, which at its core will identify areas of opportunity in a growing Asian middle class and how to exploit them.
Last week, in one of two speeches he gave on China, Kevin Rudd got ahead of the white paper and gave his own version.
He said as mining came off the boil, Australia needed to lift its game to tap into the increasingly lucrative Chinese tourism market.
He said Qantas, as the national carrier, should fly directly from Sydney to Beijing and the Australia TV network must stop showing "foreign-produced television series … We should be using this taxpayer-funded resource to promote Australian tourism more broadly across emerging Asia.''
Rudd suggested the government make it easier for Chinese tourists to obtain Australian visas, the domestic tourism industry start tailoring packages for first-time Chinese travellers, and for there to be more emphasis on language learning.
He began by noting that in 2007, just after he became the opposition leader, he was mocked by the Coalition for arguing Australia needed to prepare its economy for the end of the mining boom.
''The global and Australian impact of a slowdown in Chinese demand for Australian resources and energy is already being felt in the Australian economy,'' he said.
''This does not mean that Chinese demand for Australian resources and energy exports [is] likely to collapse. But it does mean that the rate of increase is likely to slow.''
It was a speech noted by Rudd's colleagues for its timing as much as its content.
Phil Coorey is the chief political correspondent.