Saturday 11th of July 2020

government of thieves ....

government of thieves .....

Joe Hockey has tried to find another angle to sell his bosses’ Budget. Now he is trying to win the sympathy of tax paying workers by arguing that we workers work for a month to pay the taxes that provide support for the poor, the sick, the disabled, the old, the young.

One obvious rejoinder is ‘Good.’ I am proud my taxes go in part to supporting those less well off.  I am pissed off that some goes in part to subsidise the rich and capital, and war.

Another obvious response – see the meme above – is, well what about all those benefits that go to business?

There is another deeper response we on the Left should also make.

Where does all this income – profits, rents, dividends, interest, wages etc – and the taxes imposed on it, come from?

It is the wealth (or more precisely, in Marxist terms, the surplus value) we workers create that we are talking about. It is ours. We should decide where it goes, not the parliamentary popinjays of profit.

Attacking poor people and workers, which is what this Budget does, is about transferring even more of the wealth or surplus value we create to the bosses. The best way to stop that in the current circumstances is at the point of production, that is, to win higher wages.

This is a point I make at length in my article Neoliberalism in Australia and the Henry Tax Review in (2013) 8(1) Journal of the Australasian Tax Teachers Association 117.

The link to the full journal, not just my article, is here.


a government of liars... even the AFP...


The Australian Federal Police has been forced into an embarrassing u-turn on whether or not it advised Prime Minister Tony Abbott to cancel a visit to a Victorian university amid widespread protest against the Coalition's budget last week.

Appearing in front of a parliamentary committee on Monday, AFP deputy-commissioner, national security, Peter Drennan, said the agency did not advise Mr Abbott to pull out of the visit to Deakin University's Geelong campus.

But late on Tuesday, the AFP issued a statement, ''correcting its response''. In the letter, Mr Drennan asked that the record now ''reflect the fact that the AFP did advise the PMO [Prime Minister's Office] that the Prime Minister should not attend the event at Deakin University due to security concerns''.

The Prime Minister was branded ''cowardly'' by the students' union for pulling the plug on the visit last Wednesday.

Read more:

Did they? Did they not?

Meanwhile, apparently, Wayne Swan and 7 other Labor benchers were ejected out of parliament by her majesty Bronwyn as usual, for suggesting Tony Abbott was a liar. As he left the chamber, Wayne Swan said in a Galileo Galilei moment: "I withdraw the remark but he still is a liar"... Amen to that. 


saving the budget .....

You only get one chance to make a first impression and, if you are treasurer, you only get one chance to deliver your first budget. Joe Hockey has been talking up his determination to make savage cuts and “end the age of entitlement” for months but, with public support for the Abbott government continuing to slide, there is less and less appetite in the prime minister’s office to do so.

So how do you deliver a tough first budget that avoids political pain? Easy. Simply announce cuts that don’t kick in for decades. Hockey’s solution to our “budget crisis” seems to revolve around increasing the age at which we become eligible for the age pension. The ALP kicked off eligibility changes with an increase from 65 to 67 years by 2023, but Hockey wants to push that up to 70.

But if we are in the middle of a budgetary crisis – and that is a big if – then increasing the age at which Generation X-ers can access the age pension will do nothing to help now.

Similarly, if Hockey really believes our current level of debt is too high, a belief which ignores historical and international comparison, then slightly decreasing the number of age pensioners in 15 years will do nothing to help today.

If the cost of the age pension really is ballooning, then the enormous and rapidly growing cost of tax concessions granted to superannuation contributions and earnings must surely be the Hindenburg.

According to Treasury, the annual cost to taxpayers of so-called “self-funded retirement” is $35 billion. Treasury also estimates that about 30 per cent of the benefit of those tax concessions goes to the top 5 per cent of income earners.

Indeed, the top 1 per cent of income earners gets three times as much benefit in the form of their superannuation tax concessions than they would have ever received from the age pension.

It gets worse. Low-income earners who are forced to put 9 per cent of their meagre incomes into superannuation will, under legislation introduced by the Abbott government, pay 15 per cent tax on their compulsory superannuation contributions despite the fact that ordinary incomes of up to $18,000 per year are tax free.

Although the phrase is overused, the Abbott government’s retirement income policy really will tax the poor to subsidise the wealthy.

Tax concessions for superannuation are not just the most inequitable form of entitlement, they are the fastest-growing source of pressure on the budget bottom line. While in the last few weeks we have heard about the unsustainability of the age pension, its rate of growth is 10 per cent, compared to growth in the cost of tax concessions of about 12 per cent per year.

The mantra of governments past and present is that the more we spend on tax concessions for super, the less we have to spend on the age pension.

But the mathematics reveal what the mantra conceals. Every $1 billion extra we spend on tax concessions for super saves less than $200 million off the age pension budget. It’s a massive net loss and the combined cost of the age pension and tax concessions for super is forecast to rise rapidly. If tax concessions really took pressure off the age pension then the combined cost should be flatlining.

The superannuation industry clips about $20 billion per year in fees from Australian workers and retirees, much of which funds the trailing commissions that the banks feel entitled to or is wasted on advertisements that drive up the cost of financial products while claiming to offer low fees.

If Hockey was serious about rapidly restoring the budget bottom line, there is no better place to look for savings than growth of $5 billion per year in the cost of superannuation tax concessions. In doing so, he would achieve the deficit cuts he so desperately wants and simultaneously slash the corporate and middle-class welfare he claims to loathe.

But such tough action would inevitably upset some powerful groups which, for a government that was behind in the polls less than six months after winning office, may well be a bridge too far.

It might not raise any money for decades but it’s much safer to wage war on the pensioners of the future.

Dr Richard Denniss is Executive Director of The Australia Institute, a Canberra-based think tank,

Target super tax concessions, not pensioners

the conservative thieves and their protection police...

Angus Taylor, Rhodes Scholar, Energy Minister and alleged fraudster extraordinaire, will not be standing down from his Ministry. He will not face the possibility of criminal charges, be reprimanded or need to defend his questionable behaviour – or that of his Department – in any way whatsoever.


Despite his alleged lying and cheating to discredit Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, there will be no consequences for Angus, since he will not even be investigated by the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Some have been quick to accuse the AFP of political bias after its decision not to pursue Taylorover the Sydney City Council forgeries.

Because of this, many appear to have decided the AFP is a politically compromised outfit — one that operates primarily to pursue the political agenda of the government of the day.

The truth, however, is much worse. In the opinion of Independent Australia, the AFP has been a politically compromised operation since its inception in 1978. And as for supporting the government of the day, there is ample evidence it mostly sides with the conservative side of Federal politics, even on the rare occasions the reactionaries may be in opposition.

Now, this might seem to be rather a big call, but the evidence is huge and growing and appears to us to be insurmountable.

First, let’s just look at the evidence of recent years.


The most obvious rebuttal of the notion the AFP is even-handed and does not favour one side of politics or the other comes during the Prime Ministership of Julia Gillard, from 2010 to 2013. At huge expense, Gillard’s controversial speaker, Peter Slipper, was prosecuted by the AFP in 2014 over a day trip to a few Canberra wineries costing the taxpayer the princely sum of $949.

The investigation and prosecution cost tens of millions of dollars, only to be almost immediately overturned on appeal.

His accuser, James Ashby, who at the request of the Liberal Party and the Murdoch press, stole Slipper’s personal diary in order to frame him, was subject to a lazy three-year “investigation” by the AFP before they announced they weren’t really interested. (You can read all about this scandal in the Ashbygate book by Ross Jones, and through IA’s extensive coverage of the Ashbygate affair.}

Moving forward into the bleak Coalition years since 2013, the bias of the AFP has become even more starkly apparent.

It is perhaps no coincidence former PM Tony Abbott bunked down in the AFP’s Canberra barracks, while the Lodge was being renovated, during his first mad year in office. The fact that former AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin and controversial Abbott and Morrison minister Stuart Robert were not only classmates at school, but were also in the Australian Defence Force Academy at exactly the same time, may also be relevant.


In terms of whistleblowers, the AFP has been eager to tromp their jackboots into the offices of the Labor Party, even in Parliament House, over alleged Labor leaks about the NBNInto the offices of the Australian Workers Union (AWU), after alerting the media, over a politically motivated attack on Bill Shorten by Michaelia Cash. Into the offices of the ABC over Afghanistan war leaks. Even into the home of journalist Annika Smethurst, over plans to even further increase the powers of Australia’s spy agencies.

On the other hand, the AFP refused to execute any raids on the offices of Michaelia Cash over the leaking from her office of the AFP raids on the AWU or pursue any charges.

Nor did they raid Peter Dutton’s office despite leaks that clearly came from it over the Medevac Bill or the scandalous au pair affair.

Now the AFP has decided not to investigate the Angus Taylor fraud because it says there was no evidence he ‘was involved in falsifying information’ and also,

... The low level of harm and the apology made by the [Minister] to the Lord Mayor of Sydney, along with the significant level of resources required to investigate were … factored into the decision not to pursue this matter.


Low harm and cost were never factored in when the AFP ruined the life of Peter Slipper.

In the end, the AFP is a part of the Dutton Ministry. Dutton himself is a former Queensland cop. The only solution is a Federal ICAC. Yesterday, the Coalition narrowly succeeded in preventing a Greens and Labor Party motion in the Lower House to establish a truly independent anti-corruption body.

When politicians vote against accountability, it is not difficult to deduce why.

This is only half the story!  Read the rest of this editorial in the IA members-only area. It takes less than a minute to subscribe to IA and costs as little as $5 a month, or $50 a year — a small sum for superb journalism and lots of extras.

You can follow managing editor Dave Donovan on Twitter @Davrosz. Follow Independent Australia on Twitter at @independentaus and on Facebook HERE.

Read more:


Read from top...