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Do you want Welfare with that?

Image from theland.com.au

Image from theland.com.au

It’s Kevin Heaven again!  Our Welfare Warrior is back in the game and planting the flag, or wrapping it around his svelte figure, in acts of true olde time patriotism.

Such is the great work that Kevin Andrews (Photo:Jason South) performs.  Ever ready to announce a merger for efficiency, or a crackdown on welfare dependents (aka dole bludgers); he is at the front lines in Tony Abbott’s war.  The ex-workers at Holden and SPC will no doubt be thrilled to hear that after years of government & management incompetence they will face a much harder test to qualify for any welfare spending in their attempt to find new work.

With this great charge toward tightening belts on the shrinking waistlines of those unable to pay taxes, let us make some further suggestions for other areas to conduct a similar campaign to clamp down on our ballooning budget crisis by confronting those who are merely unwilling.

Global Googly

Google Australia has paid no tax on roughly $940 million in advertising revenue. Instead of sacking hundreds of ATO workers and outsourcing tax compliance for big corporations to private accountants, why not task these apparently surplus staff to crack down on global tax avoidance.

Currently individuals and corporation have Trillions of dollars ferreted away in offshore havens and secretive jurisdictions.  Money earned in one country is claimed as profits in another; so that Australian companies signing up for Google advertising are actually giving their money to an Irish arm of the search giant, thus avoiding tax on revenue.

According to the Uniting Church they are not alone.  Several listed Australian companies including News Corporation, Qantas and the ‘Big Four’ banks have subsidiaries in secrecy jurisdictions where money earned can be quietly kept from the prying eyes of the tax man.

Some may laud Kerry Packer’s quote about minimizing tax, the problem with that approach is that health, education, roads, defence, and politicians cost money.  If corporations pay less tax, the rest of us have to pay more.

Sick System

The importance of manufacturing is bandied about a great deal, and if the Australian public were interested in the long-term macro-economic consequences of purchasing imported cars and groceries then perhaps Ford, Holden & SPC would still be viable businesses.  However the $6 billion in assistance meted out to the auto industry over four years pales in comparison to the $5 billion that Private Health insurers receive every year.

Unlike cars and tinned fruit, Australians do not have a choice about health insurance.  Not if they want to avoid paying the Lifetime Health Cover fee.  As a result 9.7 million adult Australians now pay for private health insurance, roughly 57.1% of the population.  The lowest premiums start at about $45 per month, and in 2014 some premiums are slated to increase up to $300 per year.  Almost all of these attract the 30% rebate from the Commonwealth tax coffers, resulting in billions of dollars in direct subsidies.

When one also compares the inefficient 14% of income that private insurers pay on administration to the 5% costs incurred by the public insurer MediBank, one could be forgiven for wondering if all those billions could be better spent directly into the health system rather than being filtered through the pockets of corporate insurers.

Ground Breaking

Then there are everyone’s favourite martyrs, the miners.  Direct contributions by the Commonwealth to mining companies in 2012 tallied up to about $492 million.  However, thanks to generous fuel tax concessions and tax write-offs real support payments reached $4.5 Billion.

Former Howard adviser, now Minerals Council spokesman Ben Mitchell argued;

“The fuel tax was imposed to build public roads. Mining builds its own roads and that’s why we get a credit on that.”

He also insists that the $550 million in deductions claimed for exploration and prospecting are not just a cost of business, but a business input that the tax-payer should refund to them.

Keep in mind that the billion dollar hand-outs from the Commonwealth do not include what is chipped in by the states.  Queensland tax payers are funding the mining industry to the tune of $1.4 billion per year.

Would these companies be less profitable without this tax-payer assistance?  Yes, though to echo the Prime Minister, perhaps they should “Get their house in order” so that public money can be spent on building infrastructure instead of funding corporate salaries.

For example, taking only the annual $9-10 billion per year doled out to private insurers and miners (ignoring the tax dollars not collected from multi-nationals) it would only take four years to pay the additional $30 billion needed to complete the full FTTP National Broadband Network.

Like rail, ports and roads before it, FTTP infrastructure would create a new highway for business to grow and replace the failing auto manufacturers, encourage growth in dying regional areas, reduce the cost of public service delivery, and build new markets and a stronger economy that Australia can transition to as traditional manufacturing and mining continue to fade as meaningful contributors to the economy and employment.

Mr Abbott has also quoted and paraphrased American right-wing shock-jock Rush Limbaugh’s quote “No country ever taxed itself to prosperity.” To which I would reply with the inestimable wisdom of another American, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization.”

26 comments

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  1. Richard

    The ghost of DR Hanif returns.

  2. rossleighbrisbane

    I can never work out why the Liberals who are so concerned about welfare blowouts, always block moves to increase super for the average wage earner. If Howard hadn’t stopped Keating’s plan to increase super to 12 per cent back in the nineties, image how much less would be being paid out in pensions, notwithstanding the GFC.

  3. abbienoiraude

    The ‘Untouchables’, the ‘aged pensioners’…aka those who get a ‘part pension’ due to their wealth. They tuck, cover and squeeze their way to the downward envy of the poor aged so they can have what they ‘paid their taxes for’. Why should just the poor, desperate, ailing aged get it? Why shouldn’t ‘we’ ( those how cover their tracks with investment wealth) get ‘it’ too since they are the same age! Why?
    Why should you. Because you were ‘clever enough’ to be born into the right family, at the right time, who gave you an education or at least the exposure ( female members) to wealthy providers to marry.

    You, who are so jealous of a few pence given to those for cheaper public transport, a discount on their meds, a discount on their rates ( IF they are lucky enough to own a house), a discount on their electricity ( does not even cover the GST!). Why are you so mean spirited when the ‘aged pension’ was orginally introduced to help those poor, desperate and with ill health in their last years to survive on a pittance.

    What a greedy, nasty lot we have become. “I want my share” scream the rich, the well off, the middle classes.
    And now it is spreading to those who ( through no fault of their own) found themselves ill enough to be placed on disability allowance.
    This is no time for jealousy, nor blame, no place for ‘you’ to be part of the ‘needy’. Be proud to not have to ‘draw a pension’. Be proud to still pay taxes, live within you ( quite comfy) means, and leave the poor, aged and ill alone!

  4. diannaart

    Thanks for writing this BUZZZTJ – may contribute when I am feeling better.

  5. JohnB

    Thanks Buzzzt for a much needed article exposing these nation destroying corporate tax thieves, pulling together revealing supporting data via your links.

    Corporate/business hypocrisy is shameless.
    They call for workers (and their customers) to tighten their belts and do more with less, while at the same time blatantly sponsor politicians to achieve reduced corporate taxes, more generous taxpayer funded business subsidies and concessions to minimise financial contribution to our nations social and industrial infrastructure. The want access to the nations relatively wealthy customers, but wont contribute or maintain their customers wealth base.

    They call themselves ‘job creators’, when in reality they use and implement whatever technology, machinery, accountancy scheme or other cheap offshore resource they can build or contrive to minimise their employment of local labour.
    Employing additional local labour is an absolute last resort, usually with minimum commitment to temporary employees.

    Citizens around the world must wake up to corporate tactics of national parasitism.
    Nations around the world are being cheated of their national wealth.

  6. helenmarg

    Another Christian at work.Ruined Dr Haneefs Career here. Fine man he is. Although you could not expect anything else from this lot,laughing stock of the rest of the world.

  7. Terry2

    Kevin Andrews is challenging Tony Abbott’s Paid Parental Leave Scheme if he is serious about clamping down on welfare payments and income support because the PPL is the is a doozy and will cost a bundle; whoever heard of the taxpayer funding the regular income of a worker who is off work on parental or any other leave.

    Abbott has frequently said, if it’s alright for a bloke to get paid his normal wage when on sick leave or annual holidays why not a new mum: agreed but these are workplace entitlements and as such are paid by the employer.

    You can expect a stoush when Tony gets back and hears about what Kevin has been up to.

  8. Carol Taylor

    Rossleight and,

    I can never work out why the Liberals who are so concerned about welfare blowouts..

    I am assuming that you mean lower class welfare and not the middle and upper class variety which the Liberals are so fond of. 😈

    Basically it’s all about perceptions and how these perceptions were changed during the Howard years. For example, old age pensioners are supposed to be the “deserving poor” who having worked hard all their lives were/are entitled to a dignified retirement but during the Howard years they became stupid old f*rts who had wasted their money and now didn’t have enough to live on..so a few stale bones were condescendingly thrown their way.

    On the other hand, “deserving” were/are the wealthy who having worked hard deserve their already privileged lifestyle, and this is to be *encouraged* by tax breaks/bonuses/avoidances and handouts.

  9. Carol Taylor

    Terry2, the Nats have already told Abbott (and this was well prior to the election) that the exhorbitant PPL will not be acceptable. After all how many members of Country Women’s earn over $150,000. Clearly the cream will all go to inner city managerial types and very little to the rest of the country.

  10. Marcus.

    Let’s be honest, 95% of those people who currently have private health insurance already *had* private health insurance prior to the 30% PHI rebate coming in. IMHO, the rebate should be completely scrapped, & the savings plunged back into our public health care system.

  11. diannaart

    Marcus

    No place for logic or rationality, not ever, this is Australia… I think, either that or I am having a very bad dream and will wake up… soon… like now… pleeeease….

  12. Mike 1

    I am sure that Kevin has a plan. It is a policy pre-election days. We are an Honest and open Govt. Yet no policy was announced, “unless it is written down, no policy of mine is the truth”, said Mr. Rabbitt. Kev has just learned to tell fibs. What a bunch of sorry Souls we have aboard the SS Abbott. “WE are sinking and it is all the fault of the Labor Govt. Good Luck Captain Tony.

  13. Mike 1

    Please, I mean this with no offense,can someone tell me where Abbott is ? I have not sighted him for a Month. I am in W.A., we don’t have Jones or his Ilk over here(Thank God). Where is Tone with his Budgie Bone ?

  14. Billy moir

    Why so negative? Kevin Andrews knows that only those with low paid jobs get welfare support. He is going to increase the minimum wage to remove the need for support. That only leaves those with part-time employment to centrelink income support. He is going to increase the number of jobs jobs jobs so these people can get another job and also send their wives out to work when the kids are at school. They will not need support so QED his xstian good works done, because his good catholic upbringing won’t let him allow honest low paid workers to suffer. (Except heathens, Protestants and atheists, not sure about Jews or Moslems)

  15. Bacchus

    “embarrass” you mongrel mobile piece of garbage 😀

  16. Matters not.

    Bacchus from your link:

    There is also a push for world leaders to find a way to stop businesses from avoiding tax by shifting profits between jurisdictions.

    Mike Callaghan believes Tony Abbott is right to make tax reform a focus of the November summit.

    However, he says change across a range of areas will only come if Australia can propose concrete agreements and practical solutions

    I can well remember Ted Wheelwright railing against this ‘transfer pricing’ years ago. Needless to say, this ‘rort’ has become much more complex these days. You can read about Ted here.

    http://sydney.edu.au/news/84.html?newsstoryid=1868

    Tony Abbott won an election based on sound bites – three or four word slogans or mantras – which resonated with the ‘punters’. While I’m appalled at this ‘dumbing down’, the fact is it works. The ALP need(s) to recognise this ‘reality’ and either do the same or explicitly draw attention to that tactic (by pointing it out on a regular and ongoing basis) or they can create a new ‘discourse’. – one that raises the level of ‘debate’.

    To date all I’ve seen is utter confusion re strategy.

    Anyone know who’s on the Shorten team?

  17. allenmcmahon

    Our foreign aid is being cut and the surplus is being used to cover the ever rising costs of keeping asylum seekers in concentration camps. With things the way they are could probably do with a fill up from our welfare budget. Andrew’s says that work is the best form of welfare so our disability pensioners could be offered jobs as guards in our offshore camps and that’s two problems solved.

  18. Anomander

    Abbott promised “No Surprises Government “and true to his word that’s exactly what his government is delivering.

    I’m not at all surprised he is attacking the poor.
    I’m not at all surprised he is handing money to his wealthy mates.
    I’m not at all surprised he is supporting his corporate backers over everyday Australian workers.
    I’m not at all surprised he is cutting into welfare.
    I’m not at all surprised he is undermining education.
    I’m not at all surprised he is disavowing science.
    I’m not at all surprised he is selling-off all our public assets.
    I’m not at all surprised he is destroying our environment.
    I’m not at all surprised he is telling lies and hiding facts.
    I’m not at all surprised he is promoting the ideals of religious zealots.
    I’m not at all surprised he is demeaning women.
    I’m not at all surprised he is denying climate change.
    I’m not at all surprised he is rorting money from the public purse for his own benefit.
    I’m not at all surprised he is cutting taxes for the wealthiest.
    I’m not at all surprised he is not supporting unionised workplaces
    I’m not at all surprised he is encouraging mining of even more fossil fuels.
    I’m not at all surprised he is overseeing a decline in employment.
    I’m not at all surprised he is launching attacks on workers rights.
    I’m not at all surprised he is splurging money of pointless inquiries.
    I’m not at all surprised he is destroying our country.

    Yep, definitely no surprises there!

  19. townsvilleblog

    Just a correction if I may. Once upon a time pensioners did not pay tax, those days are long gone as Howard bought in GST. We now contribute through our rates, phone bill, electricity bill etc. In reality this is a user pays system that keeps on giving to the government of the day. User pays, then pays again, we already survive on an income at or below the poverty line, why can’t the 1% of the population who are wealthy be asked to make a contribution to the country that they make their millions, billions from?

  20. cassilva48

    As an aside what amuses me is that when a person who has private insurance gets really ill, they use the public service hospital system. The analogy to being sick and having a baby is entirely flawed. Having a child has nothing to do with being ill and unable to work, most times, the decision to have a child is planned.

  21. cassilva48

    I am stuck with this Kevin Andrew as he is my elected member, but I would like to pose the question to him.
    DO YOU WANT TAXES? as you have taken them for 40 years of my life. You drop the taxes and we won’t need the pension. Fair swap I say!

  22. Pingback: No taxes here please! – Australia Awaken – ignite your torches

  23. Pingback: No taxes here please! - Australia Awaken - ignite your torches

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