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Day to Day Politics; No Tax Twiggy.

Friday 26 May 2017

1 Philanthropy is a virtuous thing and when given without accompanying issues of dishonesty, either true or perceived, the giver gives with a pure heart.

Therefore, because Forrest and Fortescue Metals Group have demonstrated an aversion to paying tax his donation is tainted with a feeling that he is only giving back what he has taken from the Australian taxpayer.

FMG officials told a Senate hearing in 2011 that the company had never paid company tax (but had paid $450m to $500m per year in mining royalties).

And of course his company has received enormous amounts of subsidies from the Australian Taxpayer to help him make his fortune.

Forgive me if I’m sounding a little cynical. I don’t mean to be because Twiggy Forests donation of $400 million (tax-deductible) to various institutions is a good thing. As to whether all the public clapping and government enthusiasm was necessary, is another. If given without all the fanfare then it is blessed with the grace of rightousness.

You might remember that in 2013 Twiggy was so averse to paying tax that he challenged the mining tax in the High Court and lost. It was pointed out in 2015 that FMG generated $9.1bn in sales on a taxable income of $208m, and paid just $13.2m in tax, which was less than the Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory.

Hearing the Prime Minister and hangers-on like Russell Crowe and Jack Thompson making the announcing $75m for early childhood development, $50m for regional communities, $75m for higher education, $75m for cancer research, and so on grated with me to the point where I questioned the need for all the glitz.

It lacked the dignity that a true philanthropic gift should have and in knowing that the donation may have been given with the best of intention, it will always be tainted with the fact that the person took willingly from the public purse and didn’t like to pay taxes.

An observation.

”I never judge people but I do form my own opinions of course.”

2 Peter Dutton: Q&A a waste of taxpayers’ money but punting Abdel-Magied a start Immigration minister Peter Dutton says the ABC’s Q&A show is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

He took issue with the show, its direction and its effect on his blood pressure.

I think there is a fundamental problem with the ABC, particularly around Q&A, the composition of the audience, the selection of these people on the panel, the direction given it by Tony Jones, so you’re right, you’ve raised my blood pressure and I don’t watch it and honestly it is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Asked by RayHadley about“punting” Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Dutton says:

Good. That’s a start. One down and many to go.

It’s an ongoing fascination with me as to how people opine about things the haven’t seen.

An observation.

”There are three kinds of people. Those who know. Those who know when they are shown, and those who have no interest in knowing”

3 On this day last year I wrote:

There are no winners in this election. If the Polls are correct there can’t be. The latest Newspoll has the major parties too close to separate. In the House of Representatives the most likely outcome is a Coalition win with a greatly reduced majority. Labor could win by a whisker or we could have another hung parliament.

If the Coalition win with a small margin Malcolm Turnbull will also have lost and still be captive to those in his party who have destroyed old Liberalism and become neo conservatives. He would have had a victory of dubious legitimacy.

At present he has a 30-seat majority of which he stands to lose most. Abbott won it and Turnbull goes into this election with Abbott’s policies and he is delivering them with the same Abbott mendaciousness.

If Shorten wins narrowly he could govern, but he could never claim a mandate. If the Greens or Xenophen hold the balance of power, well who knows? But the country is the loser.

So given that Turnbull scrapes in both he and the country lose because he will still be beholding to those elements of his party who adhere to the policies so inappropriate for our future. Policies that are born of discredited neo conservative unfairness, inequality and voodoo economics.

Policies that Turnbull won’t believe in. He would lead a party internally hostile toward him with Abbott waiting in the wings for the opportune time to challenge even though his first crack at the leadership was a dismal failure.

Or as they look to the next election they might even turn to Scott Morrison.

Even though Labor could win with a very small majority it is hard to see them winning the necessary seats. 23 seats is a big mountain to climb.

At best if the result was drawn it could form a minority government as was the case in 2010. Although one has to say that it was effective, despite opinions to the contrary. The Greens have high expectations of forming Government with Labor and even wanting a minister and when push comes to shove Labor would not refuse a Coalition, however, at this stage that is very much crystal balling.

The Senate is wading into deep water and with the new voting system it is impossible to predict anything. We could even end up with a Senate not much different to the last. The fact that voters will now be, in the main, making up their own minds means we are headed into a fog of unknown concentration.

There is still much water to flow under the proverbial bridge. Another five weeks of it, actually.

My thought for the day.

”We can learn so much from people we disagree with that it is a wonder we don’t do it more often”


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  1. leighton8

    “I will decide when I pay taxes for the commonweal, and I will decide what I pay my money for.” Carried to its extreme, by everyone, the whole structure of society would revert to something as bad as the Medieval feudal period (if not worse).

  2. Arthur Tarry

    The Paul Ramsay Foundation was established without the media fanfare of the Forrest gift to the nation. An interesting comparison!

  3. kerri

    Good article from Kristina Keneally on Twiggy’s philanthropy.
    I have heard a rumour that Twiggy was misrepresented in the cashless welfare card fiasco and had tried to backpeddle so as not to be associated with it. If this is true it makes his philanthropy even more calculated but I personally doubt that he has any shame for the financial abuse perpetrated on the needy.
    John your thought for the day?
    There are people who simply don’t want to learn! Many of them are older. Most of them are right wing. And nearly all are insecure and need to believe in their self righteousness without question.
    My head floods with examples but I am sure you can think of many quite easily yourself.

  4. wam

    Twiggy is one of the phoolanthropics. Bleating aid to Aborigines but making millions from patronising their misery and paying no medicare levy.
    Why is it too difficult to put the medicare levy on gross income as declared to the ATO?
    As for labor, diludbransim coalition, it has the same chance as the nats exerting independence.
    Loved the ‘it’ in your thought, Lord, it made me think.

  5. Halfbreeder

    forrests charity shows these mining companies do not need tax concessions. if owners of these mining companies can acculate that much dividend from them so as to be able to give away 400 mill its shows they generate sufficient revenue to go without tax concessions. Further, the gift by forrest is tax deductible. Re the cashless welfare card it is somewhat true that forrest has said to senate enquires that the card is to costly to implement and unsustainable.

  6. Mark Needham

    Regarding Twiggy Forrest.

    You really can not give a bloke a go, can you. You really are, just being a nasty man. Like a gossiping bunch of sheilas….ah……it’s all bullshit, and I suppose it really doesn’t matter.

    Now, taxation. As someone said it before, “If you do not like the way Companies and Individuals, legally minimise their tax, then change the bloody legislation. It is that easy”

    Don’t whinge about it, change it. Both sides of the political spectrum, have had their moments in history to do exactly that. Both parties have seemed to have Declined to do so.

    Do not pick on the man, but get up your Party, give it to them. Don’t blame someone else for not doing it. You, Yes, You, are part of the problem….!
    Again, unbelievable,
    Mark Needham

  7. kerri

    So by your theory Mark Needham, if Hitler had made a big donation say to the Avi Chai Foundation he would be a good bloke??
    And by the way raising discussion like this is pretty much all we can do until the next election. If you consider it nasty gossip to point out a political act disguised as philanthropy then you are a far bigger part of the problem than John is with his daily blog.

  8. helvityni

    Why not make sure that everybody pays their taxes; why should the biggest earners be given all the tax breaks.

    Then use the collected revenue wisely, towards improving schools, healthcare, creating affordable housing, fixing roads, rails etc….

    It’s useless to wait some tax-avoiders all of the sudden to feel a surge of LOVE towards the humanity…

    You can fool some people some of the time…and some of us NEVER. 🙂

  9. Mark Needham

    kerri “”Hitler had made a big donation say to the Avi Chai Foundation he would be a good bloke??””

    That’s a comment, gibberish stuff, that sheilas make, over the back fence, gossipping about shite.

    Not interested,
    Mark Needham

  10. Athena

    Poor Mark Needham. Someone pissed in his weeties again.

    My first thought when I saw all the fanfare on tv re: Twiggy. It’s probably small bickies compared to what he has saved as a tax dodger and one of Australia’s biggest leaners and it will be tax deductable. Yawn.

  11. stephengb2014

    That there was any fanfare at all means the $400 mill is a good investment.


    needham u r a dim wit. forrest only accumulated the 400 mill through tax dodging and at the expense of the public in the first place. if he doesnt pay his share of tax others make up for it. the burden of taxation on others increases when leeners like forrest fail to pay tax. the gift of 400 mill is a tax deduction so he wont be paying it. for him its a zero sum game – what he gives he deducts from his taxable income. its the people of aust who really pay for this donation via forrests failure to pay tax and by his deducting this amount from the tax he should have paid. get a brain needham. who cares if its not illegal, its still immoral and that shows just how much the law and those that make them are out of touch will morality and common decency and forrest is a moral vacuum and no one elected him to decide where tax dollars are spent.

  13. Kronomex

    There’s the magic words “tax-deductible” that make me think that Forrest isn’t entirely such a philanthropist. For someone who’s made a career of dodging tax to suddenly becoming a wonderful person has a certain stink about it.

    Captain Disgusto, in real life not very mild and mannered Dutton, rears his ugly head again. As usual he whines and bleats to Hadley, Jones and Fox because he’s a political coward.

    Then there’s little piece about ten pages into the AFR –
    Gosh, I wonder who’ll buy all those lovely assets if it goes ahead? Surely not The Donalds billionaire mates helping him run/ruin the country, they’re pure as the driven snow.


    …and turnbull is just full of shite. he does know his ass from his face. he was blithering on about how the US & Aus fought together to defeat the janeese in ww2 at the coral sea. has he not heard of the battle on milne bay where aus militia and later official aus and usa reinforcements inflicted the first ever defeat upon the japanese imperial forces of WW2? That victory preceeded the coral sea battles and fended off the first japanese attempt to invade New Guinea. one would expect a prime minister to have a better understanding of the history of the country he leads.

  15. Mark Needham

    Twiggy sits on his money and gives nought, then he is a Pig.
    When he donates it, he is a Pig.

    You all seem to have missed the point, that Gillard and Rudd, both had a chance to change the Tax Laws.
    Howard, Turnbull, have a chance Nah, not a chance.
    They did not, but they are good.

    We are being played as the fools that we are.
    Mark Needham

    PS. Kerry Packer some time back, told these idiots what to do., he all but Challenged them, nay dared them.

  16. Terry2

    I see Margaret Court has said to Alan Joyce and Qantas :

    “Your statement leaves me no option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive travelling.”

    She is referring to Joyce/Qantas support for marriage equality but note, she says where possible so she will still fly Qantas when there are no other flights available ; that is not a principled position to take, it’s a bit wishy-washy if you ask me. I say the same thing about Jetstar but mainly because they are a crap airline.

  17. Athena

    @Terry2 – You left out the part where Margaret Court said she loves everyone.

  18. Dagney J. Taggart

    Mr/Ms?Mx Majour Parties, as much as I enjoy reading your balanced and thoughtful contributions to this subject, I feel that I must point out that the Battle of the Coral Sea occurred in May 1942 whereas the Battle of Milne Bay occurred in Aug/Sep 1942. While it is true that both battles involved US and Australian forces, and both were victories, the Battle of the Coral Sea was the first such defeat of Imperial Japan.

    On the issue of taxation and donations, who here refuses any tax refunds they might be owed when they submit tax returns? Who offers more money to the ATO? Who, after making a donation to charity, deliberately declines to claim it on their tax returns?

    If people like Twiggy have broken the law and avoided paying tax legally owed then the Government by all means should pursue and prosecute them. Otherwise, change the laws.

  19. helvityni

    …all of a sudden there’s LOVE in the air, it’s coming from most unexpected corners, from sporting fields, from mining magnates, our PM is gushing with gratitude…

    In Taiwan same sex marriage is now legal, here in Oz men can LOVE men , but the marriage is still out of bounds for them…Why?

  20. Darren

    We need to stop the government and mining companies alike from trying to masquerade mining royalties as tax. They are not tax. They are the price they must pay to us, the owners of the ore they mine, for that ore. Just because the royalty is paid to a government does not make it a tax.

  21. Mark Needham

    Ah well.
    Mark Needham

  22. kerri

    Mark Needham? You criticise us for “not giving a bloke a go” and yet you very quickly turn to belittling my gender as a means of slapping down my comments!!! Assuming, along the way that I am a female!
    Pehaps you need to take your commentary elswhere. This is clearly not a forum for your form of mateship.

  23. totaram

    Since no one has made it explicit, let me do so: Twiggy didn’t pay much tax because he was in a position to ensure that he could legally pay less. Everybody got it? He and his mining mates spent millions agitating against the MRRT and managed to scare the Labor govt. of the day into backing off. So saying “change the law if you don’t like it” is not as simple as it looks. These people have the clout to ensure they pay less tax, and then claim they are doing it all “legally”. Anybody with half a brain (except Mark Needham) can figure that out, but then that is what you expect from the Mark Needhams of the day.

  24. Athena

    @Dagney J. Taggart, i don’t claim my charitable donations on my tax returns. I never donate to minimise my tax and I never require a fanfare to advertise my donating to the entire nation. Who amongst our 50 wealthiest Australians considers like Warren Buffet, that it isn’t fair for the working class to be paying more income tax than them?

  25. Matters Not

    Unfortunately, modern day politics often proceeds via sound bites or slogans if you like. Some times they ‘work’ and sometimes they don’t. Take ‘jobs and growth’ as an example. It didn’t work. Abandoned within 12 months.

    Yet, some do resonate – and in the long term. One of the best known examples is Nike’s – JUST DO IT!. Only three words but well remembered. Then there’s – COKE IS IT! which set the standard that all message professionals now try to emulate. You might note that both of the examples provided used the pronoun ‘IT’ without ever providing a noun to which reference might be made. Nevertheless they worked.

    Labor had a beautiful three word slogan NEEDS BASED EDUCATION – just three words and there was the potential to flesh out that slogan by defining it at both the theoretical and practical level by outlining a program for action.. Gonski even told how that should be done. But no.

    Now we have the same three word slogan NEEDS BASED EDUCATION but it’s been appropriated by Turnbull et al. And for them it works. Anyone who watched Question Time in the last week can attest to that.

  26. Mark Needham

    totaram May 26, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    That’s the point ” managed to scare the Labor govt. of the day into backing off.”
    No guts No Glory.
    Julia had ’em by the balls, but she didn’t know how to squeeze. Look, I am by nature, in my own mind, “The funniest Bloke on the Earth”.
    But, I am a realist, I know, that really I am NOT. Even me Missus, reckons I am a Tosser, ‘;n she should know….!
    But one of our Prime Ministers, didn’t have the guts, to nail these Mining Companies to the wall. Let ’em make a quid, but not obscene dollars that they are. For christs sake, enough is enough.

    C’mon, all this bullshite, you’re an A hole, ‘n stuff . Of course I am, born in Australia.

    kerri May 26, 2017 at 5:48 pm
    Mark Needham? You criticise us for “not giving a bloke a go” and yet you very quickly turn to belittling my gender as a means of slapping down my comments!!! Assuming, along the way that I am a female!”””””

    Mate., I’m a bloke, here in amongst some people who do not wish me well. I am on the attack, bugger me, of course I am. A cheap shot, in advance, to ward of the evil of all replies, is second nature.

    I really wish, that the written word was not so ….In your Face….as it always seems to be. I have said before, that given the opportunity, that in a Face to face situation, I reckon that 99% of the people who give me a hard time, ( and that I have cast aspersions upon) would be nice, even if only being diplomatic, but……..I am not the A..hole that you all seem to think I am.

    Some of the Conversations that I have with my Wife, Margie, are more vicious than the ones we have here.. But we respect each others decision to be Wrong. Thing is, that I do not stoop to….
    1. Anybody with half a brain (except Mark
    2. Someone pissed in his weeties again.
    3. bugger…looking for more, but that was the end of the bitey stuff. See, It is not that bad, hey!
    4. sheilas ( I like to throw this one in, as I know some do not like the word) just being a bastard, hey.)

    Finally, PLEASE, change the Taxation laws, and start to give these bastards a shake up. I will vote for whoever, at the next election, makes it their #1 priority.
    ADANI, bugger off.
    Mark Needham

  27. Jack Straw

    Philanthropy is a crock of shit.It’s an American style rich man’s wet dream.Superman comes to the rescue and gives to the poor.Just pay your taxes Rich people.And it’s about time the Churches started paying some tax.10% would be a good start.

  28. helvityni

    MN, nothing that the Liberals say or do works with me, they are not sincere, they can shout their three word slogans ad nauseam still not working…

    Shouting slogans is not governing, see what the ‘successful’ Coke ad has done, it has made money for its makers, and made drinkers of it obese.. some achievement.. not to talk about the health problems….it will cost us plenty…

  29. Matters Not

    helvityni – slogans do work – particularly for the vast majority of citizens who are not really interested in politics. Sad but true.

    And if you don’t like ‘shouting’ slogans perhaps a bit of singing is more to your liking.

    Slogans can capture the mood of the times. And that slogan did. With good effect. Still works?

  30. will

    I’m with jack straw! Short and to the point.

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