Monday 11 April 2016
Malcolm Turnbull has, since he become Prime Minister, has used the word fair extensively. If you read the following quotes you would, I think, conclude that the man has a fair (pardon the pun) idea of the meaning of fairness. In fairness he is talking about tax reform but it’s fair to assume that his appreciation might extend to other areas.
His talk of tax reform and the fairness of it began soon after taking office and people were overwhelmed with his radical approach which seemed so unlike a conservative one.
Let’s take a look at what he was saying:
A Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declared fairness “absolutely critical” to future economic reform in Australia.
B “A reform package must, at the very least, raise the revenue we need, share the burden fairly across the community and do so in a way that incentivises employment, investment and innovation,” he told the audience.
C The Prime Minister said taxation reform must be fair, or it won’t be supported.
D Malcolm Turnbull: ‘burden of tax is best borne by those able to pay it’
E Malcolm Turnbull says the fairness test in his looming tax reform package will be whether people with more resources pay more than people with fewer resources.
F “Fair is obviously in the eye of the beholder, but fair, I think, for Australians, means that the burden of tax is best borne by those able to pay it,” the prime minister said.
G “We have an egalitarian tradition and I think the test of whether any set of measures is fair is whether people look at it and say, yep, that’s fair enough.”
H PM uses key speech to put fairness centre stage in economic approach
I “Fairness is absolutely critical,”
J Mr Turnbull told the Melbourne audience the Government’s overall goal is a “high wage, generous social welfare net, first world economy” where the burden would be shared.
K “The object of the taxation system is plainly to raise the revenue the government needs for its services it provides,” Mr Turnbull said. The Prime Minister said any reform package the government proposed would have to raise the revenue it needed, while sharing the burden fairly across the community.
L “Fairness is absolutely critical. Any package of reforms which is not and is not seen as fair will not and cannot achieve the public support without which it simply will not succeed,” Mr Turnbull said.
The familiar phrase “Everything is on the table” was bandied about but no sooner were they on than they were off. The only remaining reform possible is some tinkering at the edges of superannuation. And that might only be cosmetic.
Over five months the government has made such a mess of its economic policy that it has backed itself into a corner where its future will be judged on the fairness of its next budget.
Never in my lifetime of following politics has a government so unambiguously placed itself in a position where it will rely on a budget to determine its future. One that has to not only be fiscally tough, fair and responsible, reflecting a narrative for the future, but it must be popular at the same time.
Cutting spending is the answer according to Treasure Morrison. The big money is in the areas of social welfare, education, health and overseas aid. There is still social welfare money in the universally condemned and unfair budget of 2014. Education, health and overseas aid have already been hit for six so any further cuts will have to result in dramatic cuts to services.
They are proposing a cut in tax for business without consideration to cuts for the average citizen who pays PAYE tax.
And this all has to be done against a backdrop of the rich and privileged taking advantage of tax breaks either provided by government, obtained by unscrupulous means or simply paying none.
Large financial institutions who because of their importance to the economy are treating the public like gullible fodder to ever increase their obscene profits are under public scrutiny. Everywhere there is corruption, the Panama papers will soon name the 800 Australians allegedly evading tax, also in politics, in the banking and financial sectors, political donations, the misuse of parliamentary expenses, corporate bribery, but the Government seems only interested in addressing corruption that will enhance its prospects of re-election.
They say that regulators like ASIC have more power than a Royal Commission, that our banks are the most regulated in the world but cannot explain how if that is the case, scandals keep on keeping on.
I wonder if the banks would pass his fairness test on credit card rates for example or fines for being overdrawn.
“The critical thing here is that the high standards of putting the customer first, of ensuring that the trust of the community is justified,” Turnbull said. “That requires leadership from senior bank managers and they are providing that leadership and they will provide more. We have a strong regulatory structure to do that.”
The word unfairness has struck a lingering chord with the electorate. An electorate that applies the pub test to everything. Now they have Malcolm’s fairness test. They are now asking questions. Why does the Treasurer and the Prime Minister lie so much about the economy?
Why are they so unable to tackle tax reform in a way that is fair and equal for all Australians? It’s simple really. All of the taxes where a substantial difference could be made happen to be in areas where the rich and privileged are advantaged with taxpayers funds.
Morrison is now faced with presenting a third Coalition budget while at the same time major cost savings from 2014 have not passed the senate. It would not surprise if he has the gall to carry over the savings. Surely that must be fiddling the books.
The problem for Morrison is that ideology forbids the raising of new taxes or for that matter taking away taxpayer funded subsidies already handed out. It is anathema to them. And of course further cuts to health, education and welfare would be unpalatable by the electorate.
Turnbull’s grandiose talk, when attaining power about tax reform has petered out to nothing.
This budget will be judged on its fairness. The only way that can be achieved is, well let me quote Turnbull.
“A reform package must, at the very least, raise the revenue we need, share the burden fairly across the community and do so in a way that incentivizes employment, investment and innovation,”
I don’t believe for one moment they can deliver a budget that is good for the country without putting their instincts for survival first.
My thought for the day:
“In the recipe of good leadership there are many ingredients. Popularity is but one. It however ranks far below getting things done for the common good.”
PS. Interesting comment from a Facebook friend Lee Mullin to my thought for the day, yesterday.
“We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?”
“The ruling class decided to make it illegal not to vote. This legitimised their authority. The ruling class took us into wars, sold our assets we worked and paid for, manipulated information to maintain power, lied about intentions, destroyed the working environment, handed bankers enormous control over money production, distribution and supply, and, as if to say a final “get stuffed”, taxed us for their own benefit and created systems that allowed them to steal by avoiding their own tax liabilities. Would anyone willingly vote for such an appalling structure they choose to call democracy?”
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