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Rupert Murdoch, where’s the outrage?

You may recall that one of the fabricated fears planted in people’s’ minds before the last election was that a Labor Government would raise the GST. Those of us who remember the perceived threat may also remember the public outcry expressed by readers who left comments on popular sites like Rupert Murdoch’s

Someone, somewhere, dreamt up that Gillard would raise the GST, the papers ran with it, and public outrage followed. Now who would have raised such an idea? Given the negative aspects and the timing of the alleged threat I’m sure the Liberal camp might have had a small bit to play in it. I’m sure they might have been a little bit bemused that there were genuine calls to have it raised, with many of the callers being the end of town that party with the Liberals party.

The calls became more vociferous leading up to the Tax Summit.

But you may ask: “Why should we raise such a repressive tax?” Well, there were a number of reasons mooted at the time. Independent MP Tony Windsor started off with the most simplest of these.

Tony Windsor has suggested the GST should rise by 1 percentage point to allow 115 “inefficient” taxes to be eradicated.

Mr Windsor and fellow crossbencher Tony Crook . . . called for the GST to be examined . . . following Treasury warnings that the tax has become increasingly inefficient.

Mr Windsor’s suggestion was in the wake Treasury’s executive director of revenue Rob Heferen’s statement that the GST was costing more to collect than other taxes and was “less than robust” because of increased spending on tax-free items.

The OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration highlighted the “practical reality” of an increase, being that it was essential to achieve many of the reforms recommended by the government’s tax review (The Henry Review) of 2009.

“There would seem to be a fairly compelling logic to GST base broadening and a slightly higher rate (eg 12.5 per cent) as a means of rationalising the major state taxes and compensating low-income citizens who would otherwise be unfairly impacted by GST expansion,” said the centre’s senior adviser Richard Highfield.

Viewing the current tax system as unfair and inefficient, accounting bodies also put their weight behind the call. Among them, CPA Australia suggest that:

. . . increasing the GST to 15 or 20 per cent, accompanied by cuts to business and personal tax rates, would improve the economy and raise the standard of living. “Our research helps demystify concerns that an increase in GST would hurt Australians,” CPA Australia chief executive Alex Malley said.

But the sharpest call and strongest argument comes from the big end of town; the business groups with the Australian Industry Group leading the call.

The Australian Industry Group is urging an increase in the rate of the GST – or a broadening of its application to more goods and services – as a way to pay for the removal of inefficient state taxes.

The Ai Group – whose chief executive Heather Ridout was involved in the Henry tax review – says the states and territories have among the most inefficient and poorly designed of all Australia’s taxes.

Ideally, the group says, insurance taxes and conveyancing duties would be removed and payroll tax remodelled or removed. Land tax could be improved substantially.

Compliance costs could be reduced by harmonising remaining state taxes, and economies of scale exploited by using the Australian Taxation Office to collect state revenue.

A more broadly based or higher GST should finance the removal of as many existing state taxes as possible, it says.

I found it rather interesting, that during the scare campaign the Murdoch media, in particular, were wheeling out all sorts of experts calling for the increase. In the minds of the readers raising the GST would be a good thing and Labor would fall prey to this meme.

In numerous media releases leading up to the tax summit the Government clearly ruled out the increase, or that it will be tabled for discussion. To do so would have been political suicide. It may have also been seen as an easy solution to return to surplus, even though it clearly would not have been for that purpose. It was a mute point that the Government had been widely criticized for not heeding many of the recommendations of the Henry Review, namely from those critics who sit on the opposition benches.

I was opposed to the introduction of the GST and the manner in which the Howard Government hoisted it upon us, as many people were. But it is with us, and despite its obvious flaws it nonetheless could unwittingly be the vehicle that will be used to overhaul the inequalities of the current tax system. However, this was unlikely to happen because of the negativity around the GST during the last election campaign and the Government’s reluctance to pursue the matter, particularly as it is in the minds of the electorate that the Labor Government has been painted as the party most likely to raise the GST if it ever were to be raised.

Fast forward to 2013 and Tony Abbott’s budget reply speech and this widely unpublicised comment:

We will finish the job that the Henry review started and this government squibbed.

Now, didn’t the Henry Review recommend an increase in the GST? Rupert, your papers were in a frenzy the last time an increase was put in the public sphere and the outrage against the Gillard Government was carefully nurtured.

Where is the outrage now?

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  1. Roswell

    I’m outraged at his lack of outrage.

  2. Fed up

    One could say that the GST is another failed policy of Howard and Costello, one that has not delivered.

    It is a pity, thanks to the political climate we have today, that Labor cannot say, yes there are great big problems and we will launch an enquiry into the GST. All we will get from Abbott and the MSM, is that the PM intends to increase it.

    Yes, there are great problems with the relationship between the federal government and the states. It surprised me that Abbott has raised this, especially as it goes against his previous beliefs of Centralism.

    The way Ii see it, the states have responsibility for most essential services. What they do not have, is the ability to raise the money to pay for them.

    The federal does not have responsibility, but controls the purse strings, which they used, to force their own beliefs onto the states.

    This is not what the foundation father’s seen as they way to go.The states need to be able to raise the money, and be responsible for what they spend. It will be up to the voter to judged their actions.

    We seriously have to look at handing personal taxing powers back to the states, as this is the only way for the states to have access to a progressive tax system. All the states taxing powers are all of regressive nature.

    It is a furthy that the GST is not on food. Yes fresh food is exempt, but look at the trolley at any checkout, and one will see very little fresh food in it.

    Yes, we should be assessing the GST, along with many other of Howard’s changes such as the dismantling of the CES. This cannot occur in this country. That is sad, more than sad, it is dangerous.

    States needs to be able to raise the money they need for what they are responsible for. They also need to be accountable for how and the amount they raise. This is not the way it is now.

  3. Joy Cooper

    Yes, indeedy, Roswell & Migs. Do believe Alan Jones has depleted the world’s stocks of outrage & used it all up with his insane lecture to timid mouse, wouldn’t-say-boo-to-a-goose, Joe Hockey this week.

    Jones, I demand you give us back our outrage or at the very least let Murdoch have some to give to his hypocritical LTDNews to use.

  4. silkworm

    All the states taxing powers are all of regressive nature.

    Not true. Land value tax is the most progressive tax of all. The most heavily taxed land is the Sydney CBD, where it is paid by the country’s largest and most profitable companies, in particular, the banks. If any tax is to be raised, it is this one.

  5. Fed up

    Sorry Silkworm, that was amiss of me. Should not have said all

  6. Truth Seeker

    Good question Migs, sadly the outrage is only evident when it is not going the way that he wants, and that is why, IMHO, that he wants the NBN so bad, cos that’s his only hope of having some control over us, his main competition! 😀

    On an unrelated topic, I have just posted “Abbott and Milne… When Blue and Green will never be seen.” 😀

    Abbott and Milne… When Blue and Green will never be seen!

    Cheers 😀

  7. Ray Borradale

    There will be no difference between a Labor or Liberal end result unless there is weight of independent voices in Parliament.

    Labor and Liberal have shown that the senior members of Parliament are the only ones to have any real influence. Their loyalty is to the party straight after they line their pockets. The premise that independent votes will necessarily go to Labor has absolutely no basis.

    The facts are undeniable; we have been exchanging one corrupt government for another and for decades. If the Australian electorate doesn’t do something we will get the same lack of transparency and another unaccountable government.

    Ask yourself why hasn’t Australia given effective protection for whistle-blowers? Why do we not have a meaningful register for lobbyist activities?

    We are headed for hell under whoever wins the next election unless we have meaningful independent voices. People are becoming more informed as to the smoke and mirrors from governments and while It may not happen this election; we will see a big swing away from Labor and Liberal.

    Vote Independent and make Labor and Liberal the last on the ballot. Yes it is a gamble between one hell or another if there are not enough numbers but a Labor or Liberal end result will be much the same. Believing that we can force a government to put in place measures to stop corruption without independent weight is naive.

    Does anyone seriously believe that our governments have not been corrupt? Corruption around the world is the highest cost to economies and it is corruption that drives up the cost of living while strangling a balance between wages and cost of living. If you want better for your children and grand-children it is this era of voters that must make a start and demand an end to the status quo of corrupt Australian governments.

  8. Roswell

    Strike me down, but I see some sense in what Ray says. I don’t agree with every word and I’d question how deep the corruption is and who might be the master is, but it is food for thought.

  9. Fed up

    It appears the taxation office is getting 500 more staff. Wonder who they are going after.

    Could they be concerned about t6he many holes that exist in Howard’s GST. Are they concerned why the black money market is so great.

    A problem that GST was to fix.

    Hands up from anyone who has not received a discount when paying the plumber, electrician….with cash.

  10. Fed up

    Albanese did a good job on Bolt. Rest of the programme in the gutter as usual.

    Much say, Michael Costa shows his true colours, wonder if the money worth it. Never liked the man.

    Comments on that pairing fracas, disgraceful. Then when does that surprise one.

    Costello in with his usual misleading spin.

  11. PeterF

    But surely, there will never ever be a change to the GST !

  12. Steve

    “moot point” not “mute point”, though perhaps in Murdoch’s case, mute is the right word

  13. diannaart

    The “damned if they do and damned if they don’t” campaign has been and continues to be a successful strategy implemented by the LNP/IPA/Murdocracy against Labor.

    Yes, it is a conspiracy when sufficient of like-minds happen to have the same goals which include the decimation of the Labor Party. They don’t have to particularly like or even respect each other – they simply require a common ‘enemy’.

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