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That’s not how the system works.

Franklin D Roosevelt once said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Not true, not anymore.

Occasionally we come across watershed moments in our lives where reality bites, where it opens our eyes to what is really happening, in a way that sticks.

Such moments open our eyes to the failings of our system, the system our politicians advocate. Such was the case on Q&A this week.

I don’t think Kelly O Dwyer has anything to fear. She holds a safe Liberal seat where some of the more affluent, highly taxed employees of our major corporations live.

Perhaps there are small business owners in her electorate who spend $6000 on toasters. Such toasters do exist. I’ve seen them in hotels at breakfast when travelling overseas.

I suspect that Innes Willox, Chief Executive of Australian Industry Group has little to fear. He says the low paid don’t pay much tax. Well, they don’t; not when you compare their tax to the tax someone on more than $80,000 pays. Innes says that “not everyone can win out of the budget every time. That’s not how the system works.”

He hit the nail on the head there. It’s the system we should be talking about, not just what it is doing to us.


His comments were in response to a young man on Q&A, who had the temerity to suggest that those on high incomes would hardly notice their tax cut, but that if he, as a low paid worker, received a tax cut, it would change his life.

It reminded me of the scene in the movie, ‘Oliver’ where Oliver, desperate with hunger, walks up to the master and says, ‘Please Sir. I want some more.’

Willox’s concern was that the current corporate tax rate in Australia was the second highest in the OECD world.

Should we be concerned that the corporate tax rate is more important than a low paid worker with a disability being able to take his little girls to the pictures one weekend? Or should we be more concerned about the Turnbull government’s $29 billion cut to Education over the next 10 years?

The agony of choice; tax cuts to companies and those earning above $80,000 a year, or providing a better education for a young man’s daughters. Tax cuts versus education? Which to choose? It is clear which alternative the Turnbull government prefers.

That we should even be debating such a choice, highlights how corrupted our system is, how corrupted is a government that would put corporate tax cuts ahead of our childrens’ education.

Malcolm Turnbull is making the wrong choices for Australia’s future. He wants big business to have a tax cut and he wants to cut funding from every school in the country. That demonstrates a corrupted system in ways that should shock us all.

There is not a scintilla of evidence to show that corporate tax cuts stimulate growth. There is, however, a mountain of evidence to show that putting more money into the hands of the low paid will generate economic activity.

The entire issue of winners and losers in a fiat currency nation is itself, appalling. We can provide incentives for business and educate our children without having to compromise. We can implement a state of the art health system. We can provide proper care for the elderly. We can employ every person who wants to be employed.


We can spend the money to make these things happen, without causing inflation, without borrowing, without threatening the value of our currency. We can do all this if we wanted to, if we cared enough.

But that’s not how the system works.

The System is the problem. We need to make the system work for us, rather than against us. We have much to fear but it is not fear itself. It is loss of control. The choices we face in the coming election should be about regaining control, taking back what is ours.

Our democracy is skin deep. We have surrendered our rights to a plutocracy that now controls our daily lives. It is more evident than ever. It was made clear in the responses by Kelly O Dwyer and Innes Willox to the young man’s question on Q&A.

We need to fix the system.


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  1. Cynthia Mitchell

    When Kelly O Dwyer’s reply included that their proposal was to “increase the pie” ; I roared laughing at a tweet which inferred that the “pie” wasn’t meant for the likes of Duncan.

  2. Jack Russell

    I think Labor, more than anyone, know exactly what they have to do (and undo) for the benefit of our country and it’s people.

    If this election gives them the win, and they can govern in their own right, then it will be done. If they lose it will be a disaster for the party, the people, and this country.

    Another LNP term will destroy the very foundations upon which a fair progressive society can exist.

  3. Bozo

    I also thought O’Dwyer got a little lost when she claimed the LNP wanted to grow the pie, but Labor just wanted to make ever smaller pieces to the pie. As if that was a bad thing. For a moment there she was lost for words.

    I thought about growing the pie, and making the pieces more equal. Wouldn’t that be the best scenario?

  4. PeterStevenson

    Kelly O’Dwyer did not state the latest facts on the credit rating she only says what she wants you to know. Australia got the AAA credit rating from all three agencies Fitch ,S&P and Moody’s for the very first time under the Gillard Govt. in November 2011.I can’t understand why she was not challenged on this point.

  5. King1394

    Duncan brought up the GST. The Liberals don’t appear to see that 10% on most things we buy is a huge impost when you don’t have much money / income to start with. And it is there on your electricity bill, your car repair, your insurance premium, and the shoes for your children. Very difficult to avoid. But what a fabulous system for government as it increases its takings with every price increase,

  6. Andreas

    Those stinking neoliberal bastards that control the Coalition and the ALP have been shrinking the pie and allowing a tiny rich elite to carve out an ever bigger 90%+ slice of the nations economic pie, by fair means or foul, for at least the last 30 years.

    We must unwind the cancer of neoliberalism and I think the Greens and some of the new progressive parties currently offer our best chance for that.


  7. Kaye Lee


    It is also worth remembering that businesses claim back the GST they pay so they win there too.

  8. kerri

    It is so inspiring to see the discussion Duncan Storrar has ignited with his plain and simple truths.
    He claims to have not had a good education but he sees reality way better than those on the panel.
    The response of the neo con panel members was staggering!
    Kelly O’Dwyer, desperate to stay on message and answer the question she wished she had been asked was completely lost which just goes to show what an empty vessel she is.
    Innes Willox reply was completely puerile schoolyard bullying. You’ve got a crumb so don’t envy my cake!
    On last night’s The Drum Caroline Overington, who herself is a screaming right wing idealogue, pointed out that Innes Willox’ tie would likely have cost more than this man earns.
    I have been commenting widely on Fbook this morning (and so have millions of others) that we should take note of what Duncan Storrar said he would DO with that extra cash!
    Take his kids to the pictures.
    And THAT is where the jobs and growth truly lie.
    Duncan’s family treat, when extrapolated over the many millions of Australians in similar financial circumstances, means more jobs at the cinema. More jobs at the factory where the snacks are made. More jobs in the movie industry. There is your jobs and growth.
    Kelly’s $6,000 toaster will not make people come to buy a coffee and sandwich if they don’t have the spare cash to do it. The Libs are great at espousing “if you build it they will come” nonsense. More equipment does not create customers. More people with spare cash to spend creates more customers.
    And guess what ? Absorbing genuine refugees instead of locking them up in indefinite detention also creates more jobs.
    New citizens means new homes, beds, clothes, food, furniture, tools, schoolbooks, toys, cars, crockery, cutlery etc. Etc. Etc. Or as Michaelia Cash would say ecKtcetera.
    To quote that dreadful movie Hello Dolly,
    ” Money is like manure. It is of no good unless it is spread around encouraging young things to grow.”

  9. George Taplin

    The trouble is that the LNP want the pie to grow and become concentrated in fewer hands.

  10. jimhaz

    [Willox’s concern was that the current corporate tax rate in Australia was the second highest in the OECD world]

    Yet the worlds biggest superpower and biggest promoter of capitalism has a corp tax rate of 39% and has not adjusted downwards from the once 30% average in Europe to 23%.

    How come we are competing in this tax reduction arms race when the top dog is not.
    How come we are competing in this tax reduction arms race when growth is still totally fine (though our growth rate is lower than the recent trend it is fine long term and in comparison to other countries)

    There is no simply no justification whatsoever to reduce company tax rates. You would only do so in a jobs recession – not the upcoming financial recession due to the housing bubble hopefully bursting.

    His call is still a facade excuse to make the rich richer, many of whom are resource rapists.

  11. Keith

    Whilst I understand the concept of “high corporate tax lowers the desire for corporations to invest in Australia and therefor the loss of the potential jobs”, I don’t necessarily agree with reducing the tax rates. However, if they cut funding to education surely we will not have the people educated sufficiently to take up the jobs these corporations will supposedly provide! Sounds like they are contradicting themselves once again.

  12. Phil

    Damned good comment there kerri.

  13. Andreas Bimba

    Corporations will invest here if there is a profitable market. Sales revenue is more important than corporate tax rates, which we all know are easy to evade or minimise.

    Despite Australia’s economic growth, neoliberalism has reduced per capita spending capacity (income minus essential expenses such as housing, education, health care, food, clothing, utilities, transport and so on) for at least 90% of the Australian population.

    The US situation is even worse and Bernie Sanders is making political progress with this message.

    Wall Street should fear Bernie Sanders but Main Street should not as his economic philosophy is much like Franklin D Roosevelt’s New Deal which assisted with the greatest period of economic progress in the US from the Great Depression to the late 19 70’s when neo-liberalism started to take over. It’s not about redistribution but enablement, especially of the unemployed and underemployed but also for the economy in total while still attending to vital issues like global warming.

    This article by George Monbiot on neoliberalism is worth reading.

  14. Athena

    Hall & Oates’ (yes I am that old) song “Out of Touch” went through my head as I listened to the responses by O’Dwyer and Bollocks… er Willox. Way to totally miss the point. It’s great to see that someone set up crowdfunding for Duncan and it has now exceeded $20,000.

  15. Don A Kelly

    There is nothing ‘Leftist’ about applying the Basic Rule of Macroeconomics – that spending drives output and employment which generates growth. What the government does with the spending might reflect its ‘values’ (left or right) but either end of the political spectrum cannot avoid that basic rule.

  16. Michael

    We are asked to believe/imagine that by giving away our common property, tax revenue, in the hope, at the very very best hope (that is, no certainty), that a business owner when s/he sees their company’s tax drop drop by 2.5% of its net taxable profit will say

    “Fantastic, at the long last, I am glad the LNP got in again, I can employ an additional employee …”

    More likely, if s/he were in a sharing mood, they would start with one for me one for employment, progress to two, three, four, etc for me one to employment, or even more likely, “ah, f… it, I (without any bias) have worked my butt off, I’ll trade up my car”.

    In most probable reality s/he is continuously closely examining the company’s strategy, marketing, financials, cash flow, etc, firstly looking to strengthen my debtors position and all that entails, reduce the business’ fixed costs and then seek discrete opportunities in terms of marginal revenue and marginal cost, the latter including additional human resources.

    Malcolm is just such a disappointing ventriloquist’s puppet – tell him “he’s dreaming”.

    He is at least a $200M man – ask him whether he ever employed additional people based on whether the tax rate was reduced.

    Would not his answer be – “Good question, great question, I’ll check with my unqualified accountant and finance manager and get back to you – but in the meantime all I know is that it will be that much harder for all of you to pay my salary and benefits and to the extent of the cuts you will definitely have to suffer reduced benefits”

    I feel better already.

  17. kerri

    Athena. So true! Out of Touch Out of Mind as the lyrics go!
    My biggest fear with the beautiful act of many Australians crowd funding those like Duncan is how long will it take for the neo-cons to conclude that charity is taking care of it so why should government!
    Correction! Actually it was Out of Touch Out of Time! But with this lot my former comment applies.

  18. Royce Arriso

    Time-honoured Liberal attitudes never publicly alluded to;
    1. People like this Duncan What’s-is-name are, to be honest, no concern of ours. They’re the Labor Party’s demographic. Wouldn’t vote for us even if we handed out gold bars, so why should we care?
    2. And if you get right down to it–yes, another bottle of Grange, thank you,–this Duncan character probably had every bit as many opportunities as you or I. And yet, here’s you, with a chain of BMW dealerships and me, 2-i-c at ASX. Just saying….
    3..You know what I think? I bet if you looked into this Duncan, you’d find he’s a Labor Party plant. Kelly O’Dwyer and Winnes Illox (sic) made some very good points on that programme, I thought. But of course the lefties weren’t listening. The entire bloody ABC needs purging. Long overdue.
    4. Let’s be honest. If your parents didn’t have either the wit or foresight to send you to a good private school, it’s society which suffers in the long run, in my view. Still, you could always whip up concern among bleeding-heart lefties and get crowdfunded! (Raucous laughter)
    5, Jeez Damien quick, get a load of that blonde chick going into the shithouse! THOSE legs go right the way up, eh? .

  19. anne

    If they were truley honest.. that $6000 toaster would have a conveyor belt and actually remove the need for an employee to monitor the toaster. So the tax break would allow the business to automate a role, removing a paid position not creating one.

  20. Carol Taylor

    The Libs never did like it when Rudd’s GFC strategy won accolades around the world – WASTE they screamed (and often), if you give money to the poor they will spend it at the pokies and downloading porn..apparently the poorer you are, the more inclined you are to indulge in such things. But anyway, poor spending = waste, whereas rich spending = jobs creation. Building school halls of course never provided jobs, never put money back into communities while providing much needed facilities. Doubtful that the Libs will ever get past their prejudice, that wealth equals ‘character’ my experience, mostly the opposite is true.

  21. Athena

    “if you give money to the poor they will spend it at the pokies and downloading porn..apparently the poorer you are, the more inclined you are to indulge in such things.”

    Well of course. If you’re rich, the wasted money goes up your nose.

  22. Kronomex

    O’Dwyer looks as intelligent as Dutton and she looks like him as well. Willox has the typical “us and them” mentality that fits the LNP so well.

  23. Weary

    Why don’t we all get to the real facts of this election! Rich, poor, it doesn’t matter to any politician. All they want is your vote to win them a seat. Name me one politician that really give a rats about the Australian people. The rich will always stay rich and the poor will always be scraping the bottom of the barrel. For my country I want it to stay a safe place for our children. To them it’s all about making a buck. They don’t care how they do it. Refugees feeding off our welfare system, overseas aid feeding country’s armies so they can kill others, live animal exports (not heard one thing about this topic) Refugees to be acting like Australians not Australians acting like them. Education for all. No Muslim schools. If our country is good enough to live in then our schools are good enough for them to learn in. No special treatment for Muslims, Beaches, swimming pools, hospitals, doctors, food etc etc. political correctness gone totally insane! Stop all FTA. Stop selling our land, businesses, properties to stinking Chinese. Stop Turnbull or any other political party conspiring with the USA to use South Australia as their dumping ground for their nuclear waste. Use their own country and leave ours alone. Look after our own first. These are the things that are important to me. When some honest politician can stand up and tell me this is what he/she wants for this country then I will stop being critical. Guess I will be waiting am eternity for this to happen. Remember one thing all you people out there rich or poor, you come into this world with nothing and you leave it the same way! Are the rich really any happier, they have everything, they have nothing left to look forward to but more of the same. Have a good day all!

  24. wayne johnson

    now after the last couple of days i have never been more disgusted in govts then i am now first thing the forced council mergers is to to make life better for the citizens that is a bold face lie the government and mike baird knows this its not for the people its to line his own pockets with developer cash for contracts and think of all the money that will come the governments way baird is not doing it for the people hes doing it for himself and to add insult to injury he then decided that the rorter bronyn bishop as a manager of one of the largest councils how dare this man call himself a leader now hes trying to stifle discent by outlawing protests and he willl use his police to do it
    look what he allowed his police to do to these kids protesting about uni fees so the police saw fit to rough them up and it will only get worse if i was those kids parents i would be demanding an investigation into this matter and also who the hell does this premier think he is
    telling farmers that they have to let the greedy blood sucking multinationals onto their land and destroy it and he says if you dare protest we will put you in jail is this what government is coming to over the past 10 years i have watched the same things happen in the us las t year in the us the us police have murdered 1347 people most of them minorities and we are following in their footsteps under these lnp govts we are fast turning into police states while the federal governments are doing nothing at all and for me the bp tanker issue bp sacked all it australian workers and put in in experienced workers leaveing australian worker out in the cold these australia governments are the most corrupt and uncaring in the world i have been pushing hard for a federla icac to be set up to investigate political corruption
    state and federal and malcolm turnbull says we dont need one to hell we dont we demand one now to hell with the lot of them

  25. Pingback: That’s not how the system works. | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

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