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John Passant

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March 2012



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Stop Labor and its budget cuts

Revenue is down, thanks to the global financial crisis and a collapse in company tax receipts. So guess who is going to pay for this loss of money in the next Budget? Australian workers.

Wayne Swan warned today that the Budget to be handed down on 8 May would contain cuts. He said:

The reality is that we need to cut and cancel existing programs if we are to meet our targets and we’ll need to redirect some spending to where it is needed most.

This Government has a surplus fetish for political reasons. So in pursuit of this fetish at a time when the economy is slowing it will cut programs and services.  This will further slow the economy or major parts of it.

Company profits are down and so company tax has and will drop significantly. It will stay low as accumulated losses take years to wash through the system.

Capital gains tax receipts have collapsed as shares and other assets have dropped in value.  Again capital losses will offset any gains for years to come.

Because of the economic uncertainty people are spending less. So GST revenue is also down.

If the Government did nothing the deficit would be $40 billion next year, up from the $37 billion forecast last year as revised revenue figures and estimates become available.  In an economy with over one trillion dollars in GDP, a $40 billion deficit is peanuts.

Yet the Labor Government will come out swinging, or in the case of Budget cuts, swingeing, not against the rich and powerful but against workers and the poor.

Some of it will be aimed at middle class welfare. This is code by and large for attacking workers.

Take the abolition of the health care rebate. It is aimed at the middle class. Our family will lose the rebate.

Of course I don’t want government money going to prop up insurance companies. But surely that misses the point. Why don’t we tax the rich and provide a universal health care system for all, a universal system that includes dental health care?

The tax system has a range of disguised grants in it, including about ten billion worth of capital gains tax (CGT) and other concessions going to business. Abolish those concessions.

Non-residents don’t pay CGT, unless they own land. So maybe imposing CGT on them might bring in some money?

Ten billion dollars of the $30 billion in superannuation concessions goes to the top ten percent of income earners.  Abolish that grant to them.

Mining companies, according to the head of Treasury, account for about a fifth of gross operating surplus yet contribute only around one tenth of company revenue because of all the tax concessions they get.

They claim immediate deductibility for exploration costs. They get hundreds of millions if not billions in accelerated depreciation. They also get billions in fuel subsidies. Abolish them all.

The Government will introduce legislation to cut company tax. In view of the fact business is actually paying less tax, don’t cut their tax rate. Increase it.

Dividend imputation means that shareholders get a credit for Australian tax paid at the company level. Halve the credit. Or abolish the system altogether and tax companies and shareholders as separate entities. 

The Gillard Government back down on the resource rent tax has cost about $10 billion in revenue. Extend the Minerals resource Rent Tax from coal and iron ore to all minerals and bring in that extra ten billion. Extend the rent tax to banks and other oligopolists and rake in billions more.

Budget problems solved overnight.

Of course Labor won’t do most of this.

According to Friday’s Australian Financial review the government is in fact looking at abolishing exploration cost deductibility and accelerated depreciation for miners. It might also limit interest deductibility for foreign companies by reducing the very generous safe harbour that currently exists and cutting back on research and development concessions. 

If Labor does attack the rich and big business in these minor cases it will be an attack on sectional interests to provide benefits to all of capital. 

But importantly such small changes give cover to Swan and Gillard to attack welfare programs claiming that all of society is bearing the burden. Look, we are asking business to share some of the costs they will proclaim as they axe spending on the poor and working class or that mainly benefits them.

Swan’s rhetoric in The Monthly recently against the likes of Clive Palmer, Gina Rinehart and Twiggy Forrest gives an inkling of who the Government might have in mind to attack to distribute the savings to other rich pigs. If that is the case (for example though further company tax cuts) then that redistribution doesn’t cut spending; it merely shifts its focus.

Since Labor won’t radically attack the tax grants system for the rich and business, I expect the main focus of Labor’s attacks will be on programs that benefit working people but which can be described as middle class welfare. The government hopes through this sleight of hand to win some sympathy from working people people who could be under attack too.

Public servants will be under the hammer, but given Labor’s Orwellian 4 percent efficiency dividend has been in place for some time, the damage is already well underway.

Industrial action to defend jobs and increase wages and protect vital programs is the way to beat the slashers and burners. We workers have been too quiet for too long and Labor and the Liberals have been able to ride roughshod over us and distribute more of our wealth to Gina and Twiggy and Clive.

The time has come to say enough is enough. Make the bosses pay.



Comment from Dallas Beaufort
Time March 30, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Lets look at the over the top Green Labor regulations which have forced up the costs for a start, and we must not forget the big debt the left called home which created this mess in the first place.

Comment from John
Time March 30, 2012 at 10:43 pm

What big debt? Australia’s government debt is very small. And what over the top regulations?

Comment from Des
Time March 31, 2012 at 7:40 pm

An interesting selection but why refer it to the federal sphere only.

Comment from John
Time April 1, 2012 at 7:20 am

Yes, I have attacked Labor at a state level for the same neoliberal disease.

More specifically I have been thinking for a few weeks about writing a ‘fantasy’ piece ‘If I stood in the ACT legislative assembly elections in October this is what I’d campaign around …’ That would give me scope to attack Labor for its wage cuts to local public servants, its symbolism around climate change, its attacks on public education and health etc and suggest a tax system based on taxing the rich and business.

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