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John Passant

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April 2012
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Saturday’s socialist speak out

Bob Brown has resigned as leader of the Australian Greens, and the new leadership of Christine Milne and Adam Bandt is in place. Brown will leave the Senate in June.

What does this seemingly generational shift mean for the Greens and left wing politics more generally?

While we are pondering that, the mining industry has been running ads proclaiming how their taxes have increased over 500% in the last decade. What they don’t mention is that it was from an abysmal level and that their profits have increased much much more.  In other words taxes haven’t kept pace with the explosion of mining profits.

They also don’t mention that the mining companies of some of the extremely rich don’t pay tax at all. Twiggy Forrest’s haven’t paid tax for 7 years. Clive Palmer is worth a cool $5 billion according to Business Review Week. Yet his private company, Mineralogy, hasn’t paid tax for the last 3 years.

And although the headline tax rate for companies is 30 percent the effective tax rate of Australian mining companies is only 17%.

Accelerated depreciation and immediate write off of exploration costs give them immense disguised grants. Massive profits and disguised grants through the tax system worth billions (not to mention the fuel subsidy worth almost $2 billion) to people with wealth in the billions and they still don’t pay any tax? Maybe the time has come to introduce some sort of minimum company tax and extend and increase the Minerals Resource Rent Tax.

To have your say on these or other issues hit the comments button.



Comment from Patrick
Time April 14, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I don’t really think the handover from Brown to Milne as leader is really a “generational shift” – if they wanted to do that, they would have handed over to Sarah Hanson-Young or a figure like that. But none of the three represents a real change – they are all part of the conservative parliamentary element of the Greens. Both Brown and Milne were part of the “accord” government with Labor in Tasmania; both lead within the framework of parliamentary, not grassroots, politics, and are happy to compromise on all manner of points in the interest of realpolitik.

Comment from Dr_Tad
Time April 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Here’s my take on the Greens leadership transition & its implications for the Left, up at Overland (it’s also at Left Flank):

Comment from billie
Time April 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm

People who support the Greens do so because Labor and Liberals are missing something like ‘vision’, ‘fairness’. The resignation of Bob Brown hasn’t gifted Gillard with ‘vision’ or Abbott with any intention of not entrenching the positions of the wealthy few so I am not sure the Greens will lose any support. The Greens have been pilloried from pillar to post by the media to the extent that Liberal voters think its OK to tell Greens voters they are stupid. Generally the Liberal voter has lower education level and earning capacity than the Green they are berating

Comment from John
Time April 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm

It was a good piece Tad, and got me thinking. Thanks for posting the link here too for my readers.

Comment from John
Time April 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Thanks Patrick. Yes, I said seeming generational change. But one query. Bandt is on the left of the Greens isn’t he? He has links to the union movement. So maybe his elevation is about building closer ties with them? Dunno. I think your general assessment of business as usual conservatism is correct.

Comment from Kieran Bennett
Time April 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm

My long promised response to the Easter Weekend’s conference.

I’ve pressed publish a bit earlier than I probably should, but it’s been a week, even Humphrey McQueen has his response to the conference out already, and I’ll be at work/uni for the next couple of days.

As I said, I expect this will offend, but I hope I did it without insulting.

It was great to meet you at the conference!

Comment from Kieran Bennett
Time April 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm

A simple “He’s left, she’s right” attempt to catagorize the forces in the Greens will leave you bewildered. Personal ties, friendship, state locality, country city, grass roots or electoral professional, these are all more useful ways of understanding the internal dynamic of the Greens.

Comment from Ross
Time April 16, 2012 at 8:33 pm

China is sourcing new energy and resources from Africa and South America.The Golden resource/energy Goose will be short lived for us.

There are two reasons.We have aligned ourselves with the NWO war mongerers who want to enslave China and the taxes by our Govt will further erode our competitiveness.

Without flogging off our resources/energy cheaply,we cannot offset the counterfeiting debt cartel banking system which has us totally enslaved.