Let the tax spinning begin. They are off to a magnificent start this morning with the rash of leaked stories about the wonderful new world of taxation that is to be formally unveiled for us on Sunday. It will be a wonder to behold over the next week as the spinners continue to weave their magic and convince us that none of the nasty bits in the Henry Review of the tax system are going to happen but all the good bits will be put in place as long as the people are smart enough to re-elect a Labor government. Be warned. If you believe what you are told about taxation in the next week, you will believe anything.

Saved by passive smokers. We smokers are a passive lot. We have been beaten into a sullen but silent acceptance of our role as an oppressed minority. For our pleasure, the majority make us subsidise their tax burden. Subserviently we accept it. Which is just as well for the man who this morning we smokers silently hate. Kevin Rudd knows that by the time we reach the ballot box most of us just shrug off the further unfairness he has heaped upon us.

The smugglers will thrive. They don’t lock you away for 20 years for being a cigarette smuggler so any half-sensible drug pusher quickly will be diversifying into what will surely be the new criminal growth business. Cigarettes are already being brought in to the country illegally by the container load. Australia will soon need a much larger Customs workforce to stop the trade becoming a veritable cascade.

Bad taste in the NT News. As I cast my jaundiced Crikey eye this morning I spy that the highly successful worldwide organisation that actually digs for and finds news, then publishes it fearlessly, as Mark Day told us in The Australian this week, has excelled itself with a contribution from the Northern Territory News that must rank highly as a contestant for a crass taste of the week award:

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And the inspiration for this oh so witty headline? Someone moved a motion in the Northern Territory Parliament.

Worse than anyone official lets on. The mechanics of sovereign debt are beyond me but one lesson I learned from the last global financial crisis is that central bankers and Treasury ministers never tell the people the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Invariably things are far more dangerous than officialdom lets on. So I expect Greece to go down the financial gurgler and be followed in quick succession by a host of other countries where the politicians told the people that they had the alchemist’s touch, which meant everyone could keep living beyond their means.

PS — I am in a mean mood this morning as I contemplate the price of my next packet of cigarettes.

Moving towards an increase. The Crikey interest rate indicator is moving towards thinking that another interest rate rise is on the way.

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Moving towards the coalition. If that interest rate market turns out to be right then it makes sense that the Crikey Australian election indicator is moving away from Labor towards the coalition. From a high point giving Labor an 80% chance of being returned, the indicator this morning is down to 74%. I am hoping it will go lower as I try and break out of my smoker’s passive acceptance of my lot as an object of taxation.

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Peter Fray

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