Taxing the miners:

Ben Aveling writes: Re. “How can you tell the mining industry is lying? It’s issued a press release” (yesterday, item 1) If the resource supertax does slow the growth in mining jobs, is that such a bad thing?

Given that the “real” parts of the economy are at least anecdotally suffering in competition, taking some heat out of mining is probably a worthwhile goal in and of itself.

Chris Main writes: “Business as usual: oil spill cost up to $12.5b … the end nigh for Camwest … unremitting gloom forecast in the UK …” (yesterday, item 23). Both Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer both claim the Newcrest takeover of Lihir Gold is proof that concerns over mergers and acquisitions activity in Australia due to the Resource Super Profit Tax are overstated.

As the majority of Lihir’s operations are located outside of Australia (88% of EBITDA for the six months to 31 Dec 09 from PNG & Africa, vs. 75% from Australia for Newcrest), this argument doesn’t stack up. Australian based companies with operations offshore won’t be affected, but companies with Australian operations will.

Expect to see more investment in offshore operations and less investment in Australian operations, regardless of the location of the head office of the companies involved, if this goes ahead as announced.

Backbenchers:

David Lenihan writes: Re. “What the backbenchers will tell us” “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (yesterday, item 9). Perhaps if the backbenchers as a group had more spine and guts, they would have told Rudd, what  Labor supporters generally  have been trying to tell this very odd PM, they are not happy with his spin, grand talk, flip flops, lack of intestinal fortitude (climate change shelving) and above all loyalty to those who put him in the Lodge.

Mr Rudd has a very short memory and seems to have completely lost the plot on how to retain Government.  He said today, his job is to act in the national interest and he will continue to do just that. It may be time for Mr Rudd to contemplate just what the National interest is, instead of merely contemplating his navel and what his next unfunny line to a journalist will be.

Small business:

John Shailer writes: Re. “Henry Review: how did the government respond? It didn’t.” (Monday, item 1). I hope Australia’s 2.5 million small business proprietors and their employees don’t fall for the pea and thimble trick by Kevin Rudd and his media supporters, and believe the Henry Review tax package assists small business.

The reduction in company tax (if it happens — can you name a promise Kevin has kept?) doesn’t apply to two thirds of the unincorporated businesses, and amounts to a saving of about $200m. p.a for all the remainder.

The $5000 immediate tax write-off simply accelerates an existing depreciation claim. However the 33% increase in the super guarantee levy will cost businesses about $10billion p.a., and inevitably will be funded from a reduction of proprietors income and the loss of employee jobs.

With a friend like Kevin, small business certainly doesn’t need enemies!

Richard Farmer:

Andrew Lewis writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (yesterday, item 9). I’m not sure what exactly is happening to Richard Farmer but I think I would like to imbibe some of what he is smoking.

The normally sensible Farmer opined a few days ago about “it is only a rare beast like Howard who is prepared to tackle real change.” Well that stopped me in my tracks. When you consider that Howard genuinely effected one economic reform in 13 years of government, that being the GST, it hardly makes him a rare beast. All the rest, including WorkChoices, was either flummery or a problem for a future government to undo, witness the colossally stupid idea of paying only half your tax rate for capital gains. D’oh!

And then yesterday’s effort, “I hope there are a few people out there practising their mea culpas re Jessica Watson.” No, not at all Richard, a stupid and pointless exercise remains that, even when it has been successfully completed. Well done Jessica, you have completed something that is pretty much pointless, scarily self-indulgent, and you have done it successfully. Bravo. I said it before you left and it’s only right that I should say it on your return. Pointless, meaningless, just-who-is-exploiting-who indulgence.   Please stop now!

Enjoy your fame Jessica and family. Please excuse my lack of admiration.

Peter Fray

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