Jan 21, 2011

Labor’s lazy levy

There's something faintly absurd about a government with a budget loaded with superfluous spending and the lowest debt levels in the developed world insisting that it needs a new tax to pay for the impact of natural disasters.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

A flood levy to pay for the cost of the catastrophic Queensland floods would be lazy policy from a fiscally lazy government.

There’s something faintly absurd about a government with a budget loaded with superfluous spending and the lowest debt levels in the developed world insisting that it needs a new tax to pay for the impact of natural disasters — especially when this government itself has been arguing that climate change will cause more extreme weather and preaches “adaptation” to Pacific Island states.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

109 thoughts on “Labor’s lazy levy

  1. geomac

    Watching the 7.30 report last night the PM clearly stated that a levy may be an option. After being pressed she repeated that cuts would be made and a levy may be an option. I doubt that there is any fiscal sense in committing to a surplus purely for the sake of saying we have a surplus. One year Costello had a surplus that was in fact a deficit but manipulating the books gave the appearance of a surplus.
    Bolte put Victoria 60% in the red to build Tullamarine airport and didn,t suffer any electoral pain. A healthy budget is a sustainable budget not one dictated by a false presentation of the value of a surplus or deficit.

  2. John

    Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott are the problems in Australia’s politics.
    We need a new way forward.
    Stephen Smith is the ideal Labor PM.
    Malcolm Turnbull will be the ideal next Liberal PM.

  3. shepherdmarilyn

    Stephen Smith is a cowardly, craven child torturer disguised as someone mild.

    Wouldn’t trust him anymore than I trust Gillard.

  4. JamesH

    Bernard has half a point in his relentless blathering about middle class welfare, but ignores that every time you cut “middle class welfare” you raise the effective marginal tax rate. “Welfare” in Australia cuts out so quickly that someone trying to go from “welfare to work” faces a 70%+ effective income tax.

    Also worth noting that studies of the Australian Welfare system have found:

    “The highly selective nature of Australia‘s income support arrangements means that it traditionally has less middle class welfare than virtually all other developed countries, including other low-spending countries such as the USA and Japan.36 This is illustrated by the low share of direct social security transfers in Australia going to the richest households. For example, a 2000 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) study found direct transfers to the richest 30 per cent of households of workforce age in Australia to be 6.5 per cent, the lowest of 21 OECD countries studied, substantially lower than most other countries.”

    from Money for nothing? Australia in the global middle class welfare debateby Luke Buckmaster at the APH parliamentary library research service (www.aph.gov.au/library)

  5. John Reidy

    If this government were smart they would use the recovery spending to justify dropping popular middle class benefits – say the private health care rebate. If it were Keating he would be able to skewer the opposition.

  6. Mahaut

    I agree that a levy would be fiscal laziness. With prudent fiscal management the Government should still be able to maintain a sound budgetary situation without a special one-off tax.
    I don’t think the politics are going to be in the government’s favour with this one. Politicians seem to take the view that a levy is not really seen as a tax because it is for a special purpose and on many occasions that is the view of the community as well. In our current environment, where we already have in play two tax proposals which have created stark areas of contestation between the two major parties, the community, after a vigorous campaign by the Opposition, be brought round to the view that a levy, yet again, is an undue additional tax burden.

  7. Apathy

    It’s truly astonishing and more importantly it’s an absolute disgrace that we have allowed our society to become what it is today. Politics is a reflection of society and it appears that the world is not mature enough for democracy. I feel ashamed about how leadership in this country has been dumb down to a point where logic and common sense is non-existent and narcissism rules. Both sides are as bad as one another yet people still will defend one side over the other, not seeing the forest through the trees. Have we really become that stupid? Do people out there in voter land just not get it or is it a case of we just couldn’t be bothered? Maybe John Elliot had a point?

  8. Jolyon Wagg


    [Stephen Smith is a cowardly, craven child torturer disguised as someone mild.]

    Don’t hold back…tell us what you really think 🙂

    Cowardly and craven seems a tad harsh to me. BTW, where does the child torturing come in?

  9. shepherdmarilyn

    When I pleaded with him before the 2004 election about kids in refugee prisons he told me to piss off because the plebs liked it.

    A report that year showed that locking up refugee kids is torture.

    Ergo Stephen Smith is a child torture advocate.

    As are the rest of the blithering cowards who go to our high court and demand that unaccompanied children be locked up by their guardian, the minister Bowen or whoever of the day, thinks it’s best.

    They blather endlessly about frigging visas, but guess what? The law changed by the ALP way back in 1992 means there is no offence in not having a visa so why do we waste $1 billion per annum pretending there is.

  10. The Hungry Years

    [Remember that illuminating moment before the election]


Leave a comment

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details