Crikey writes: Re. “Crikey Clarifier: we explain the baffling world of super” (yesterday). In the piece, we wrote that superannuation is very complicated. We were proven right when we received a couple of emails correcting our piece. We wrote there was a flat tax rate of 15% on contributions. This is incorrect. There are two types of contribution: before-tax and after-tax. Before-tax payments primarily include your compulsory employer payments and have a $25,000 limit. They’re taxed at 15%. After-tax payments, which is mostly what you put in personally, have a $150,000 limit and are free of tax, because you’ve already paid it. However once you go over that limit, on either category, you are taxed at a higher rate of 46.5%. The article has been updated.
Peter Murray writes: Re. “How our super steals from the poor to give to the rich” (yesterday). The superannuation debate is surprisingly similar to other Rudd and Gillard government policy wrangles: the Resource Super Profits Tax, then the Minerals Resource Rent Tax; private health rebate; carbon tax; education reform; media reform etc.
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In each case, the vested interests have adopted an aggressive blitz against the policy in question, utilising the same key themes: make outlandish or doomsday predictions of the effects the policy will have on “working Australians”; distract the debate away from the actual policy; ensure regular and critical media exposure; and, rally prominent naysayers to the cause.
More often than not, the government has failed to preempt this and capture the debate for itself. Rather, it has been pusillanimous, etiolating in the face of mounting resistance. As result, those with the most to lose frame and direct the debate, at the expense of balance and (often) rationality.
The royal commission begins
Archie Lever writes: Re. “Royal commission: victims to speak, for as long as it takes” (Wednesday). The Roman Catholic Church through the actions of its employees (priests, bishops and cardinals), could be classed as a criminal organisation — along the lines of some bikie groups — only much worse.
Horrendous abuse of trust by the perpetrators of s-xual crimes against the most vulnerable — children without families in institutions and other children in their care, is one of the most appalling human depravities. Covering up and protecting the perpetrators is the act of an accomplice after the fact and most possibly before the next. Those church hierarchy involved should be dealt the full force of the law along with the perpetrators.
And what has led the Roman Catholic Church to be the giant amongst these institutional criminal abusers? Celibacy is no doubt a factor, but the doctrine of confession and absolution is probably a bigger one. Criminal today — washed clean with hail Marys tomorrow. Do not underestimate the power of this doctrine of indulgent forgiveness to excuse the corrupt and cleanse the criminal.
The parade of hapless and pathetic victims will no doubt make hand-wringing television. Politicians will wallow in the detail of these sickening stories, and knash teeth with the best of the mourners in chief amongst the pundits and righters of past wrongs.
North Korea madness
John Taylor writes: Re. “Rundle: is North Korea on the warpath, or is it a ruse? Yes.” (yesterday). Every time I read serious stuff about North Korea I go back to the story about the current bonehead’s father’s first game of golf, when 11 times he scored a hole-in-one. Perhaps everything that comes out of that nation should be read in the context of that performance.