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Crikey Says

May 6, 2014

Crikey says: the Libs rounding on Abbott over levy

Did News Corp get its money's worth from James Packer and David Gyngell? How Nathan Tinkler got tied up in ICAC. Essential: we're divided on the deficit tax. How wrong the Audit of Commission was on health. Australia turns its back on the Nigerian schoolgirls. The Slavic tragedy of Ukraine. A lifeline for New Matilda? And the many crimes of Jeremy Clarkson.


Crikey has new polling today suggesting the electorate is split on the need for a debt tax. The Liberal fraternity, meanwhile, seems anything but …

Former Liberal Treasurer Peter Costello:

“The proposed tax levy has no economic benefit; it will detract from growth by reducing consumption.”

Former Liberal frontbencher Peter Reith:

“I don’t like the deficit tax, I don’t like it at all.”

Former Liberal leader John Hewson:

“You’ve got tax concessions, for example, in superannuation from which you can raise a substantial amount of money [instead of a debt levy]. They are heavily biased in favour of the wealthy, they don’t impact on immediate economic activity, they impact on savings behaviour down the track.”

Commission of Audit head Tony Shepherd:

“I’d say that if they were to bring in something like that, they’d need to be very careful about implementing any of our recommendations which have an immediate impact on the individual.”

Liberal MP Warren Entsch:

“It’s a tax — it’s not a levy.”

With friends like these …



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13 thoughts on “Crikey says: the Libs rounding on Abbott over levy

  1. zut alors

    As usual, John Hewson is the one talking the most sense.

    Note that despite Emma Alberici (last night’s Lateline) presenting overseas evidence of the consequences of depriving unemployed youths of welfare payments, Shepherd was unmoved & stuck to his guns. Apparently facts are not pertinent.

  2. David Hand

    At least the right side of politics is upfront about differing views, compared to the totalitarian culture that exists in the ALP.

    I think the tax is a really stupid idea.

    And Zut, comparing Australia to youth unemployment in Spain is not really credible is it? Spain’s unemployment is over 25%. It’s economy is in free fall.



  3. AR

    The old saw, “if’n ye be not a socialist at 20, y’ve nay heart. If y’re still a socialist at 30 y’ve nay brain” would seem in need of amendment with the addition of “and if you’r still right wing once you lose the Liberal leadership, you’re amoral, sociopathic & brain dead. Or John Howard.

  4. Matt Hardin

    So David, the current Australian figure if 1 in 8 is OK is it? Our debt is less than a quarter of Spain’s so we are actually dong worse. How will taking money off them help?

    Just as an aside I am completing a Dip Ed in July along with another 30 or so people. An LNP hiring freeze over here in WA limits job prospects. I guess it is our fault we can’t get work as teachers…

  5. David Hand

    Matt, your quaint sense of entitlement that the taxpayer owes you a job is so naïve it’s almost touching.

    Have a chat to a car worker or a miner sometime. It’s not their fault either.

  6. Matt Hardin

    It’s hardly a sense of entitlement, David. It’s disgust at the attitude that the unemployed should be punished to “encourage” them to get jobs that don’t exist. Jobs that people want to do, have sacrificed to train for, have worked to become proficient at. I include miners and car workers and all the others. My point is that it is not their fault and punishing them further is appalling.

  7. CML

    I agree with you, Matt H… How does putting a levy on the wealthy reduce consumption (Costello), but if you lower welfare payments (thereby punishing people for not procuring non-existent jobs) it doesn’t have the same effect?
    This lot are doing my head in!!

  8. David Hand

    Punishing people?
    It’s the real world.

    The government lost its capability of guaranteeing everyone a job in the 70s. That’s what the reforming years of Hawke and Keating were about.

    The government’s role in 2014 is to help people through a painful transition not stop the transition occurring.

  9. Matt Hardin

    Well it is failing at that. High skill jobs replaced by low skill jobs. Low skill jobs off shored. Entry level jobs being automated. Fraction of GDP going to profit as opposed to labour increasing. Inequality increasing. And now cuts to welfare, removal of welfare for students for first six months. Welfare linked to relocation. I suggest that the poor, the unemployed, the disadvantaged are being punished to balance the budget when they did nothing to cause the problem. They did to make the bad investment decisions, they did not gamble derivatives, they did not aggressively minimise tax, they did not contribute to the poor decisions of what car to build yet they pay the price.

  10. Matt Hardin

    By the way, you talk if transition. What is the end point? To what are transitioning? Who benefits from the new state of affairs? I genuinely want to know. I want to know if the sacrifices are worth it.

  11. Matt Hardin

    Obviously “of” not “if” in above.

  12. David Hand

    It’s a big subject and I’m not sure I’m the best person to say but I certainly have a point of view.

    Transition has been occurring, and has been painful, ever since the industrial revolution began. An early example was people vandalising industrial looms in northern England because they were putting the cottage based textile producers out of business. They were called Luddites and that term survives today to describe someone who resists change.

    As far as today’s transition goes, I think the big story is the automation of manual repetitive jobs and the rise of massive industrial production capability in Asia. Though people often talk of low wages in Asia driving the loss of manufacturing, the truly massive economies of scale is the main factor. And that’s a win for us. It’s why our appliances are cheaper in real terms today and why it doesn’t cost me a week’s wages to buy pair of trousers like it did in 1974.

    What is Australia transitioning to? The most likely future is high tech engineering supporting the resources industry, agriculture, tourism, and education. These have always been Australia’s competitive advantage and still continue today. Manufacturing has long been a protected industry supported by tariffs and subsidies.

    The most prosperous future for everyone is to concentrate as a nation on what we do well and trade with other economies for the things they do well. For that we need education. Fewer machine operators and more engineers.

    There are new industries springing up everywhere because of the internet, a revolution that has gone on around us that we are hardly aware of.

    So the story of transition in the economy is to help workers move from industries better done by other economies into industries better done by us.

    In my view it’s worth it.

  13. Dion Giles

    The Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments combatted the effect of the Global Financial Heist (GFH) by nation-building and shifting wealth to the more vulnerable sectors. The big end of town, which created the GFH, is not interested in nation-building (to them Australia is a mere market, not a nation). They have been screaming with rage and hatred of the government that stopped Australia becoming another Greece or Spain or USA. Now they are demanding measures to make the many pay more for the cost of keeping Australia afloat (“fiscal crisis”) so the few can pay less. Watch for pressure for an even worse GST. A flurry of measures has further impoverished the unemployed, the sick, the indigent, the financially distressed poor, with much worse threatened by Hockey to keep the load off the Libs’ sponsors.

    Small wonder Abbott’s maverick call for a small levy on the big end of town – dwarfed by the crushing attack on the people already impoverished – is running into howls of dismay. The idea will be disallowed under this pressure. Abbott will “reluctantly” back away from it or be rolled.


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