On Australia’s revenue problem

Marjorie Carless writes: Re. “Finally, the government admits we have a revenue problem, but who’s going to pay up?”  (Monday)

Successive governments have, over the past 50 to 60 years in Australia collected more revenue both in cash and services from lower income people than from the high earners. And they probably always will, unless there is an uprising. We are the easiest group, politically, to rob of our standard of living and to have our income stagnate — and not many people care, including all political parties no matter what they say.

On abortion law

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re “Despite shifting public attitudes on abortion, criminalisation remains in Qld, NSW” (Monday)

Yesterday, William Bowe posed the questions “Does muzzling anti-abortion protesters infringe freedom of speech?” Surely this Crikey article has “jumped the gun” when you consider that Bob Brown has taken to the High Court to put hard-line anti-protest laws, similar to the current muffling of anti-abortion protest laws, to the test. The two-day hearing, which concludes this week, focuses on the Tasmanian legislation which was, in Bob Brown’s case, applied to a conservation demo in northern Tasmania.

But the case has implications for hard line laws already in place in New South Wales and Western Australia on a whole range of issues and Tasmania and Victoria, specifically on being outside an abortion clinic. Tasmania’s laws: “Under relevant Act, a protest is defined as any activity that promotes “awareness of or support for … an opinion, or belief, in respect of a political, environmental, social, cultural or economic issue” taking place on business premises (not really adequately defined). Political expression is thus an explicit focus of the law. It creates numerous protest offences with serious penalties. All up, why not wait until the High Court decides and not pontificate on the known unknown or is it the unknown known?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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