Media

Feb 19, 2018

Amid denialism on company tax cuts, the ABC lets us all down

At a time when commercial media outlets like the Financial Review are misleading Australians about company tax cuts, the ABC's censorship of Emma Alberici further undermines trust in our media.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The ABC's censorship of Emma Alberici in response to pressure from Malcolm Turnbull comes at a time when the national broadcaster's mainstream media competitors are also increasingly failing to properly inform Australians.

Far from being, as alleged by the ABC, too opinionated, Alberici's piece (available here) is a collation of straightforward facts -- levels of profit versus wages growth in recent years, the fact that few companies pay 30% tax, the high level of investment despite our "uncompetitive" tax rate, the minimal role tax plays in business investment decisions, the comparative performance of investment and wages in Australia, and Canada, where company tax rates were reduced significantly, the decline of real wages in the UK where company taxes were also cut, the Congressional Budget Office analysis showing Australia's tax rate is relatively low compared internationally; the relatively negligible economic benefits identified in the government's own modelling, the fact that we're projected to remain in deficit for several years yet.

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42 comments

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42 thoughts on “Amid denialism on company tax cuts, the ABC lets us all down

  1. Vince Black

    In May 2016 the Commonwealth Bank announced a net profit for the recently completed quarter in excess of $2 billion. Let’s extrapolate that figure and say that its profit for the financial year will amount to some $8 billion – and over the next ten years it will be at least $80 billion!
    Under the Turnbull plan for corporate tax cuts the Commonwealth Bank will enjoy additional profits in excess of $2 billion dollars over the next decade, and after 2026 that will amount to more than $2 billion each and every year!
    Now the critical issue is, given the increased profits the Commonwealth bank will enjoy, how much of those increased profits will be directed to additional ‘investment’ and ‘growth’ and ‘employment’ and ‘wages’?
    My ‘common sense’ logic concludes that it will not be much, if anything.
    Under existing tax arrangements each of the big four banks will always make sufficient additional investments to optimise their respective profits, and this is most unlikely to be affected by the windfall gains of the Turnbull ‘enterprise tax reduction’ plan.
    Likewise the contribution to ‘economic growth’ by the big four banks will continue to be constrained by their respective market shares in the Australian economy. In other words, they will only grow at the same rate as the broader Australian economy.
    I also predict that their agile and innovative management teams will continue to employ automatic tellers and overseas call centres, and that they will adopt and introduce new technologies that will actually shed employees rather than increase the overall number of high quality Australian jobs in our Australian banks.
    The one bright spot on the horizon deriving from enterprise tax reduction will be in the area of increased wages – but don’t get too excited – that will be limited to increased remunerations for bank CEOs and senior executives.
    A similar analysis of other top 10 ASX companies will produce similar results.
    Just as the Emperor wore no clothes, my call on this is that Malcolm Turnbull’s enterprise tax reduction initiative has no economic credibility and is in fact a Trojan horse that the Australian people should oppose to protect the future well being of our children and grandchildren.

  2. graybul

    ABC management forelock tugging to Prime Ministerial demands has now reached a point that requires Board intervention. Only the Board has direct responsibility for protecting their Commission’s independence. Only the Board is accountable for ensuring the ABC Charter governs management decisions.
    Australian democracy rests upon parliamentary, judicial and a free media transparency. It is now not too long a bow to draw to conclude each institution struggles to deliver their traditional responsibilities at an level acceptable to the electorate. The ABC latest “false news” capitulation to corporate and political opponents further demolishes trust of the people. OUR ABC is a cornerstone of essential values. Loss of belief further degrades Australian polity.

  3. Itsarort

    I stand corrected. The lack of the ABC’s ‘enthusiam’ to reveal more stories from the lost filing cabinet and this disgraceful moment of media meddling, provides more than just a whiff of duplicity. What’s next, pyres of burning books?

  4. Rob Pilgrim

    Not to pick nits, but I think you mean regain rather than earn our trust

  5. pinkocommierat

    For my part, I’m concerned that Labor’s silence about these attacks on the ABC’s independence means it suits them to have a compliant broadcaster. I seriously doubt they are keeping quiet from a desire to remain a small target.

    1. leon knight

      Agree with you there Pinko, my MP will be getting an email about it.

  6. Graeski

    As soon as they got into office – five years ago, was it? Is that all? It seems like an eternity of them slowly eroding our democracy … anyway, as soon as they took power they started work on dismantling the ABC and destroying the public’s trust in that institution.

    It seems that they are succeeding.

  7. AR

    An ex mudorc employee as CEO, another ex mudorc minion gave back the Cabinet cabinet docs, many current myrmidons of mudorc on the various discussion shows (radio & TV) and a dumbing down of RN.
    And for their next trick, the torys will possibly slash the ABC budget on the grounds that the audience is diminished and has lost trust in the probity of the “news” presented.
    Even during WWII, the BBC refused to broadcast government claims that some government action would have such & such effect – Lord Reith bearded Churchill over some dubious claim about the Bulge battles and would only allow the news to say “The government expects…”.
    A bit clunky but fair.

  8. brian crooks

    just like fairwork australia, the federal police, the high court and many other federal authorities, the ABC under Guthrie is just a propaganda arm of the coalition government, the beginning of a full blown authoritarian state where any dissent is muzzled, unions are destroyed and the funding bases for any opposition to their trickle down ideology is destroyed, whats the difference between turnbull and hitler you might ask, well hitler had a moustache is about all.

  9. Nudiefish

    The biggest surprise I find, is that people still have such high expectations for the ABC after all the evidence that they have been gutted and left hanging on a hook by the conservatives.

    Such was the regard for Aunty that people still expect her to cook scones long after she is dead and buried.

  10. Hunt Ian

    Top analysis Bernard!
    Well done.
    The AFR, of course, is childishly pulling out its neoliberal card by announcing that “fact based” analysis is what you will expect if all the assumptions of neoclassical theory are met- “perfect competition “, complete markets, etc, etc, with a few broad brush facts about the OZ economy filled in and then projected forward with some model, such as the ideological “expert” Richardson runs.
    I hope the ABC examines her article and restores it, as a useful pointing out that neo-classical modelling does not provide good grounds for expecting its predictions to be true, as “anescdotes” show. Whatever happened to Karl Popper’s idea that theories must be capable of falsification by its predictions turning out false?

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