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

Emma Alberici

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

  1. CML

    Well said, Bernard. The ABC is going from bad to worse.
    Everything Emma Alberici said was backed up with facts…so the government ordered the article taken down purely because they didn’t agree with the content.
    How long before fascism is a ‘fact’ of life in this country?
    So much for this government’s freedom of speech proposals…only okay if it is THEIR version of free speech, which is mostly lies!!

    1. graybul

      Just a small but important point CML . . . government can’t “order”. Only “intimidate” the ABC; and that’s happening far too frequently over past five years. About time the Commission chairperson earns his wage eh?

  2. Gregory Bailey

    When considered in conjunction with the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017 (ELFDR Bill), this is a very dangerous precedent. In our PM we seemingly have a nihilist whose absence of values is filled by an overweening ambition to remain PM at whatever cost to the country, even to the point of damaging venerable institutions like the ABC.

    The people behind him are ideologically driven, unlike him, and will take every step to preserve the crumbling edifice that is neoliberalism. As such they provide the hard right ideology that the PM can still deflect because so much of the MSM believes he is really a small ‘l’ Liberal. As for the general populace, most of them are simply too fatalistic and stoic–or take the whole irresponsible attitude that “they’re all crooks anyway”–to begin to put pressure on their elected representatives to take steps to prevent what is becoming a clear drift into an authoritarian regime. This drift is only mild at the moment, but it may become stronger if the average Aussie does not begin to step up.

  3. Paul Munro

    Thank you Bernard. Valuable and essential support for one of the rapidly dwindling sources of good journalism. Shame on the ABC but Guthrification has injected a new dose of the News Ltd toxin into our national broadcaster. I saw the Alberici piece as it came to air; sadly it was all too rare a straightforward scholarly statement of what is pretty clear to many economically literate writers. So many ABC programs have voice over or commentariat input to ensure balance or avoid offence to the corporate power set and their barracks. Keep up the resistance to the attrition of informed journalism.

  4. klewso

    Alberici has long been an indicator of the ABC miasma.
    A two-speed traction engine interview style, revving up to go after the left (while pushing her subjective conservative barrow) : disengaged when it comes to her Limited News Party.
    A Lateline “promo” wherein she brags about not watching the episodes Jones comperes (she’s got all her own facts – she doesn’t need more?).
    Oct; 31 (last) The Business did an expose of the BCA and their government muppets BS re “how out of line with other countries Australia’s company tax system is and how that’s affecting Oz competitiveness – so we need company tax cuts” – we aren’t : a week later she was peddling the same BCA/Limited News Party barrow of slops.
    Now she’s been dudded by the system she helped build, and was happy doing it?

    1. klewso

      Footnote :- The Biz last night – Peter Coleman (dual citizen of the BCA and the Woodside of buggery fame) all in favour of corporate tax cuts.
      But not to pay employees more. Shit no, he’d use it to expand the business : at stagnant wage levels – to increase profits and his remuneration????

  5. johnnhogan

    Thanks Bernard. The Media Watch report on this sums it up pretty well. Some of the language was unnecessary but the story was essentially correct and reasonable. The anger is clearly related to how it shows the gap between the accepted rhetoric and reality.

    As with other contentious issues, the answer has always been simple. Treat them like any business or serious life decision: do the homework, enact, review. If proper analysis shows the predictions were correct or close, continue. If not, modify or remove. And carefully consider the issues and their assigned priorities before making further predictions. Yet the political party that self-identifies with business refuses to conduct meaningful reviews on a range of issues. You know, like businesses? Trade deals, tax cuts, whatever. Their behaviour suggests that their thinking is based on a series of “truths” for which no evidence is required.
    If a tax cut works, great. If it doesn’t, the automatic sunset clause kicks in. Simple. Same with those big trade deals.
    Who is right vs what is right.

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