Amazon's decision to block Australian consumers from its main site, refuse to ship to Australia and force us to use a pitiful local site is an act of contempt by a global tech giant that can do what it likes, confident in its remarkable sharemarket position. But it's also on Australia's governing class and gouging retail oligopolists who prompted it.
The new GST arrangements on foreign purchases, commencing in a month's time, are bipartisan and the result of pleading by special interests -- local retailer oligopolies who hate the idea of Australians being able to avoid the outrageous mark-ups they slap on products that are available overseas, and state governments who saw an opportunity to suck more from the community via the GST.
The arguments that this is about a "level playing field" -- long peddled by the retail oligopoly and politicians -- or about multinational tax evasion -- a line pushed by Scott Morrison -- are rubbish. The Australian government has no more fiscal claim to what Australians spend overseas online than it does to what they spend overseas when they travel. And it's not Amazon -- which is indeed a vast international tax dodger -- that is not paying GST, it's consumers. The government wants Amazon to collect the tax from Australians, not pay the tax itself.