This week has been all about income tax policy. The Government’s plan, revealed in the May Budget, passed through the Senate with the support of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party. In the next breath, it started pushing for corporate tax cuts setting the scene for an early election on tax.
The debate is pretty arid. An obsession with tax cuts overlooks the reason why taxes are raised in the first place. We raise tax to pay for the things most Australians agree we need to do like defend our nation – an increasingly expensive activity for a large island nation with a relatively small population; provide a safety net to pensioners and the poor – something which has not kept pace with increases in the cost of living and educate and train our people. We provide medicines and healthcare, we finance the infrastructure that makes our cities liveable, we connect our regions and we support businesses to grow and thrive.
The demand in each area is increasing and we aren’t keeping up. In education, there are kids who are falling behind; while in broadband we have slipped two places to 55th in the world behind Kazakhstan.
In aged care, there are 100,000 people who have been assessed as needing home care support but there is no money assigned to them. This number is increasing by over 14,000 each year.
There are countries in the world were individuals and businesses pay little or no tax and governments can’t afford to provide the basics. They are not countries that most Australians would want to live in.
Privatising the ABC
I was willing to dismiss the Liberal Party’s National Council resolution to privatise the ABC as “virtue signalling” by their young Right woodchucks. This is hard to do when their senior Senators double down on the issue.
All week they were trying to kick start a debate on why the ABC had to go. The ABC’s Managing Director gave a pretty good speech on why this is a pretty dumb idea. Can you imagine the response of the commercial networks if a privatised ABC was out there in the market place competing for the dwindling supply of advertising dollars?
It’s hard to think of a plan better calculated to lead to more commercial media outlets hitting the wall. But still the ever-more ascendant hard-right in the Liberal party pushes on.
Thousands of Australians vented their frustration at the failure of Optus’ live streaming service for the World Cup. I raised the matter with the Prime Minister in Question Time. I’m pleased that the SBS will now broadcast the games on free to air. Well done to our team who performed very well against Denmark, last night.
I was also happy to support the annual Vinnies CEO sleepout. It raises money to help the 116,000 Australians who are homeless or sleeping rough each night. I agree that a better plan would be to provide permanent housing for homeless people but this is not a reason for those of us who can to stick our hand in our own pocket to assist.
Annual Whitlam Oration
The Hon Anthony Albanese MP will be in Shellharbour, tonight, to deliver the annual Whitlam Oration. It’s a reflection on the contribution of Gough Whitlam to our national life and contemporary public policy.