It is increasingly apparent that Australia’s well developed cultural bias towards egalitarianism is part of the leverage that the Rudd Government will seek to exploit to ensure its re-election this year.

Russell Crowe as Robin Hood, who robbed from the rich to give to the oppressed / AP (File)

Since 2007 Mr Rudd and Mr Swan have regularly gone out of their way to promote that they are some sort of modern day Robin Hoods. This carefully crafted illusion has been built around the idea that by taxing the “rich” we can somehow pay for a Mount Everest of around $93 billion of debt, racked up in reckless cash splashes and handed out on sometimes completely illogical grounds.

Now the Rudd Government tells us that we need to increase tax by 40 per cent on the most productive sector of our economy. They argue this is a “Robin Hood style” redistribution of wealth that will make us all richer.

In using this popular myth Mr Rudd and Mr Swan have sought to claim the role of a hero who acts against a perceived injustice: mining companies escaping fair taxation. But in today’s world this attempt to be Robin Hood does not have its roots in a massive injustice. Quite the opposite.

The popular myth alleges that Robin Hood took from the rich and gave to the poor. Robin Hood did so. But the actual story of Robin Hood was a reaction to injustice and oppression from aristocrats living on unearned wealth confiscated from productive people they regarded as being common and beneath them.

Wealth, in almost all cases in Australia today, is earned. Wealth is not confiscated through force by persons exercising improper or inherited functions of government.  In modern Australia individuals and companies pay tax to State and Federal Governments.

The idea that some people or companies have obtained their wealth through the misfortune or at the expense of others ought to be a highly offensive proposition in Australia today. 

The idea that we need a Government to rescue us from the oppression of “rich” people or so called “rich” mining companies, will lead to all of us becoming poorer.  In Australia it remains one of the best features of our society that if you work hard and persevere you can achieve a better standard of living.

Through taking risk, a small business can become a big one, successfully employing more people and returning dividends to shareholders.  But the ongoing perversion of the popular Robin Hood myth by Labor will threaten this successful formula.

From the Rudd Government we have now seen several deliberate attempts to turn this medieval myth into policy reality, to pursue policies that will undermine self reliance and innovation in favour of dependency. The Super Profit Mining Tax is simply the biggest and most audacious of these.

Remember also Labor’s attempts to tax employee share schemes (one of the mechanisms used by employees to get ahead).  Means testing that sought to define ‘rich people’ as families earning $100,000 or more. Or the idea that if you have worked hard to save for your own retirement, or have private health insurance, you should be subjected to harsher and harsher taxation treatment.

It is as if for Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan, profit, success and self reliance have become part of the problem and not part of the solution.

The idea of governments taking from ‘the rich’ and giving to ‘the poor’ is not new. But attempts by government to equalise wealth have been shown throughout history to end in disaster. The most recent attempts are close at hand. Anyone taking a trip through former communist or socialist countries can witness what soul crushing effects Government acting to redistribute wealth has had on these societies.

Globally there is building concern about unjust taxation. Last year citizens concerned with debt and increasing taxation gathered in their thousands across the US to dump tea into local waterways in remembrance of the infamous Boston Tea Party. Perhaps the only comparable event in our peaceful political history was the attempt to increase the beer excise.  This resulted in the largest petition ever received by the Federal Parliament in our history.  Some one million people signed up to protest an increase in beer excise.

While this is the kind of thing that brings a smile to most of our faces, there is a growing concern in Australia about unjust taxation. About Governments enacting laws under the guise of redistributing wealth that will actually crush our ability to innovate, create and get ahead.

The truth is, whatever troubles we now have, more wealth is enjoyed by more people than at any time in our nation’s history. A responsible government would act to improve and enhance the fundamentals of our economy that has given us our prosperity, not act to undermine them.

That means in particular fostering an environment where the self employed and the small business owner can thrive. At a time when figures are telling us the rate of self employed people is at a low level, this could not be more important to our sustained recovery.

The facts are that Australia is already one of the most generous countries in the world in terms of welfare. Welfare is the single largest expenditure item in the Federal Budget at around $115 billion. Individual income taxation is just $137 billion. So put another way almost every dollar collected from taxpayers is redistributed in the form of welfare payments. It is also the case that the most rapid growth in Federal Government expenditure since Federation has been in human services and welfare payments.

The reality is that Ministers of this Labor Government have tried to cast themselves as the Robin Hoods of the new era as a desperate smokescreen for their inability to properly manage the nation’s finances. By exploiting Australian’s egalitarian instincts, the Rudd Government is undermining risk and return, innovation, self reliance and people making provision for themselves. If this approach is continued it will only make all of us poorer.

If left to run their course, the so called Robin Hood policies Mr Rudd and Mr Swan are espousing, will see a diminishment of our standard of living. Australians need to see through this perversion of the myth of Robin Hood that Labor is using for its re-election. We ought to reject the premise that Government’s unjustly redistributing wealth will produce a better society. Australians need a government that will leave us alone, to work hard and enjoy the fruits of the forest.

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    • notsurprised says:

      07:05am | 03/06/10

      Unfortunately many people don’t see the long term repercussions of this attitude. Hopefully the quote, “...to pursue policies that will undermine self reliance and innovation in favour of dependency.”, will get some thinking.

    • John A Neve says:

      08:19am | 03/06/10

      All this article does in my view is to reinforce the fact that our taxation system is far from fair. I don’t believe there can be any argument that the greater the pool of those paying tax, the less each would have to pay to achieve the government’s needed revenue.

      I also doubt any one could claim that a system with in excess of 120 different taxes, could claim the system is simple.

      All our current system does is to allow political parties to manipulate our taxes to curry favour with one goup or another.

      We can argue the rights or wrongs of this current proposal, we can talk of Robin Hood or debate the need or otherwise for wealth redistribution. But at the end of the day, if we had a simple, transparent and equitable taxation system none of this would be necessary.

      Our current taxation system only does one thing well, that is to divide our nation amd we all suffer as a result.

    • Wayne Fehlhaber says:

      09:52am | 03/06/10

      John , we already have a fair and transparent tax system in the G.S.T.
      The Robin Hood debate should be retitled Robin’  Bastards debate when it comes to the Rudd/Swan desperate move to refill the nation’s coffers which they emptied in 2.5 years. 
      Any individual or group who decides to risk their money to invest in our country such as mining , automatically become a target for Labor to plunder in a socialistic equity for all approach to economics .
      The risk inherant in another three years of this ideology is that investors will go elsewhere , offshore , where there is a fair return on their risked capital.
      As Alex Hawke points out , Labor Ministers do not have the ability to manage the nation’s finances and are undermining risk and return , innovation , self reliance and people making provision for themselves.
      There can only be one outcome of this destructive approach to our investment styled economy and that is a reduced standard of living for all of us.

    • Matt Stewart says:

      02:25pm | 03/06/10

      Wow - I agree with John A Neve!

      And whilst I agree with Wayne that the GST is a transparent and (relatively) fair tax in it’s collection, it is just one of the multitude of taxes that make up our tax system, some of which are disgustingly unfair and about as transparent as Uluru.  Even the GST is an appalling tax in terms of it’s distribution and complex in terms of exemptions.

      Ignorance is not a defence when you break the law.  As citizens, we all have a responsibility to understand and comply with the law.  But how the hell is anyone supposed to know and understand Australian tax law?  If you got together with friends and stacked up all the tomes of tax law, god would curse you all with different languages.

    • Evan Findlay says:

      06:28pm | 03/06/10

      By all means Wayne, lets have Big Business running the country. If Tony gets his way then we have become the 51st state of America where policy and reform is solely determined by large corporations. America is at the point now that politicians only push the agenda of large corporations. The country is an economic basket case and large corporation is to blame.

      Tony’s defiant stance is no surprise but it does go to show that the mere mention of reform in this country and big business starts waffling on about how many they will sack and how investment will dry up and as Clive Palmer said on Meet the Press on Sunday, ” Everyone will be unemployed and unable to buy christmas presents for their children”. Bring me a bucket!

      A gentle reminder Wayne, the tax is going to funding reductions in corporate tax, small business tax reform, superannuation and infrastructure fund, not “refilling the nations coffers” as you so subscribe.

    • Daryl says:

      09:01am | 04/06/10

      One of the problems with the tax system is the inequality between the corporate rate ( to be reduced to 28%) and the top marginal personal tax rate (46.5% with medicare). The ability for small business owners to declare only part of their income, and split their income with their spuoses to reduce tax. The poor PAYG tax payer cannot do either and therefore bears the brunt of personal tax responsibility. Can someone please explain why any individual in this country should pay a higher effective tax rate than the corporate rate?? I don’t understand that at all. Please let me tick a box to pay a flat 28%! The Henry report did not address this issue at all and you have to ask why not? Perhaps it had something to do with who commissioned the report. You cannot avoid consumption and with an ageing population dropping out of the workforce, GST has to be increased. But only if the PAYG taxpayer gets a break much like the system introduced in NZ recently where the top margin tax bracket was reduced to 33% (ours is 45% + medicare) and GST increased to 15%. This would broaden the tax base and make sure those doing cash jobs, splitting their income and claiming benefits, pay their fair share. All we need now is a government with some balls!

    • Alan-a-Dale says:

      09:00am | 03/06/10

      Well said! Couldn’t agree more! I always thought it a bit “rich” for KRudd and Swannee to want to redistribute the wealth, so all “working families” can enjoy the fruits. KRudd and Swanee are like the greedy kids in the playground, eaten all their fruit and are now looking to steal another kid’s fruit…..............a couple of real fruitcakes!

    • iansand says:

      09:05am | 03/06/10

      Newsflash:  Liberal policy is to overturn “Australia’s well developed cultural bias towards egalitarianism”.  It’s a winner, Alex.

    • Rob r Charteris says:

      09:09am | 03/06/10

      It is interesting the author rants about the money being spent on welfare when it was his government when last in power the umeployment rate dropped but the level of welfare hand outs raise to almost 10% of the population. I dont believe the Rudd government has introduced any new handout. In fact if any has tried to claw it back, and maybe the rich just aren’t doing their fair share and it’s about time they did.

    • Wayne Fehlhaber says:

      10:52am | 03/06/10

      Rob r Charteris :  Yes , John Howard was a compassionate man and made certain that the low income earner , the disabled and aged pensioners were cared for , you are correct on that note.
      I ‘d be almost ceratain that you have been the receipient of some of that compassion along the way , hmm ?
      Oh i’m sure that the ” rich ” you refer to are doing their fair share and i’d also guess that your income , if it’s traced back , comes from a capital risk investment in Australia.  But you go right ahead Rob , take a cudgel to the head of the Mining Industry , see if you can further destroy the industry which is keeping Australia alive on the international and domestic markets. Just look how popular Rudd the Dud is by taking that route to disaster.

    • Andrew says:

      11:16am | 03/06/10

      WTF! How about the $900 cheques (along with a couple of other billion for unproductive parasites to play the pokies and have a few more UDL’s). You are living in a dreamland. Nice to see your fearless leader is on his way out.

    • Adam Diver says:

      11:21am | 03/06/10

      Seriously… that is your comment?

    • DC says:

      11:29am | 03/06/10

      @Andrew:  That’s a bit hypocritical when Howard was handing out money to all and sundry - remember the baby bonus?

      Oh how quickly the Liberals forget their own history and are quick to condemn others.

    • notsurprised says:

      12:00pm | 03/06/10

      “...maybe the rich just aren’t doing their fair share and it’s about time they did.” No worries Rob, I’ll quit my job and get on the ‘rock and roll.’ Why not, there’s no incentive to work hard anyway.

    • Roja says:

      01:52pm | 03/06/10

      Your right, every election year involved welfare hand outs to buy votes.  Apparently liberals have short memories…

    • Andrew says:

      02:56pm | 03/06/10

      @DC: I’m not suggesting Howard didn’t do middle class welfare but my comments were in direct answer to Rob r C saying “I don’t believe the Rudd Government has introduced any new handout. In fact if any has tried to claw it back…..”

      That must be why we are in $50+ billion of debt.

    • dovif says:

      04:56pm | 03/06/10

      DC

      The difference is that Howard spend it out of his surplus, while Rudd had put the budget in deficit and accumulated billions in debt ... the interest payment on Rudd’s debt is the prime reason why the Government need the Mining tax to bring the budget back from billions in the red

    • Evan Findlay says:

      06:34pm | 03/06/10

      Two points Wayne. Mr Rudd is still preferred Prime Minister by 16% points and aged pensioners received absolutely nothing under Howard. He was also very reckless, even Costello hated giving him the bottom line at budget time as he knew he would squander more money on more middleclass welfare like free plasma screens for any sixteen year old who wishes to give birth.

    • Wayne Fehlhaber says:

      08:45am | 04/06/10

      Evan , better do your homework buddy . The Howard/Costello govt. paid quarterly CPI increases to all pensioners , introduced the Utilities Allowance and began the the lump sum annual payments to pensioners. As for Rudd’s PPM ratings , the RSPT is about to reduce that considerably . Even Labor Premier Captain Bligh is begging him to get some sense into his head after Xtrata cancelled a $600 Million project .

    • Dave says:

      09:12am | 03/06/10

      Wouldn’t expect anything less from an ex-Young Lib president. The usual mining industry, sky is falling, any new tax is wrong propoganda. Lets hope the small government, lower tax ethos stays with the Tea Party in America.

      As for “enjoying the fruits of the forest” that’s our forest the the miners are defruiting.

    • T.Chong says:

      09:42am | 03/06/10

      Young Alex is from the exteme ugly right of politics, so much so that many in his own party didnt want him.
      Fortunately he got many, many unexpected votes.
      Branch stacking ? never ! This is the Libs afterall, just amazing coincidences and good luck.
      “Passing Strange” as the ex-leader from Bennelong would have said.

    • Wayne Fehlhaber says:

      10:37am | 03/06/10

      T. Chong :  proof please !

    • Nitzpicker says:

      10:44am | 03/06/10

      @T.Chong Name calling ? False accusations? suffering from brat syndrome are we?

    • Andrew says:

      11:20am | 03/06/10

      Dave, T Chong,

      Playing the man not the ball, how very left wing. “All those in favour say AYE all those against come down the front so we can have a look at you.”

      Dave, if you reckon the minerals are yours grab a spade and go dig them up. Or is it just the case that you would, like most other left w(h)ingers rather live off the fruit of someone elses risk and labour.

      Typical labour, you don’t encourage success, you resent it, the Labor slogan should be “Mediocrity, Something to Strive For.”

    • Vladislav Tepesz says:

      11:27am | 03/06/10

      Yes Dave, we need big government and high taxes!
      The bigger the better.
      Btw, does anyone still remember what happen to USSR?

    • Roja says:

      02:28pm | 03/06/10

      @Andrew - whatever you are on, I want some.  I would have though that from the glass house you live in you would know that going the man, not the ball is the current national strategy of Abbott.  Although is his more left than Rudd, so maybe you are right about the left. 

      As for the rest of your rant, thats the typical conservative call of “yer either with us or your against us!!”.  You forgot other classics as “their taking our jobs” and left out any mention of socialism, communism or even despotism. 

      Well sad news for both sides, none of your opinions matter.  It’s the balanced swinging middle ground that make the big election decisions.  We like to base our decision on facts, not some archaic left / right theory that proposes our rich society can be divided into just two dimensions.

    • Wayne Fehlhaber says:

      03:04pm | 03/06/10

      DC :  Yes , i read that article but i still do not see any proof of Branch stacking . However , i am aware that it was a hard fought battle for pre-selection and also that Alex Hawke was very well supported and well organised and legal in every aspect of his successful candidature.
      There is always some bruised feelings after closely fought contests in every party as we all know.

    • Andrew says:

      04:23pm | 03/06/10

      @Roja, so when you guys go the man its ok, when a conservative responds its a rant. Typical.

    • Wayne Fehlhaber says:

      05:48pm | 03/06/10

      Roja :  heh heh heh , so you class yourself as one of the 6% of swingers eh ?  Campaign for Labor but claim the middle ground . Sounds good in the context of this comment but you have denied your own claim to middle ground in every other post you make my friend.

    • Roja says:

      12:15pm | 04/06/10

      If I am currently campaigning for labor it’s because I see an Australia led by Prime Minister Abbott as only marginally better than if it was Prime Minister Fielding.  For the record I voted for Howard when the choice was Latham, it was no different for the other range of idiots that labor put up. 

      For the record I believe the NBN is making up for Howards biggest weakness, the telstra fiasco was his fault due to his inability to understand technology.  That whole Tampa thing and Pacific solution was riding the wave of Hansonism, such racism sent me off conservatism.  As for the mining tax, well I am not in mining so I’m on the arse end of the two speed economy so if that balances the economy out some then by all means.  The mining claims are for the most part, complete crap - they should really come say the real truth for this internationally funded campaign - “don’t give third world countries a precedent.”

      So I am a swinging voter, if I am with labor at the moment, it’s because in my oponion considering the weight of all factors - they are the better choice for this country at this time.  Liberal needs to life it’s game, or to put it better - actually develop a game plan.  They are the ones headed for election disaster.

      @Andrew - I don’t condone the going the man on either side, it’s childish but the fact is that it is liberal policy at the moment.  If I wanted to read that attacking drivel I would go to the Herald Sun or Advertiser sites.  If I wanted the Liberal party line I would go the Australian and if I wanted Labor then the Age.  I like it here, the discussions, references and debate is informative and the opinions on both sides are generally well thought out.  I hope we can keep it that way by respecting everyone’s opinion as adults.

    • Evan Findlay says:

      09:57pm | 04/06/10

      Wayne you don’t see any evidence of branch stacking because the blinkers are on or is it because you can’t see the branches for all the trees!

    • acker says:

      09:28am | 03/06/10

      Even Alex Hawke sounds very left wing compared to the likes of Cory Bernardi..cripes that party has spun a long way right.

    • AJ says:

      11:22am | 03/06/10

      Both labor and libs have been fighting for the middle for the last 20 years, if you think the libs are far right I think you are dreaming

    • Friar Tuck says:

      09:31am | 03/06/10

      The whole thing with Robin Hood was that he was standing up against the Government that were stealing the money from the people. I think you could probably cast Clive Palmer or Twiggy Forrest as Robin Hood in this scenario against Kevin Rudd who is more like the Sheriff of Nottingham!

    • Russ says:

      09:31am | 03/06/10

      Its high time people started to understand that the government is just too large.  Ronald Reagan reduced the top tax rate in America from 70% to 28% and over the coming years the country boomed.  The only reason Krudd and co want to increase taxes is because they cant live within their means.  We should all be revolting against all politicians in Australia at all levels about the level of taxation we pay.  Reduce the intake and they will have to reduce their outgoings.  Start by reducing the size of the government and the massive over regulation we have in this country.

      This is not a labor or liberal post.  All government must be forced to reduce its size and meddling.

    • Darren says:

      09:34am | 03/06/10

      so wealth that is unearned should be taxed then Alex - are you proposing an inheritance tax?

    • Jane says:

      10:58am | 03/06/10

      .....Alex may not be but the ALP are.

    • Jane says:

      11:45am | 03/06/10

      Policy proposals for consideration in the ALP Policy Review process
      Inheritance tax and Wealth tax
      http://www.fabian.org.au/975.asp

    • Darren says:

      04:16pm | 03/06/10

      wow Jane - so the Fabians are now setting ALP policy - that would be news to them!

    • Bruce says:

      10:07am | 03/06/10

      So who are we calling Robbing Hood ?

    • Dougy says:

      10:18am | 03/06/10

      “Since 2007 Mr Rudd and Mr Swan have regularly gone out of their way to promote that they are some sort of modern day Robin Hoods.”

      Can you provide one example of this?

    • Nigel Catchlove says:

      12:48pm | 03/06/10

      Oh come on - think about it.

      How about $900 cheques to the ‘poor’, taken from the tax paid by the ‘rich’.  It’s not even a subtle example, it’s a blatant example of taking from the rich and giving to the poor.  How much more like Robin Hood can Rudd be?

    • N says:

      01:43pm | 03/06/10

      How about the multiple handouts of $900 to all and sundry who earned less than 90K per annum…

    • MenarefromMars says:

      01:57pm | 03/06/10

      Nigel & N: $900 cheques weren’t paid for by the rich, they were put on the National credit card.

    • N says:

      02:18pm | 03/06/10

      Of which the “rich” will pay more in taxes per person to reduce this debt without getting a $900 bribe in the first instance. Now, one could argue that this outlay helped our economy, however that’s open to debate and one that will rage for years. But let’s say that the cash splurge helped the economy and helped the ASX recover. Many of the “rich”, myself included, made a good deal of money on the rebound, and the $900 thing was just a passing grumble. However we now have the government meddling and striking fear into our most lucrative sector, mining, which has spooked investors and sunken share prices, all on the pretence of giving to “average Australian families”, Robin Rudd strikes again.

    • Matt Stewart says:

      02:31pm | 03/06/10

      Yeh, the order has been changed… He gave it to the poor, now he’s getting ready to steal it from the rich.  He’s not even as fiscally conservative as Robin Hood.

    • Kevin says:

      10:37am | 03/06/10

      These companies arn’t just increasing their profits because the’re “working harder”. They are increasing the’re profit on what “we” all own. Now, according to their advertising, the’re threatening to pull our super unless we tow the line. Hardly the good guys!.

    • Lorraine T says:

      10:40am | 03/06/10

      What partisan tripe! Someone has finally put together a strong argument in support of the tax here: http://www.miningtaxfacts.com.au - all supported by corresponding media sources. Address that, would you Alex?

    • Tom says:

      11:04am | 03/06/10

      “Wealth, in almost all cases in Australia today, is earned.”

      Absolute rot…kids from rich families stay rich, kids from poor families stay poor. Children from wealthier families get better educaiton, nutrituion etc and any deviation from this rule is the exception rather than the norm. You cannot seriously tell me that a kid from Balga (I’m from Perth) would have the same chances as a kid from Dalkeith. It’s not just about “earning” wealth as you so simply describe it but about the capacity to earn it that matters.

      Alex to back your lofty assertions and to truly reward effort, I can only assume you are advocating an inheritance tax?

      And pointing to the loony-Right Tea Party to justify your arguments is just plain silly, but probably indicates how far out of touch with regular Australians you really are.

    • AC says:

      12:04pm | 03/06/10

      The point he is making is that anyone, whether from a rich or poorer background, can be wealthy with hard work in this country. Look at all the immigrants who came here in the 60s, 70s. You are what you make of yourself and that should be encouraged. Some of the wealthiest people in Australia are self made - for example, Twiggy Forrest and Paul Little (of Toll). Its just whingers like you who don’t want to put in the hard work but want all the rewards that will bring this country down. Absolutely sick of the tall poppy syndrome in this country.

    • notsurprised says:

      12:06pm | 03/06/10

      “...kids from poor families stay poor.” Only if they choose to Tom, because that kind of mentality is self defeatist. Taking out HECs for further education is always an option and thousands do to better their career positions. This is the short term sacrifice for long term gain that is limited only to ones effort and willingness to do so.

    • Comfortable not rich says:

      01:21pm | 03/06/10

      Tom, I am from Perth and grew up in Lockridge (not that upscail from Balga) .... definitely not Dalkeith.

      I worked hard and became successful. The area you are doesn’t make the man - the man makes the man. If you wanter to better yourself then using the excuse of where I came from or nothing was handed to be isnt going to help. If you want to do something put in the work to achieve it.

    • Saskia says:

      01:21pm | 03/06/10

      Tom:  Sadly people of your ilk and mindset is all that is wrong with so much in Australia today.  So what if you were not born ‘rich’ YOU still have your whole life to study, work, learn, build wealth for yourself if YOU so wish.

      Stop blaming others for your shortcomings.  Stop cutting tall poppies and taking money from others to prop up your lifestyle.

      The world is full of people with guts and determination making a great life from very humble beginnings.  Why don’t you have these people as role models?  Enough of welfare dependency and whinge culture.

      And noone in Australia is truly poor.  You need to have a look in Asia and Africa if you want to see poverty.

      Get some perspective, stop blaming others and get working!  The glass is always half full!

    • SD says:

      01:59pm | 03/06/10

      To “Comfortable not rich” and “Saskia”:

      Tom is speaking of trends, not individual cases.

      Whilst some people from high SES families do perform poorly - this is not the norm.

      Whilst some people from low SES families do perform well - this too is not the norm.

      Tom is correct.

    • Jimmy III says:

      02:00pm | 03/06/10

      Ah yes the world famous ghettos of Balgo in the slum city of Perth.  Its a wonder you even have the money to afford the internet.  Poor darling.

    • Willy_K says:

      02:15pm | 03/06/10

      SD.  What cobblers.

      And if it were true - so what?

      Its like saying most welfare dependent and lower IQ people vote ALP.  Except this is true.

    • SD says:

      04:11pm | 03/06/10

      Willy_K:

      You ask “so what?”

      The answer to your question is quite plainly stated in my sentence:

      “Tom is speaking of trends, not individual cases.”

      In regard to your later premise “Its like saying most welfare dependent and lower IQ people vote ALP”; here you correctly state an example of a trend function. Well done. However, by doing so, you manage to contradict your earlier query of “so what?”.

      We have two scenarios:
      1) You were actually trying to ask what my point was, but didn’t quite succeed in communicating this simple request. In this instance, I refer you to the above.

      Or

      2) You were not making a point at all.

      Which is it?

      Best, SD

    • Pete says:

      11:22am | 03/06/10

      Howard was the most socialist “conservative” government this country has had yet in terms of increasing “wealth distribution” (aka vote buying by spending billions) via middle class welfare.

      And I notice that you hypocritical conservatives, are falling over each other to get on your fat socialist pensions (like Howard) that are mostly paid for by PAYE taxpayers not big business. Fact.

    • Rick says:

      11:38am | 03/06/10

      Great article. Yes, taking from the rich (when they’ve earned it) and giving it to the poor (when they don’t deserve it, e.g. couch potatoes) creates a sense of entitlement to what’s not yours and resentfulness when you don’t get more of the same that is not yours.

      The analogy of Robin Hood would apply more if we compare “the rich” not to the hard-wroking wealthy, but more to the government who many times use taxpayer’s money for reckless spending - remember KRudd’s stories about his luxurious flights - most of that luxury totally unnecessary. This should be better regulated and that wealth better distributed.

    • bella starkey says:

      11:41am | 03/06/10

      Alex Hawke, is he the one that made the Hitler video, or the one that the video was about?

    • Pete says:

      12:02pm | 03/06/10

      Watch some of Rudds ads and get educated mate! For free!

    • dovif says:

      05:11pm | 03/06/10

      Where they tell you that, if you spend $100 on a mine, and make $101, you are paying .3% tax, because the government can choose to not allow you to claim a deduction on the building of the mine, you deserve a super tax ... whether you believe the miner’s real tax rate verified by an Auditor, or this government’s spin is up to you

      But you are listening to too much spin from Rudd

      You can “make up” some scary facts if you disallow Banks, Manufacturing company and retail company some of their deductions too

      Banks - if we do not allow interest expense, you are paying .001% tax ... a super tax on you
      Manufacturing company -if we do not allow you to claim wages, you are paying .03% tax, a super tax on you
      Retail -if we do not allow you to claim your stock as deduction, you are paying .01% tax, a super tax on you

      Pete - your have too much trust in politician

    • A Howard Battler, now part of a Working Family says:

      12:15pm | 03/06/10

      Alex, welcome to the punch, and well done on a very interesting article. I think you have finally said what many of the mainstream in Australia are saying. The silent majority, the forgotten people as Menzies would call them - are being punished by this Government for their mismanagement of this economy. I work in research and can tell you that 90% of our innovation in technology these days - advancements to our society - come from the private sector. Not from Universities or career academics from big government. But by encouraging Australian companies to invest, take risks, and take on employees. All Australians benefit from our great companies innovation via economic benefits or technological advancements - Dave, these are the fruits of the forest that society enjoys. For a country of our size, we have had an unbelievable track record of great companies being very innovative and daring on the world stage. What Rudd is doing is destroying this legacy, sending out a message that innovation is not worth the investment and this will harm everyone in the future.

      Dougy, the examples mentioned were the means testing of the 30pc rebate on health insurance for singles over $75,000 and Families over $150,000 – and now the mining tax.

      Lorraine, I did read that page. I think for part 2 – mining resources are more infinite than 99% people understand. As technology improves, we are able to drill and dig deeper, and as extraction techniques and efficiencies also increase, a lot more resources are becoming viable. Never the less, price increases in the off chance we were running out would slow demand for that resource, shifting it to a resource that is more plentiful. Part 3 – I think everyone knows that Swan is displaying the incorrect charts. A simple look at the broadsheets in the Fairfax papers shows that. Number 4 should really say “Fact: This is a tax to recoup Rudd’s wasteful spending, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it” and number five missed out the big statistic: Unemployment in this country will undoubtedly rise – no if’s or buts!

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      05:56pm | 03/06/10

      Hmm Let’s see- It was the Liberals that abolished the 150% R+D tax deduction and starved the CSIRO and universities of research funding (as an aside congrats to CSIRO for winning their patent cases. You guys rock). And guess what- It is australian banks and investors that have been traditionally reluctant invest capital in inventions and innovations, so the inventors / innovators take their patent or idea overseas for capital.
      BTW I think the working family is hardly likely to give up their middle class welfare of baby bonus, family tax benefit A+B, private health subsidies, private education subsidies etc, so unless Alex Hawke is willing to repudiate the Howard era and it’s wealth redistribution from the single / childless couple PAYE to the family, he is a hypocrite….

    • stephen says:

      12:20pm | 03/06/10

      The idea that the rich should proportionately be taxed more that the poor somehow caters (rightly, too, I think), that generally speaking, the lowest paid are manual workers, and work harder than others.
      This is an old-fashioned notion, but I think it is still true.
      I’m talking about workers in the dry-cleaning/laundry field, delivery-drivers, retail, labourers, trades assistants, farm workers.
      These jobs are hard (I have done them all), and low paid, and in fact, I don’t know anybody in these jobs who does not work hard.
      I also know people who earn 5 Grand a week. Clear. Honestly, too.
      They went to Uni. So what. Learning a trade requires some serious study too. Mr Hawke likes to conflate things (Economists like to do this when they want to explain, then justify, an imbalance), as if the the rich deserve their wealth, whilst the poor deserve, and enjoy, their penury.
      Conservative thinking and its associative policies are for simple minds.
      They take in no account of history or psychology or sociology or any sophisticated human dynamics.

    • Andrew says:

      03:11pm | 03/06/10

      No offence but Codswallop.

      Manual labour is physically taxing sure but harder than any other type of work. I think not.

      Most manual labor work is 9 - 5 with morning tea, afternoon tea and at least an hour for lunch. I’m not suggesting its easy but c’mon, most of the Lawyers i know work 50+ hour weeks. Most of the businessmen I know who own their own small to medium enterprise work 60+ hours per week and personally guarantee their liabilities.

      I did manual labour jobs throughout school and uni and I didn’t like them, not because they were hard but because they were boring. I resolved to educate myself and earn more. I did that others can to. I paid off my HECs debt in 2 years and worked 12 hour days 6 days a week to get ahead. I got money together borrowed more took risk and started my own business. Made money sold business now just invest privately. Anyone can do it. Some of the most affluent guys I know are builders or carpenters who took some chances and moved into property development and they earnt a lot more than $5k per week.

      You can talk psychobabble all you like but at the end of the day, and I promise you this is true, if you resolve to be successful, if you picture yourself being successful, and if you are willing to make sacrifices, you will be successful. You would be surprised but about 90% of people who dream about doing something don’t attempt it and 90% of those who do try it give up without a fight.

    • Barry Ludger says:

      01:04pm | 03/06/10

      As a core Labor constituent, in my housing commission home, on the dole, having never even looked for a job in my life, I would just like to say that I feel I have earned a cut of the minerals income. /puts hand out

    • Adam says:

      06:46am | 05/06/10

      I hope you, Barry Bludger are just being sarcastic with regards to your comment.

    • Comfortable not rich says:

      01:15pm | 03/06/10

      I probably dont agree wiht all the comments but I see the point about the taxing the “rich” is being taken to extremes.

      I know in Perth cost of living has gone through the roof, housing, petrol etc. I have mortgage, car payments, electricity etc etc - pay the highest tax bracket, pay for private health insurance for the whole family, higher medi care levies etc

      I am on a decent salary but I worked hard to get here over many years and work a good 50 - 60 hrs per week to earn those dollars.

      I pay more in tax than alot of people earn gross, but people still scream out that the “rich” (really just living comfortable after putting in a lot of effort) should be paying even more tax and should be penalised for every cent they earn.

      I 100% agree that we should ALL be putting in for the good of all the country and for the benefit of all. I dont understand however, why people think people who have earned more money should pay more simply because they have more.

      What incentive is there to better yourself and earn more money for your family?

    • Holly says:

      01:46pm | 03/06/10

      Alex I have read your article several times and realise you have left out some key points.  Your first assumption is that industry gets where it does entirely from its own efforts.  I wonder how many billions of dollars successive governments have paid to business in what I call “industrial welfare” - the various tax concessions, start up grants etc not to mention that all ventures whinge about the lack of business ready employees so the state has been left to provide for their specific training requirements.  In a downturn business feels free to abandon employees and leave them to survive on the dole. During the Howard years there was an explosion in non means tested welfare- private health rebate, baby bonuses, child care rebate.  You seem to be complaining about the redistributive aspects of the proposed mining tax.  However this will in part be offset by the lower level of company tax.  Have you spoken to any small to medium business people who stand to gain from this.  Many small businesses earn $5,000,000 or more each year.  If Abbott is elected they stand to pay extra tax of 1.5% instead of having a drop of 2%.

    • Jimmy III says:

      01:53pm | 03/06/10

      Looks like the Kevin07 Stormtroopers are out in force today!  Cheech, Persephoney, ‘Real’ Christian, John Naive, Bob Charteris, and Acka make up the commandos.

      You have hit a raw nerve Alex!  This appalling govt is deep into its final days and all its cheerleaders can do now is point out unicorns.  Nothing will save Rudd from infamy and his kitchen cabinet of incompetent duds are so stained with failure and the stink of socialism by stealth that they are unelectable.

      The ALP is truly the party that time forgot.

    • Saskia says:

      02:25pm | 03/06/10

      Professional trolls.  They have got to be getting paid to defend the indefensible like this.  Agree.

      Best not to engage them.

    • persephone says:

      02:27pm | 03/06/10

      Um, I haven’t actually commented on this thread (well, up until now, anyway).

    • Hannah P says:

      02:37pm | 03/06/10

      I can just seem them all typing away all day flicking between Punch, GetUp!, Cr!ckey and the ALP website….  Poor dears.

    • Darren says:

      04:18pm | 03/06/10

      am I a troll as well?

    • AR says:

      03:11pm | 03/06/10

      Excellent article Alex, wish we had more people like you writing articles such as this!

      “It is as if for Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan, profit, success and self reliance have become part of the problem and not part of the solution.” SO TRUE!

      Keep up the great work!

    • Niles says:

      04:47pm | 03/06/10

      Hey AR - Alex says drinks at his house this Friday. Don’t forget his DVD of Mother and Son.

    • Ross says:

      05:20pm | 03/06/10

      A compassionate coalition ,honest business people and Robin Hood are all myths

    • Eye4anEye says:

      01:05pm | 04/06/10

      Correction on that one for you - should read compassionate politician on any stripe.

    • Russ says:

      05:45pm | 03/06/10

      You say “increase tax by 40 per cent on the most productive sector of our economy”.  I’m not sure how you spend your time in Canberra, Alex, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be in reading proposed legislation.  Like much of your article, this statement is complete rubbish.  If anyone in the coalition has managed to find a book on economics, try reading it.

    • ALH says:

      08:43pm | 03/06/10

      Fewer words of truth have been written about what the Rudd government is doing to this country.

    • Bleeding Heart says:

      12:24am | 04/06/10

      MMMm lets see, if a current employee falls pregnant and cannot continue to fulfill the requirements of the role that they were employed under, they can apply to Fair Work Australia to be allowed to stay home on full pay.
      Compassionate by all means but not altogether fair is it?
      Contrary to the belief of some bloggers, during the down turn most employees who were “laid off” were more than likely mae redundant and paid out accordingly.
      As far as labour govts are concerned, any that earn over 50K a year are considered “rich or wealthy”
      The ALP doesnt deal in incentive or reward, it deals only in division and class warfare.
      They want us all to be the same, earning the same, they havent quite got over the fact that most of the time people dont like what they sell.

    • Mark says:

      07:49pm | 05/06/10

      Sorry the miners are just like fishermen, that just take what nature has laid out. They neither create nor sow new wealth.
      Most of these companies laid off their exploration staff prior to the last boom and hence many rich areas they have stacked a claim for, lie undeveloped despite be economical to do so , even under the future proposed tax regime.
      They do little in the way of training staff from a low base , for years they used up people from trade areas that were trained by the big government utilities (as these have been privatized we now have a skills shortage).
      As trades people became more expensive, instead of training people themselves, they scream for government intervention in the form of skilled migration.
      Again harvesting skilled workers that others have paid to train.

      The big mining companies are parasites that feed of our mineral wealth and our intellectual capital and they return little for it in terms of intellectual and material wealth.

      No down stream processing, no manufacturing infrastructure, the minimum in training , minimum investment in local communities and willing to campaign actively in the political area to minimize they tax outlay.

      We all know who Tony Abbott works for.

      I have worked for mining companies my whole life both on the tools and in management roles , I know how they operate

    • Harquebus says:

      04:07pm | 06/06/10

      I wholeheartedly support this new tax and have no sympathy for those who have been exploiting our natural resources for decades. So there!

    • Anthony Fryer says:

      09:27am | 07/06/10

      Isn’t it ironic that one of KRudd’s adverts extolling the virtues of the great big tax is now showing at the top of my browser as I read this article?  Everything this government and labour in general does is a comedy of errors.  It would be funny except its destroying my country.  I’ve run out of fingers to count the failures of Krudd and co.  Insulation (my old man had a reputable company selling insulation and got left with $75K stockpile when the gov pulled the plug without notice), education revolution (overprice renovations for schools), internet filter (i mean come on..does conroy even know what the internet is), soft Asylum seeker policy, recklessly giving out the entire budget surpless created by the prev government and now desperately dreaming up ways to pay for it by destroying the cornerstone of our economy.

    • Kris says:

      04:13pm | 14/06/10

      What the Resources Super Tax does is make companies who are currently paying 27.8% company tax + another 13-17% in state royalties (ie they currently pay more than 40% tax on their Australian profits) pay at least 27.8% + 40% super tax.

      This is a tax on superannuation funds and personal investments in mining company shares. I don’t know of anyone who would be happy to pay 67.8% tax on their investments! The mining companies are understandably upset and will focus on mining in other countries costing Australian jobs. 

      If you make a long term investment in a business (the stability of laws and taxes being a major factor in your investment decision) and the Government singles you out and says you suddenly need to pay much more tax than anyone else how would you feel?

 

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