Would you be willing to pay an extra $9 every time you fill the car with petrol if it would help fund the national disability insurance scheme?

Was THIS pooch taxpayer funded?

Should the rate or reach of the GST be increased to give the states more money for education?

Or are these lazy options for governments who already collect enough tax and simply waste what they’ve got?

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  • PW says:

    06:39pm | 23/11/12

    “Earning over $150,000 doesn’t make you rich. It makes you comfortable. “ It’s not how much you earn that matters, its how much you spend. Read more »

  • Rodo says:

    05:19pm | 23/11/12

    Lets not forget the ever increasing cost of our judicial system and top public servents are earning on average $500k per year! no wonder we tell our kids to become a lawyer (or doctor)!?.  And to remember this is all funded by our tax dollars!. Read more »


In an episode of the 1970s comedy series The Goodies, Graeme Garden is so taken by the power of his pirate radio station transmitting from a submarine outside the 12 mile limit, he succumbs to megalomania. He draws up plans to insert a giant hydraulic car jack between Britain and the continent to hoist the whole island outside its own 12 mile limit.

Sound familiar?

A fortnight ago the Gillard Government unveiled its latest capitulation on asylum seeker policy: a plan to excise the entire Australian continent from its own migration laws.

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  • chuck says:

    04:02pm | 16/11/12

    So called refugee advocates are paid to be just that and in between the bleeding of $‘s into their respective pockets and grandstand ego displays on TV they are little better than social engineers and at worst 5th columnists. I have to agree with Leigh the UN is a basket… Read more »

  • St. Michael says:

    03:53pm | 16/11/12

    “Had Howard won in 2007 and subsequently handed over to Costello we would be in much better shape than now. All the crap mentioned in this article woyuld not be happening.” I would concede the sentiments of your post, Esteban—we need courageous political leaders, now more than ever—but respectfully, this… Read more »


Rarely do governments have an opportunity to close a tax loophole and keep people happy at the same time. They’re almost as rare as chicken’s teeth.

This is a win-win, you say? Photo: AFP

That’s why when business groups come together to argue for a change to the tax system, which will raise more revenue, a smart government ought to seize the opportunity.

In recent weeks we’ve heard an emerging chorus of business leaders call on the Gillard Government to close a growing tax loophole which allows foreign online retailers to avoid collecting the GST when selling goods worth less than $1000 over the Internet.

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  • Rose says:

    05:38pm | 13/11/12

    Esteban, agreed, but ultimately, every retailer must give you a good reason to choose their business over another, whether it be another shop or an online competitor. There are some shops that provide great service and competitive prices and I will always use them as my first point of call.… Read more »

  • Pat says:

    03:58pm | 13/11/12

    Wasn’t there some other guy who used to beat up on Government all the time from the Queensland retailers? I’ve never heard of Trevor Evans and there are that many Queensland based retail groups it’s impossible to keep track. They have clearly not done a very effective job, the only… Read more »


A common theory is that the Libs, like other conservatives around the world, have derailed the climate change debate by portraying the near universal consensus of serious scientists as an either/or thing. It’s like arguing that a 100-1 shot at the races is an even money chance because it either will win or it won’t.

To push their agenda, the conservatives have paraded attention-seeking deniers like “Lord” Monckton as heroes. They have also seized on so-called data manipulators, like that mob at the Uni of East Anglia, and trumpeted their alleged conspiracy to the world, even though their science has since been shown to be totally kosher.

The ploy has worked spectacularly, too. Any number of polls show that Australians are more or less split down the middle on whether anthropogenic climate change is happening. But phase two of the anti-AGW campaign is much more insidious. Phase two is about boring the public to death. And it’s working a treat.

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  • Zeddy says:

    07:53pm | 11/07/11

    Because we only emit 1-2% of the worlds CO2, nothing we do is going to make any difference to global warming. We in Australia need not be in any hurry to do anything ourselves, until the US and China start reducing their enormous CO2 outputs. Absolutely no CO2s will be… Read more »

  • Damocles says:

    11:12pm | 10/07/11

    James, Ha ha ha…YOU’LL be paying BIG time for your “carbon dioxide tax”! I won’t cause I’m a pensioner…...laughs on YOU!! Read more »


When 150 business and union leaders, academics, accountants, bureaucrats and politicians gather this October for the long-awaited tax summit, few believe it will result in rapid change. This is tax policy after all. As someone once observed: “it’s not rocket science, it’s more complicated”.

Henry tells it like it is. Cartoon: Peter Nicholson

While the summit, or “forum” - as the Government now calls it having been dragged to it in the deal with independents to form a minority government - will be more substantial than Kevin Rudd’s celebrity-heavy 2020 ideas summit, only the sunniest of optimists expect actual measurable change to come from it in the short term.

Rather, the hope now is that approaching four years since the then Treasury Secretary Ken Henry started the process, the Government will map out the field.

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  • Scungurce says:

    05:20pm | 03/09/12

    Im going to end it shortly Read more »

  • Azzure says:

    01:52pm | 08/07/11

    Why should I work harder to pay more tax when I use less of the public resources than people who earn less than me and as a result pay less tax. Lets put this in perspective. - I PAY out of my own pocket for health insurance and all of… Read more »


The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and successive governments have failed to curb retailers’ increasing market power, which is why Australians pay more at the store.

Illustration: Sturt Krygsman

Gerry Harvey may be one of Australia’s well known and most successful “traditional” retailers, but he has seriously misjudged the consumer support for online retailing. He is not alone in getting it wrong. Major retailers and shopping centre landlords have also been very unhappy with Australian consumers going online to buy from overseas websites.

Why are the major retailers and shopping centre landlords unhappy with the growth of online retailing?  Simply because online retailing offers very strong competition to the major retailers and shopping centre landlords. In the “old” days before the rise of the internet, consumers were basically forced to visit shopping centres and department stores to purchase products.

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  • Shifter says:

    01:09pm | 20/01/11

    @Zach @Ironside Only certain distributors do this. 2K is a prime example. Others (EA from memory) have identical prices in all regions. The reason for the price difference is backlash from bricks and mortar stores to certain distributors in Australia. The exclusive distribution rights of middle man companies has been… Read more »

  • Deb says:

    12:50pm | 20/01/11

    My husband recently went looking for safety chaps to use when cutting wood with a chainsaw on our property.  The cheap Chinese pair on sale at the local hardware super-retailer cost the same as the competition standard US pair he ordered over the internet, including postage.  GST is not the… Read more »


Sometimes you’ve just got to laugh in the face of brazen hypocrisy and insincerity. It can be pretty funny, after all.

Gerry Harvey is astounded by the negative reaction to his proposal. Pic: Alan Pryke

One of my favourites was last year’s public campaign from the ‘Alliance of Australian Retailers’ railing against the mooted introduction of plain cigarette packaging.

Their hilarious (but deadly serious) message was “It won’t work so why do it?” Which, for me, prompted two questions: 1. Shouldn’t that question have a comma in the middle of it? And, 2. If you’re so sure it won’t work, why are you wasting around $9 million on an ad campaign to try and stop it?

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  • bargearse says:

    10:14pm | 11/01/11

    I agree with the posts above relating to the implementation costs of imposing GST on OS purchases being the ‘real’  reason Gerry Harvey et al want the GST imposed. He may be an old codger, but he’s a good enough business man to know that making items 10% more expensive… Read more »

  • Barry says:

    11:17pm | 10/01/11

    I will believe what you say when you apply equal exposure to the other side. Your article seems to be very one sided. Read more »


Rather than go in to bat for Australian consumers, local retailers are supporting a campaign to reduce competition and make us pay more. With that attitude, it’s little wonder so many of us are looking online when we go shopping. 

I'm telling you, they're putting the squeeze on us! Pic: James Croucher.

Electronics retailer Gerry Harvey kicked off the war against consumers last November when he called on the government to remove the GST exemption for goods purchased online from overseas.

He also revealed that lobbying of politicians to effect this outcome had been underway for some time. 

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  • PPK says:

    02:05am | 24/06/12

    When you think about it,us consumers are a pretty short sighted lot. Yes, there are some retailers out there gouging the price out some things but I have to say most have pretty reasonable pricing.Hell, I ve come across a bunch of Ebay sellers who advertise really cheap prices and… Read more »

  • Reg says:

    09:29am | 06/01/11

    KH,... I lived in the US for some time and it came as a very pleasant surprise to find that clothes stores stocked just about every combination of trouser and shirt arm, leg and waist measurement one could imagine. (In season) But that wasn’t the only thing. The clothes from… Read more »


With the coming release of John Howard’s autobiography, Lazarus Rising, it’s worth considering Howard’s standing in Australia’s political history, and to compare him to his arch-nemesis, Paul Keating. 

Keating vs Howard. Cartoon: Warren Brown.

John Howard and Paul Keating were political titans for 30 years but were vastly different politicians—and famously couldn’t stand each other.

Australian politics has enjoyed many compelling rivalries, such as Keating and Bob Hawke, Howard and Peter Costello and Julie Bishop and a garden gnome, but none have been as rancorous as between Keating and Howard. 

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  • TEAM NOTHIN says:

    02:22pm | 28/11/11

    Keating was better? let’s take a look. 1)Ok he floated the dollar.Now its killing our exports and share market. It may have benefiied us when it was 60c but floating means that. It floats.Now it’s sky high and its murdering the economy. 2)He deregualted the banks and liberalised the financial… Read more »

  • roy says:

    12:40pm | 29/04/11

    Eric you’re one weird viking—you disliked Keating for his progressive policies in the bettering of womens rights and living standards I bet there is no horns on your helmet Read more »


Please let us be honest about what we have just seen happen in this country over the last few weeks culminating in COAG.

Blame game will continue under health plan. Photo: Getty Images

The Prime Minister has successfully achieved a GST grab from the states, all but one, under the guise of “the most revolutionary health reform since the advent of Medicare”.

It is not a health reform agenda. It is a GST reform with a health bribe as an inducement to the States and more importantly, to con the general public.  The Federal government proclaiming that it is for the first time assuming dominant funding responsibility for health over the States in a 60/40 split it is a proclamation made with State money taken with the right hand and given back with the left. What is taken and not given back is State control over increasing portions of GST income.

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  • Mark says:

    12:10pm | 28/04/10

    Lies Pers, just Lies. Rudd has run from his greatest elstion promise. He campaigned on it. Had a mandate for it. So he says. Coward. Stop the lies Pers. Read more »

  • Izzy says:

    11:30pm | 27/04/10

    As an emergency doctor working in Queensland (but it could be anywhere) I thought I’d share my view on part of the new “reform” - the four hour access target for emergency departments. The Rudd press release very cleverly stated that almost 1 in 3 patients wait longer in emergency… Read more »


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