What if I told you there was a way to make housing more affordable, cut congestion on our roads, lower unemployment, boost productivity and stimulate economic activity?
Would you do it?
‘No’, is the answer if you are federal assistant Treasurer David Bradbury.Mr Bradbury thinks a proposal by state treasurers to abolish their stamp duties on property sales in return for a bigger slice of federal government revenue is ridiculous and ham-fisted.
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Last year BHP helped prove that crying wolf works, provided you crank the volume up to 11. Along with the other mining giants, they managed to convince Australians that paying anywhere near a fair amount of tax would somehow cripple their companies – and the nation.
We know now how the scare campaign played out: a Prime Minister was rolled, a new one installed and the Resources Super Profit Tax became the Mineral Resources Rent Tax.
Within 24 hours this week, in what can only be attributed to a divine act of timing, Australians have discovered how much mining wealth the nation lost and how quickly it’s made by those who squealed so loudly. Yesterday, BHP Billiton announced half-year net profits had surged 72 per cent – to $10.6 billion dollars.
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Last weekend - while you were taking the kids to the beach, buying those extra back-to-school necessities, or for many, still counting the toll of recent devastating floods – unleaded petrol prices in capital cities rose an average 15 cents a litre at Coles and Woolworths outlets to a massive 143.9 cents per litre. And those ridiculous rises were matched in part by the Independents and other chains.
So what’s the story?
On Saturday, the wholesale price of petrol actually dropped by more than half a cent, yet on the weekend we were hit with a massive 15 cent increase. The size of the hike was described as “staggering” by FUELtrac general manager Greg Trotter. He rightly pointed out that the prices we are now paying at the pump rival those records in 2008 when oil hit a peak of $US145 a barrel. The big difference is that the current price of oil is only around the $US90 mark.
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Many Australian’s are becoming increasingly concerned by unchecked corporate power, a view cemented by the recent mining sector campaign which within just a few months resulted in a sitting Prime Minister being rolled and billions cut from their tax bills.
Nearly fifty years ago, Labor was attacked for being run by “faceless men” when the leadership team of Calwell and Whitlam were photographed peaking through a doorway, waiting for a room of unelected party officials to dictated their policy.
These days it seems a whole new group has claimed the role, wielding a disproportionate influence on the levers of power in Canberra, with both sides of politics appearing beholden to the will of the corporate sector.
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I’m not quite sure if or when I became cool, but if I did, I know for certain smoking had nothing to do with it.
When I was a kid one of my best mates was my next-door neighbour Brett. Brett was a smoker. Brett was always going to be a smoker. His mum smoked, his dad smoked, his older brother smoked – if Brett didn’t smoke he would have almost been betraying the family name. Brett was an honour smoker, and a good mate. Although he did once try to beat me up.
Each morning Brett and I would head off early and walk to school “the back way”, so I could enjoy a pleasant dawn service of standing around like an idiot watching Brett and a bunch of kids smoke their lungs out. I think I did this every day of my entire high-schooling career, and for some reason I never smoked. Ever. But even though I thought it was disgusting, I always knew smoking was undeniably cool.
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Federal government tax on cigarettes goes up by 25 per cent from midnight tonight. Here’s a quick calculation on what it means for me. I usually smoke eight 20-packs of the revolting, filthy things each week.
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My first reaction to James Packer’s claims that casinos contribute positively to the community was, ‘Spoken like a true billionaire’.
The comments seemed as removed from reality as James’ fortune allows him to be.
Specifically James told the Crown AGM:” Next time you read an unbalanced story about…casinos and their impact on the community, stop and think about the other side of the story.” And that story as James tells it seems to be a work of fiction.
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When entrepreneurs or the bosses of industrial giants are deciding where to spend their money, it’s a fair bet they’re not asking which country has the cleverest marketing slogan.
Trade Minister Simon Crean is looking for ideas for a new “brand” for Australia. He’s arguing that we need to be more like New Zealand.
With respect to the Kiwis and their “100% Pure” branding exercise, slogans and slick logos are not the key drivers of success in the global economy.
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Over the past 18 months I have regularly been presented with two opposing yet pretty extreme views on the issue of sports funding.
On one hand you have the sport die hards who set the sky as the limit; you know the argument - give sport whatever it takes to win gold, gold, gold or whatever dollars is needed to beat the Poms at everything and anything!
Then there is, quite literally, the other side of the coin. Why should we use taxpayers money to fund those athletes that are already exceptionally well paid to fly around the world to play games when the money could be better spent on…please insert policy priority of choice.
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