AS I log onto ABC’s iView to watch the last episode of Gruen Planet, I can’t help but laugh at the timing. This is an analysis program about spin, branding and image control, on the back of the highly successful Gruen Transfer.
Well, I have a nomination for next week’s program, The Prime Minister’s two-day tax forum. This event appears to be even more talk-but-no-action from the Gillard Government. A Labor government seeming to help the masses by review the way Australians are taxed, and putting in the relevant tax breaks, is a great look but it is not doing anything but help Gillard stop her falling lower in the polls.
So the forum is centered on getting a bunch of companies to discuss for a few days the ways they think taxation can be reformed in Australia. All well and good to do this, Julia, but if we want to discuss tax, how about we use the money efficiently?
The Future Tax System Review was intended to guide Australia through the next decade or two by providing the government with recommendations on how to make taxation simpler, more efficient and move into the 21st century.
Now here’s the juicy bit. To compliment this, in June 2009, the panel held A TWO-DAY CONFERENCE which “provided an opportunity for leading international experts and a range of academics and stakeholders to debate leading edge tax and transfer policy issues.”
The Rudd government was presented with 138 specific recommendations when the report was published in May 2010. Rudd, his Treasurer, Wayne Swan, and the rest of the government took just three recommendations on board. One of those was the Resources Super Profit Tax which ultimately spelled the end of Rudd’s prime ministership. Rudd was not finished because the Henry Review recommendation was poor, but because his policy and resulting marketing of it was horrible.
So what is this Gillard Tax Forum actually going to achieve? Other than being able to discuss GST and superannuation taxation, it will only repeat the same things that Henry and his mates spent two years working on.
Henry: Recommendation 50: The Australian and State governments should abolish fees and stamp duties on the transfer of interests in a resource project except those related to administrative costs.
Gillard: (from The Canberra Times) Academics and housing industry representatives yesterday used the Federal Government’s tax forum to call for the abolition of stamp duty and insurance taxes.
As I continue watching Wil Anderson make jokes about Hooters’ new advertising, Gruen Planet is indirectly reminding me of something. Governments do not need to do anything productive. They do need to pretend that they are doing things. Are they really representing us?
Political reform anyone?