9 June 2000. Thought for the Week: As G.K. Chesterton put it: "These madmen with their political Utopias have lost everything except their reason: inside their system of reason all is consistency: but their whole system is out of consistency with reality".
Let us, therefore, be careful never to lose sight of the real issue. Is it possible for collective humanity, loaded with imperfections, to find a quick and easy salvation in that new kind of society that has captured the imagination and enlisted the zeal of so many educated people in the Western world?
Gustave Thibon writes, (The) "Social Gospel": It is not a promise, an embryo of Christianity: it is a cancer - there is an outward resemblance between the two things, as every biologist knows - which develops in the Christian organism when it is impoverished and corrupt... The Christian idea is menaced today by its contrary and by its parody simultaneously: by those who deny it and by those who prostitute it. The jaws of the pincers are equally repulsive."
"Truth Out of Africa" by Ivor Benson, 1992
NOT THE END - BUT THE BEGINNING
by Jeremy Lee
The depth of the coming reaction has
yet to be ascertained. The recent figures quoted in On Target
on the advertising costs for the G.S.T. were seriously under-estimated.
The Australian (30/5/2000) reported that ".... Tax
officers revealed in a Senate estimates hearings that the
bill for advertising, promotion and education for all the
tax changes on July 1 had now topped $410 million ...."
Included in the money spent was $270,000 for a song by the aged rock-star (and former alcoholic) Joe Cocker called "Unchain My Heart", which provided a maudlin background to various pictures of men, women and lawn bowls shedding their shackles. The only image invoked in this writer was Karl Marx's famous Manifesto slogan, "You have nothing to lose but your chains!"
Prime Minister Howard's reaction when
question was explained thus by The Australian: " ....
John Howard said the advertising and a proposed mail-out to
taxpayers was no different to the campaign run by the Hawke
Labor Government promoting changes to superannuation. 'There
were booklets showing money literally growing on trees. It
was one of the most outrageous advertisements ever funded
by Australian taxpayers,' the Prime Minister said ...." Many
a true word!
BUSINESSES ALREADY CLOSINGTypical of what is happening in many areas of Australia was the recent front page of The Chronicle (Toowoomba, 2/6/2000): Under the heading "G.S.T. 'THE LAST STRAW - CORNER STORE DATING BACK TO 1925 CLOSES' the article gave details of a Toowoomba corner-store 'icon' closing its doors, adding: " ....by the month's end the carnage of corner stores, all within a 5km radius, will number five in three months ...." This, presumably - along with the loss of farmers, manufacturing industries and jobs - is what the Federal Government is pleased to call "growth-and-recovery".
So consuming has been the rush by the
Government to get the G.S.T. up and running at all costs that
it has apparently left sound law-making out of consideration.
Under the heading "RUSH LEAVES NEW TAX LAWS RIDDLED WITH MISTAKES",
The Australian Financial Review (2/6/2000) reported:
'It would be fair to say that there
will be as many defects in the new law as there are in the
old law - because of the rush in the way it is being done,'
barrister Mr. Tony Slater Q.C. told The Australian Financial
Review this week. 'The G.S.T., for example hasn't even
come into force yet and already the second edition of the
act is out of date.' "Mr. Slater said practitioners were suffering
from 'amendment fatigue', while the problems for drafters
were evidenced by the 'remarkable range of errors that have
crept into the legislative process'.
Corrections to amending acts are being
hidden away in the back of other amending acts.' Meanwhile,
there are problems with changes that have been announced but
have not progressed beyond press statements ..... " There
followed a number of similar comments from lawyers and barristers,
deeply concerned with the shoddy and massive legislation for
the G.S.T. The head of the Victorian Law Institute's tax committee,
Mr. Tony Reardon, was quoted as saying: "They are so hell-bent
on getting legislation out that it is likely to be defective
and no-one thinks they will devote adequate resources to fixing
it," Mr. Reardon said.
We have no doubt Mr. Reardon is right. Furthermore, the bulk of the legislative provisions will never be seen by members in parliament. They are simply churned out by technicians in bureaucracies, under the "enabling legislation" built into the Acts which went before parliament The end result is likely to be very different from what the politicians who debated the original Bills believe.
THE G.S.T. IS PROBABLY ILLEGAL
Hanging over the heads of Prime Minister Howard and his henchman Peter Costello is the probability that the whole G.S.T. package contravenes the Constitution. They probably hope that the issue is too costly to be tested in Australia's High Court, and that, once in place, legal action will be confined to anomalies rather than the validity of the whole thing.
The Constitution has two clauses which are clear and concise: Firstly, among the 39 "Heads of Power" granted to the Commonwealth at Federation, Section 51, Clause 2 gives the Commonwealth power over: "Taxation; but so as not to discriminate between States, or parts of States". Lest there should be any confusion, the same principle is repeated in Section 99, which reads: "The Commonwealth shall not, by any law or regulation of trade, commerce, or revenue, give preference to one State or any part thereof over another State or any part thereof."
With the above in mind the following
article from a small monthly journal The Bugle (5/2000),
published in the Brisbane suburb of Redcliffe, is printed
with acknowledgment. The author is Chris Morris; the heading,
In ANY interpretation of this clause, it is irrefutable that a person must not be unfairly disadvantaged by Federal taxation, just because they live in a different part of the State to someone else. Now take the simple instance of a can of beans. A can of beans in Brisbane costs, say, $1 retail, but in Longreach, it might cost $1.20 retail. The actual amount of G.S.T. (10% of the retail price) on the same item is more in the bush than the city. The same could apply to absolutely any item at all. So someone living in a remote area pays more actual tax for the same goods than someone in the city. As long as the tax is a percentage of retail price it must discriminate between parts of States and is therefore unconstitutional and illegal! The only way out of the dilemma would be to introduce price control on everything retailed in Australia - (not a chance) - or to hold a referendum to change the Constitution - (also no chance) - or to admit the error and repeal the G.S.T. legislation.
So what will happen? When the question was put to Liberal Federal Member for Petrie, Ms. Gambaro, her office said this question had "never been put to them before". Staff were very friendly and helpful, and within two days replied to the effect that the point was understood, but various compensation packages in regional areas nullified the disadvantage. (The offer was made to research a written submission, which will be accepted, and publicised in this medium ....Ed.) This is an important point. As one concerned citizen, Sterling Bower of Scarborough (Qld.) said: "A government which has to have compensation packages is admitting that it has caused disadvantages in the first place."
Now, even the Government's compensation system seems to be at issue, according to The Australian's Bernard Lane, in an article on 15/5/2000, titled "CHEAP BUSH FUEL COULD BREAK LAW". In an interview with Mr. George Williams, Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University, it was proposed that these compensatory packages could breach Section 99 of the Constitution, which forbids discriminating between regions in commerce, trade or revenue. This would be reversing the scenario, where some people in the bush would receive money from Revenue - as compensation admittedly - but still, not received by their counterparts in the City.
The Tax Office's Paul Tregillis, an assistant commissioner, says these fuel compensation programs have been set up as direct money grants to service stations and road transport interests, rather than rebates of G.S.T. or excise, because the Constitution prohibited a regionally discriminatory tax. Mr. Williams, however, believes the High Court might still regard these grants as rebates of a discriminatory tax.
Obviously, the principle is that even
if some of the tax is handed back, if the original tax is
discriminatory, it is illegal. Consider this: all that fuss
is only about fuel! What about everything else? What do others
have to say about the G.S.T. illegality?
The Constitution specifically forbids any law imposing a tax which discriminates between parts of States, and the G.S.T. does just that! Whether or not compensation packages are later tacked on is irrelevant. Even whether the compensation packages are legal or not is irrelevant. The G.S.T. itself is illegal! (end of article)
The article above has caused widespread interest, with copies of The Bugle disappearing within hours of distribution. Rumour hath it that the article has caused anger and dismay in the highest circles in Canberra. Astonishingly, the National Party, which has always claimed to be a voice for the bush, has so far made no protest against a tax which mitigates heavily against its own constituency.
by Betty Luks
This is the unreality of George Orwell's 1984!
THE MYTHICAL BEAST OF OPTION 2
Reports are going out to the business community that the Howard government intends to go ahead with the implementation of the Ralph Report's Option 2; a cash flow/tax value method of calculating taxable income. Tax Advisers are saying this will dramatically change the way companies calculate taxable income and will result in the throwing out of many decades of legislation, determinations and case law.
It was in November 1999 Alan Kohler warned in an article in the Australian Financial Review, "There will be no more secrets from the tax man. This basic truth is simply not understood." He wrote, "Between Howard's 1997 G.S.T. conversion and the so-called ANTS paper (A New Tax System) in August 1998, Treasury and Tax Office officials took hold of the process and turned it into something more than just a Goods and Services Tax.
Chapter 4 of ANTS was the key section. It is called 'Reform to tax administration' and, at the time, looked boring and was widely ignored in the flurry of excitement about the G.S.T. and the personal income tax cuts... more notice should have been taken of the following paragraph in the 1998 document: 'The G.S.T., the alignment of business tax payments, the establishment of the A.B.N. and the new withholding arrangements will, together, result in more timely receipt of better information and a more comprehensive matching capability for the Tax Office to act upon. The level of integration of the G.S.T. into the tax system as a whole will be a key feature of the government's approach."
As for the mythical beast Option 2 to
which Alan Kohler referred: "Once the G.S.T., the alignment
of business tax payments, the establishment of the A.B.N.
and the new withholding arrangements" are bedded down and
"a more comprehensive matching capability for the Tax Office
to act upon" is secured and other tax reforms are implemented
such as Entity Taxation - Option 2 will rear its ugly head!
What does this mean? Only time will tell - the legislation has not yet been drafted. The Taxation Examiner May/June 2000 Newsletter says that, "...coming on top of the complexities of the tax reform process already in place and the introduction of G.S.T., is a clear sign that the Government and its advisers are completely out of touch with reality... The proposal is planned to go ahead despite high level concerns from small business, farming groups and tax professionals."
The truth is the chains of Big Brother are enmeshing us, not releasing us, as the Howard Government's propaganda would have us believe.
A DISASTER FOR SMALL BUSINESSLetter to the Editor, Sunshine Coast Daily
I was amazed to read "Somlyay Report" for May! I thought he was supposed to be our representative TO Parliament not the Government salesman to us! To start with, the "tax cuts" listed on the first page do little more than compensate for normal C.P.I. increases over recent years!! There are effectively NO Tax Cuts! To keep income tax level the breaks should be adjusted by C.P.I. each year. Mr. Somlyay tells of some price reductions but fails to mention the many increases - for instance extra 10% on a block of land or new house and 10% on most services none of which are not taxed at all now. For a developer this is a tax on turnover whether a profit is made or not! We are told the New Tax System is "Better for Business"!! Nothing could be further from the truth. I understand even the Tax Office is expecting 30% of small businesses will go bankrupt - that is some 80,000 businesses!! I understand in New Zealand a Royal Commission found that the G.S.T. sent 20% of businesses bankrupt and resulted in a huge increase in suicides and divorces. I believe a similar inquiry in Canada found a similar result. In our case we have the New Tax System on top of a G.S.T. to contend with. The result has massive cash flow implications for most businesses. One medium sized Consultancy business on the Coast estimates it will take nearly $1 million out of their cash flow which will have to be made up with bank loans. I suspect many small businesses have not realised the implications of the New Tax System for their cash flow. It is estimated that Business is spending $24 billion in implementing the G.S.T. - an average of $10,000 per business. This will be paid for by the consumer in increased prices and averages at about $1,200 per man woman and child in Australia! Mr. Somlyay says nothing about this! Mr. Somlyay's $200 certificate is an insult!!!!!! I have spent that attending seminars to try to find out about how the G.S.T. and N.T.S. affects my business. But in many cases the answers are still not known! We are still waiting for "rulings" from the Tax Commissioner. Some "draft" rulings have been made which are not binding on the A.T.O.. On other issues there is not even a draft ruling so we have to guess! But if we get it wrong there can be horrendous penalties. No! Mr. Somlyay the G.S.T. and the New Tax System will NOT be better for small business! Mr. Somlyay and Mr. Fisher as our representatives in Parliament voted for and are enthusiastically promoting the New Tax System and G.S.T.. I hope they will be unable to sleep at night when 30% of businesses have folded, resulting in widespread heartache, divorce and suicide! - Arthur Tuck, Dulong, Qld.
WE ARE WITNESSING A NATION'S DEATH THROESby Betty Luks
News is coming out of Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, that many of the white farmers and their families - who can do so - have made 'other' plans in case of a complete breakdown of law and order. They are very guarded as to what they say over telephones or put in letters to their relatives in other parts of the world. It is a frightening situation for both black and white people in that country. President Robert Mugabe's government has announced it will accelerate plans to seize 814 white-owned farms and 'redistribute' the land to resettle landless people before the end of June. One problem the money powers have is brought to light by Hitler Hunzi, chairman of the notorious Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, who has been quoted as saying his movement will have nothing to do with the $1.15 billion of debt owed by the farmers to the banks! "Economists have warned that non-payment of the debt would expose the country's financial sector to the risk of collapse" writes the Courier Mail, 2/6/2000.
BETTY LUKS CONTINUES QUEENSLAND TOURBeginning with the Toowoomba State seminar and dinner, Betty now continues on her way up the Queensland coast after having visited Warwick, Chinchilla, St. George and Dulong. It is intended to get as far north as Cairns on this trip. Betty did say she wanted to go into 'every nook and cranny' of this great land and meet with League folk and for them to get to know her.
THE 'SORRY' AND 'RECONCILIATION' DEBATEby Betty Luks
It would seem that some of the Aboriginal activists have 'jumped the gun' calling for a reconciliation treaty with Charles Perkins observing they have played their politics 'not well' because they've given Howard an out. Mr. Howard has 'condemned' the treaty proposal. ATSIC deputy chairman, Ray Robinson laments that there are too many chiefs and not enough indians in the movement and it was important to settle on a unified approach. "We've just got to get a strategy on which way we are going," says Mr. Robinson. "As far as ATSIC is concerned, we're the elected arm and I've told Geoff Clark we need to know which way we are going..." As I have talked to Queenslanders it becomes clear that many Aboriginal people do not accept that ATSIC and other organised city groups speak on their behalf. What is needed is for other Aboriginal voices to be heard over the din of the media campaign directed at the white Australian - especially those in the towns and cities who have nothing to do with the Aboriginal Australian. We would do well to remember Geoff McDonald set out the objectives of the revolutionary forces in his books Red Over Black and The Evidence. Quoting from The Worker's Weekly, September 24th, 1931, the Communist Party's fight for Aborigines "Draft Programme of Struggle Against Slavery" listed fourteen objectives including the following: "The handing over to the aborigines of large tracts of watered and fertile country, with towns, seaports, railways, roads, etc., to become one or more independent aboriginal states or republics. The handing back to the aborigines of all Central, Northern and north west Australia to enable the aborigines to develop their native pursuits. These aboriginal republics to be independent of Australian or other foreign powers. To have the right to make treaties with foreign powers, including Australia, establish their own army, governments, industries, and in every way be independent of imperialism." For Australians to get a clearer picture of the goals of these revolutionary forces they need to read Geoff McDonald's books published nearly twenty years ago - still available from the League. To have the right to make treaties with foreign powers, including Australia, establish their own army, governments, industries, and in every way be independent of imperialism." For Australians to get a clearer picture of the goals of these revolutionary forces they need to read Geoff McDonald's books published nearly twenty years ago - still available from the League.
MR. '15 PER CENT': Charles Perkins has been around a long time and one would have expected that in that time he had accomplished some good works towards his fellow Aboriginal-Australian. Maybe he has, maybe he hasn't, but one thing is sure, the land rights industry has provided him with some pretty good 'perks of office'. The Weekend Australian, February 21st-22nd, 1998, property section carried the following report: "The first house in Newtown, Sydney, to pop the million-dollar mark has been bought by Eileen, the wife of Aboriginal activist Charlie Perkins, for $1.12 million through Roger Cull of Raine and Horne... Mr. Perkins confirmed the sale, saying it was the intended 'family home', after several years in Bondi. Mr. Perkins was last year dubbed "Mr. 15 per cent" after it was revealed interests associated with himself and his son Adam stood to make big money from their roles as middle men on lucrative native title compensation claims. The Ernst Henry mine near Mount Isa, for example, earned Aboriginal claimants up front payments and royalties of $120 million..."
THE LUCRATIVE ELECTORAL FUNDINGThe Australian Electoral Commission report says the 1998 federal election cost $33.9 million; the Liberal Party received $13.9 million in electoral funding and Labor $11.5 million. The A.E.C. rejects calls to return to a system under which parties are paid strict reimbursement on the production of receipts, but it wants a "loophole used by the Liberal Party to construct a funding vehicle by disguising a donation as a debt to be closed." - Courier Mail, June 3rd, 2000.
CHAOS CONTINUES IN ZIMBABWE
Black Squatters occupy over 1,000 White
Farms from Tom Fielder
Nevertheless, the ruthless Mugabe sees this as an election ploy to cover up his gross mishandling of the economy. He has supported the squatters who have now occupied over 1,000 white farms. Using spears, axes, knives and guns they have killed some of the whites and driven off workers. Mugabe blames all the problems of the country on the whites regardless of the fact that they produce the nation's only export products (from "The Truth At Last"). "Mugabe to speed up land grab . . ." Herald-Sun, 2/6/2000: "Last month he warned "we can do more" if they resisted again.
His remarks were a reference to the violence of the past three months in which five white farmers have been murdered and a reign of terror extended over occupied farms . . . of which 841 have been listed for confiscation."
Can readers of On Target see a correlation between a racial policy to remove about a thousand white farmers in what was once a peaceful and prosperous Rhodesia and a financial policy here in what was once a peaceful and prosperous nation to also remove about a thousand farmers?
"About 300 angry dairy farmers marched
on N.S.W. Parliament in Sydney yesterday to protest about
total deregulation of the Australian dairy industry on July
1st." - The Land, 1/6/2000.
Further information on Tape - $7.00 from Box 184, The Basin, 3154: "The Technology of Illegitimate Power" by Ivor Benson, formerly Political Adviser to Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia.
"On Target" is published by the Australian League of Rights, Box 1052. G.P.O. Melbourne 3001.