David Leyonhjelm on a lower tax bill

Limit government to what we need it for, and we will all save thousands of dollars in tax.

If the government only got involved in the provision of services that the private sector is not well suited to provide, like national defence, criminal justice and the regulation of air quality, government spending would be no more than half of current levels. I have obtained costings from the Parliamentary Budget Office confirming this, which are available on their website.

If government spending was halved, this would allow taxes to be almost halved as well, leaving a modest surplus to pay down the Government’s appalling debt.

I recently introduced a bill to show just what a near halving of the Commonwealth tax take would involve, and how it could be done.

First, we should reduce income tax to a flat rate of 20 per cent while lifting the tax-free threshold to $40,000. This would save a typical worker on around $55,000 more than $6,000 a year and reduce the tax system’s disincentive for income-earning.

Those earning $200,000 would still pay $32,000 in tax, compared to a current tax bill of more than $67,000.

We should reduce the company tax rate to 20 per cent. This would help secure ongoing foreign investment that is so important for employment and wage growth. The alignment of personal and company tax rates would also simplify the tax system, which would reduce the need for so many tax agents, lawyers and bureaucrats.

We should abolish fuel tax. This would deliver motorists dollar-a-litre fuel for the first time in decades. And we should abolish the luxury car tax, which protects a car industry that no longer exists.

We should abolish alcohol tax. This would save around 75 cents on a can or pot of beer, and around $25 on a bottle of spirits. Low levels of alcohol consumption are not harmful, while the harms that arise from higher levels of consumption primarily fall on the drinker. It is not the role of government to prevent us from harming ourselves; at most, alcohol policy should focus on public education, discouragement of under-age drinking and the rigorous enforcement of regulations that prevent and punish anti-social behaviour.
We should abolish tobacco tax too. This would save around $20 from a pack of cigarettes, boosting the budgets of some of the poorest and most disadvantaged Australians who are also being denied proven quitting options like nicotine e-cigarettes.

Many smokers already save the budget billions by dying early after a relatively short period of morbidity, while elderly non-smokers spend decades on the age pension, in subsidised aged care and in the public health system. It’s quite unfair that we ask smokers to boost the budget twice by also paying among the highest tobacco taxes in the world.

We should abolish import tariffs. Australia continues to have an ad hoc array of import tariffs, on foodstuffs such as margarine, dairy spreads, pasta, bulgur, almonds, strawberries, maple syrup, biscuits and ham, and on a flotsam of items such as umbrellas, guitars, drums, calendars, towels, granite, sandstone, steel and cars. These hidden tariffs amount to big brother fiddling with our decisions on what to buy, for no reason whatsoever.

We should also abolish the passenger movement charge, which is one of the most expensive departure taxes in the world. It has no relation to the costs of government customs operations and applies as much to business people and foreign tourists as it does to Australians holidaying in Bali or across the ditch.

Each of these tax cuts is included in the Lower Tax Bill 2018 I introduced to the Senate last week. The bill is not likely to pass in the couple of weeks of parliamentary sittings before the next election but, for each tax cut detailed in the bill, it allows us to ask the major parties: why not? Why should drinkers pay so much tax? And smokers? And tourists? And motorists? And wage earners? And shoppers? In other words, most of us.

I have arranged for the Senate Economics Committee to hold an inquiry into the Lower Tax Bill 2018 over the final months of this parliamentary term.

Perhaps the major parties will explain to us in submissions to this inquiry why Australians from all walks of life need to pay as much tax as they are paying now.

But I’m not holding my breath for such an explanation. You can’t justify the unjustifiable.

David Leyonhjelm is a Senator for the Liberal Democrats

Posted in Guest Post, Taxation | 29 Comments

In the street with the yellow jackets

On the spot report. As you would expect the radical left is there doing what they do best fouling everything they touch with violence and destruction.

It is the ordinary folk on the march!

CFACT used the weekend break at COP 24, the UN climate conference in Poland, to head to France to do some research. After interviewing many gilets jaunes (yellow vests), and observing their demonstrations, CFACT can report that the streets belong not to the government, nor to the police, but to the men, women and children in the yellow vests. Moreover, contrary to what you may have seen in the media, in their hearts, the police are with the protestors.

The demonstrators are in fact the friends, neighbors and families of the police arrayed against them. Except in extreme cases, the police are standing aside and leaving the gilet jaunes in charge.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Oppressive government, Rafe | 25 Comments

The mirage of lower renewable energy driven electricity prices

Josh Frydenberg claimed the last week in Parliament was a poor one for the opposition and the triumph for the government. He made mention of the Opposition’s inability to get Peter Dutton and its failure to deliver its preferred outcomes regarding Manus Island detainees.

He also mentioned as a success the government’s energy policy proposals.  One such proposal, the “Prohibiting Market Misconduct Bill 2018”, was clearly not a success for the government. The proposal was referred to the Senate for investigation and cannot emerge from that process until the least April of next year.

Wrapped in the normal cautious verbiage about “last resort” measures, the Bill is a desperate attempt to see electricity prices reduced before the next election. To do so it forces retailers to reduce their prices and generators to ensure they operate their businesses “fairly”.  With thirty odd retailers around the nation and dozens of differently owned generators, the electricity market is just about the least susceptible to the monopoly activities against which these measures were targeted. The provisions would allow the government to have the ACCC examine suspect behaviour which could result in fines of $10 million or divestiture.  Divestiture is clearly aimed at AGL’s Liddell Power Station.

Among the media outlets criticising the bill was the AFR. Ben Potter assailed it as ‘socialist’. The AFR had previously not opposed the carbon tax, renewable subsidies or the NEG all of which involved the expropriation of fossil fuel generator investments.  It could be that such epithets are reserved for actions against industries that do not meet the PC test!

The government’s nightmare is that its promised fall in prices will not materialise.  And such fears are justified.  Notwithstanding the chimeric bonanza of ever cheapening supplies of wind and solar, wholesale prices remain at double those that prevailed prior to the impact of subsidised renewables destroying the competitive market that had been developed.

And there was no sign of Australia’s supposed solar induced competitive advantage officials and lobbyists alike had promised (in fact Australia enjoys no such advantage except in the remote interior).

In addition to these wholesale costs, the market manager feels obliged to incur other costs for frequency control and system strength to compensate for the inadequacies of renewable energy in providing these essential components of a stable supply.  These include compensation to gas generators in South Australia which, due to the inherent deficiencies of wind and solar, are forced to stay on-line against their wishes; such “directions” operate around 40 per cent of the time.  Origin Energy maintained that the prospects of forced divestment and price controls had caused it to shelve plans for an expansion of its Quarantine gas generator in South Australia but that program would face far greater deterrence from being subject to de facto control by the market operator.

In the medium future Origin indicated a pause in its contracting for new wind as a result of the fall in the subsidy price expected from 2020.  The current subsidy of over $60 per MWh (as a point of reference the total electricity price averaged $40 per MWh three years ago) falls to under $20 on the forward market for 2021/2.  At that point the forward price for baseload power also shows a fall, from the current $90 per MWh to $65.  But wind, aside from the costs it is able to “socialise”, needs to have firming contracts, costing maybe $30 per MWh.  Such firmness would be mandatory under the reliability arm of the foundering National Energy Guarantee but would also be insisted upon by retailers in the absence of such statutory requirements.

Someone ostensibly less concerned about the effect of high prices is Sanjeev Gupta who, with the PM, the Leader of the Opposition and the SA Premier, has just announced a 10 million ton a year steel mill for Wyalla based on renewable power and financed by those ever-compliant Chinese (after, of course ,a $40 million feasibility study)! That’s twice the current Australian output. It is unclear who is supplying the power and how much it costs.  But one bonus for the existing facility is promised anti-dumping action and government purchasing preferences, thereby raising all Australian steel prices!

Desperate politicians happily provide high priced protection for the favourable media publicity on the back of a mirage of future prosperity.



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Courtesy of Facebook notifications. Don’t forget mine is 12 July in case you are not on Facebook to be reminded.

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Countdown to Christmas II

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Monday Forum: December 10, 2018

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Liberty quote. Popper on education

State authority in these matters (education) is liable to achieve, in fact, the exact opposite of Socrates’ aim (intellectual modesty and the self-critical attitude). It is liable to produce dogmatic self-satisfaction and massive intellectual complacency, instead of critical dissatisfaction and eagerness for improvement.

From a collection of statements about education scattered through Popper’s work. They are in three categories, first the way our ethical education can be corrupted by studies of national conquests and the great “heroes” of history who were mostly power-hungry tyrants, second the danger of state involvement in education and third education of science and critical thinking.

A caveat on eagerness for improvement.

“I see now more clearly than ever before that even our greatest troubles spring from something that is as admirable and sound as it is dangerous—from our impatience to better the lot of our fellows…[the modern revolution that mobilized countless people in the quest for justice for help for the poor and the weak]…This revolution has created powers of appalling destructiveness; but they may yet be conquered.”

Posted in Education, Rafe | 8 Comments

Lost souls

The reason I have been up in Sydney was to go to a Wiggles concert along with my granddaughter. The place was packed to the rafters and for the under-sevens it was a sensation. But for me, it was how they ended the afternoon that truly astonished me. First they brought on Santa Claus which I thought was amazing enough. And then, wildly beyond any expectation I might have had, notwithstanding this being December, they then sang Silent Night, but in German. Still I thought, that was amazing since they could not have been more Christian in their presentation. And then they continued in English, and there is no more Christian Christmas carol than Silent Night. It was a perfect way to end for me, although I doubt there were many there who noticed or thought this was particularly remarkable, but it was.

Now tonight, more than a day later, I was reading this typical piece of dreck, title: America’s New Religions, in which the point being made by Andrew Sullivan was that one cannot live without some kind of faith in the transcendent, which I did agree with, but there towards the end was this:

Now look at our politics. We have the cult of Trump on the right, a demigod who, among his worshippers, can do no wrong. And we have the cult of social justice on the left, a religion whose followers show the same zeal as any born-again Evangelical. They are filling the void that Christianity once owned, without any of the wisdom and culture and restraint that Christianity once provided.

This equivalence was obviously false. Only on the left is politics a religion substitute. These are lost souls. I will say no more than the obvious, that atheism is not a feature of the right and whatever may be the reason for our support for PDT, we do not think of him as a “demigod” who can do no wrong. But what is revealed is the tragic spiritual loss in the empty lives of so many on the left. There is much more that could be said, but will only add this from another website:

Liberty wasn’t born out of the United States Congress but from the heart of God. It is an inalienable right – a God-given right – a right which belongs to all men everywhere and in every age. The government doesn’t grant inalienable rights. Its task is to protect them. No person, no group, no government, is authorized by our Creator God to infringe upon what is the absolute inherent privileges of being made in the image of God or might interfere with one’s duty to God. When we try to separate liberty from the spiritual, when we base it in human definitions and objectives alone, freedom is corrupted, counterfeited, and dies.

I cannot link to these posts because of the primitive machinery I am on, but finding both online today does give me some hope for the future, not to mention the Wiggles who did the same.

Posted in Western Civilsation | 34 Comments

Peter Baldwin on identity politics

This is the third paper in a very important series on identity politics by Peter Baldwin who is the convenor of the Blackheath Philosophy Forum in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.

This article supports Count 3 of my indictment of identity politics set out in J’Accuse Identity Politics in which I claim that the worst victims of this ideology are the very people it claims to champion. There is a huge amount to be said about this, but in this article I focus on two cases: the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, and the role of identity politics in reshaping policy toward indigenous people in Australia over the past several decades. In both these cases, but especially the latter, the embrace of identity politics has not just failed to improve the lot of the severely disadvantaged people concerned, but actually made things far worse.

Posted in Hypocrisy of progressives, Rafe | 9 Comments

Trolling the warmies in Poland!

Almost too good to be true, an epic troll by the Poles at the Climate Jamboree that they are hosting. h/t New Chum in comments.

The Polish Coal Miners band, dressed in smart black uniforms and wearing traditional mines caps, struck up a tune as confused-looking delegates arrived at the convention center in Katowice, a city in the heart of Poland’s coal mining country.

Coal was proudly displayed in cases around the convention pavilion. Coal, fashioned in jewelry, was for sale. A coal-based cosmetic company even touted products that it claimed would treat ‘both body and soul.’

In addressing the delegates in his opening remarks, Polish President Andrzej Duba said Poland has no plans to give up coal. And why would it? Poland has the highest coal production in Europe and employs about 100,000 people in its mining industry and coal supplies 80% of their energy.

Next day the President played hookey from the conference and went off to a coal mine for the feast day of St. Barbara, the patron saint of miners.

Who said the Poles are a bit like the Dutch but without the sense of humour?

Someone wanted brass bands, here is the Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band! I thin they might have wanted something with more grunt and there is sure to be something on the sidebar to this track.

Still not enough, where is a really big and brassy band?

A medley of military marches.

The Ohio State University Marching Band, about 1,000 strong.

And finally the Fightin Texas Aggie Band.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe | 28 Comments