Where’s the sunshine, then?

As Lleyton’s tennis days are coming to an end, everyone will be able to latch on to his favourite phrase … COME ON.

I say, COME ON, SWANNY – you are pulling my leg.  Yes, you have stuffed up on the design of the MRRT and there will be no revenue.  But to suggest that the figures cannot be released – on the advice of the ATO, requested by the Treasury – COME OFF IT.  After all, the companies themselves will be revealing the figures in due course, in their annual financial statements.

(I’m not sure Sinc is around but as the expert on tax design, I’m pretty sure his view is that the no revenue from the MRRT is the result of the design of the tax rather than commodity prices and if the Treasury had only been prepared to listen, it might have been different.)

We are not talking about an individual taxpayer.  In any case, just add the figures up.  No one cares really which companies are paying the tax.

We should also not forget that the estimate for MRRT revenue in 2013-14 is $2.4 billion, which is already looking very dodgy.

The Gillard government has produced advice from its bureaucracy arguing it would be illegal to tell Treasurer Wayne Swan and Finance Minister Penny Wong how much revenue the minerals resource rent tax (MRRT) is raising because it risks illegally identifying the companies paying it, according to The Australian Financial Review.

In a Treasury note, advice from the Australian Government Solicitor argues that disclosing “protected information” of tax collections for the September quarter could results in a two-year prison sentence, the AFR reported.

“The ATO’s current view is that disclosure of these data would breach the secrecy provisions of the Taxation Administration Act (TAA) as taxpayer information may be ascertained by the process of deduction. Accordingly these data have not been published in the monthly financial statement in October,” the note said, according to the AFR.

Former treasurer Peter Costello slammed the note, calling it a strategy to hide the failure of the mining tax.

“The confidentiality provisions are there to protect individual taxpayers but it has never been used to prevent the release of aggregate tax collections,” Mr Costello said, according to the AFR.

“This shows an extreme sensitivity on behalf of the government and leads to the conclusion which we all know – their MRRT has been a failure.”

I’m not sure the Treasury is coming off too well these days, with its fierce resistance to releasing the costings it has undertaken of the Greens policies (Why?  At whose request?).  Surely, the senior leadership team believes in the importance of transparency and openness as part of the process  of good government.

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57 Responses to Where’s the sunshine, then?

  1. Dexter Rous

    Hello?
    If Gillard and Swan said that they would release monthly receipts from the MRRT, surely they had already checked that this was feasible. So, has this imcompetent government mislead the Parliament
    Lokks like it to me.

  2. Gab

    Surely, the senior leadership team believes in the importance of transparency and openness as part of the process of good government.

    Comedy gold.
    File under: what they say and what they do are galaxies apart.

  3. Derp

    Swan’s performance on ABC this morning was disingenuous. Of course the ATO won’t give him individual company breakdowns, that’s a breach of privacy and illegal.

    But they will give him aggregate figures which he implied was not happening. Is he Treasurer or not FFS?

    Instead he wants to play at some attempted blackmail name and shame. The fact none of the “journalists” pulled him up on this transparency is a disgrace.

  4. Louis Hissink

    The salariat are starting to flex their muscles?

  5. Gavin R Putland

    Yes, yes, I readily concede that governments have ways of getting the “legal advice” that supports the predetermined agenda.

    But what exactly is Prof. Sloan’s point? Is she suggesting that she would have a higher opinion of the MRRT if it actually raised some revenue? — as the RSPT might have done? Come off it!

  6. Bruce

    Perhaps Swan is reticent in releasing the figures because he has had to write cheques to Rio, BHP to cover their extra commitments to State royalties, as per the MRRT legislation.

    Is this the first tax ever to raise negative money?

    Even for incompetent ALP Government that would be an amazing achievement.

  7. Sinclair Davidson

    Judith – I reckon this is about just a single taxpayer. When I read the story that was the only conclusion that squares everything up – there is only one company paying the MRRT. (From memory there was a news report about a single Japanese company paying the tax).

  8. johanna

    It is a grotesque distortion of the rules about individual taxpayer privacy, and has clearly been trotted out for political purposes.

    In living memory, Treasury was what the best and the brightest economists who wanted to work in the public sector on big-picture stuff aspired to. Their contempt for the passing whims of politicians was almost palpable.

    These days, they are inbred, enfeebled lapdogs. John Stone would never have hired most of them, and fired the rest.

  9. Julie Novak

    You know, I really don’t mind if predatory government cannot attain the taxation revenues it hopes to statutorily pilfer from individuals or, in the case of the MRRT, companies.

    What I do mind, however, is the surely not-insignificant compliance costs associated with the MRRT, and the threat of extension of the MRRT tax base.

  10. They would have raised more tax if they had kept Work Choices and just waited for the income tax from workers and investors. How much tax was lost simply from the reduced investment from just the uncertainty created.

  11. Johno

    Surely, the senior leadership team believes in the importance of transparency and openness as part of the process  of good government.

    Either Treasury’s senior leadership doesn’t believe this, in which case they are a complete disgrace to their profession and should be hounded out.

    Or they have been forced into this position by trying to accommodate the commands of Australia’s most incompetent Treasurer ever.

    I’m more inclined to believe they are having a difficult time with The Goose’s incompetence, but Joe Hockey will have an important task ahead of him in tearing down the destructive culture that has undoubtly developed in Treasury during th Goose’s Dark Ages.

  12. 3d1k

    The MRRT is working as designed – an extraction of additional revenues on so-called ‘super profits’. Clearly with commodity prices having retreated in recent times, such profits may not be forthcoming. In early years of the tax various deductions and transfers on legitimate capital investment are also likely to limit tax take. Over time, should commodity demand continue and commodity prices stabilise at relatively high levels, the MRRT will accrue revenues.

    The MRRT, a tax on our most important export sector – never a good idea – should never have been implemented. Indeed the Libs have advised MRRT removal if elected (entirely correct). Rather than decrying any apparent lack of revenues the Libs should be pleased that the tax is operating fairly given its questionable validity.

    The MRRT is not and should never been seen as an additional ‘blanket’ tax over iron ore and coal producers. This would be patently unfair, even more overtly so than the current MRRT itself.

  13. grumpy

    @ Derp 11:41

    Get some help mate. Expecting “journalists” at the ALPBC to question one of their own! Next you’ll want Julia Gillard to give a straight answer to a question.

  14. Pickles

    But, he has the policy frameworks in place to ensure that all Australians who own the minerals get their fair share of the mining boom. Let there be no doubt that these are major reforms true to core Labor values.

  15. JC

    The MRRT is not and should never been seen as an additional ‘blanket’ tax over iron ore and coal producers.

    Huh? Are you doing hash? Their effective tax rate would jump potentially as you even allude to in your earlier rant.

    And what about the impact of signaling?

    What is a producer going to do when they have a suite of potential future projects in different areas of the globe? Would they run for the one which offers the highest potential marginal tax rate?

    Don’t draw back the smoke.

    The tax is a fucking cancer. It’s basically ineffective and signals negatively to investors.

  16. .

    The MRRT is working as designed – an extraction of additional revenues on so-called ‘super profits’.

    That’s right, because fuckwit Rudd and his DC Swan declared super profits to be anything over the risk free rate, which is bizzare and ridiculous. The firms might simply retain “super profitable” profits until the tax is repealed.

    “Super” profits are taxed by company tax and personal income tax. They are not “super profitable” after that.

    A company with 100 bn of assets makes a pre tax 4 bn profit?

    This is not a super profit, but the incognoscenti of the Greens and ALP think so.

  17. .

    That’s right JC.

    The mining tax was always going to hit junior and mid level companies, and exploration the most. Current firms that are big enough to qualify generally can shift production around and forestall paying the tax – nevertheless, a few coal projects got cancelled fairly quickly the energy tax (carbon tax) ended the viability of Olympic dam.

    The combined effect of these taxes was to cripple a recovering labour market and send it back to 2009 levels of job ads.

  18. dd

    For several years, commentators on the right have been saying that Labor’s policies are economically ruinous, particularly their re-regulation of the labor market, and introduction of the carbon tax and the mining tax. Labor boosters – particularly their coterie of supporters in the press gallery – kept pointing to the ongoing health of the Australian economy.

    “just wait,” said the critics. “This is going to kill us in the medium term.”

    The critics were right. Mining’s being rolled back, investment is stagnant, the budget is still in deficit. The arrows are all pointing down, not up.

    But even now, the boosters defend Labor by shunting the blame to international factors. Um, no. Not unless China’s economy has crashed, which (let’s check), nope, it hasn’t.

    Remember the round of happy golf claps on ABC’s Insiders whenever Swan announced he would deliver a surplus? Where are they now? What’s the response to (I think it was) Gerard Henderson who darkly muttered that projecting a surplus wasn’t the same as delivering one.

  19. dd

    The MRRT is working as designed – an extraction of additional revenues on so-called ‘super profits’

    Here’s a very simple response to everyone who says we need to “share the benefits of the mining boom.”

    We’ve had, for some years now, a high dollar, at about 1 US dollar instead of the previous long term average of 70 cents.

    That means – back of the envelope – that there has been about a 30 percent discount nationwide, on all imports, for everyone.

    A massive discount sale in every mall in every city, for several years.

    How is that not “spreading the benefits to everyone?” If I gave you a special voucher and said “with this voucher you can buy any import at a 30 percent discount for the next 12 months, no matter where you shop or who you buy it from,” that would be a very nice thing to have, right? Well, that’s what we all carry around with us. Every day.

  20. You are reminding me of some of the things Rudd et al have said about this, which I had forgotten in order to reduce stress levels. But Rudd’s definition of “super profit”…his statements on economics display all the expertise of a spastic fucking a door knob.
    And this bullshit about how all Australian’s “own” the minerals. Jesus. There’s only one thing you can own and that is “risk”. If you can manage it, you get the reward and no one else.
    Similarly, to Obama’s infantile pout “You didn’t build that” the response should be “Yes but whatever risk was involved, I took it, not you. And that’s the beginning and end of business.”

  21. dd

    In short, Australians have been buying cheap TVs, iphones, cars, clothes and furniture, thanks to the mining boom. Spreading the wealth to everyone.

    Imposing a tax on top of that transfers the gains from the public to the government.

  22. Bruce

    What I do mind, however, is the surely not-insignificant compliance costs associated with the MRRT

    Julie – It was worse than that. I work in the industry and when the mining tax was announced the phone stopped ringing for about 6 months.

    Small mining companies live or die based on their access to development funding. When something like this occurs all the funders simulatneously decide to wait and see. It doesn’t matter if you have a rich deposit or a poor one. The funding dries up.

    Applying the MRRT to only the big boys made no difference, the sheep bolted anyway.

  23. 3d1k

    I may not have made it clear enough – I am opposed to the MRRT and opposed to any extension of the MRRT tax base.

    My concern is that continued complaint from Libs that “the tax is a disaster, not collecting anything” is misguided, having potential to encourage calls for further damaging tinkering/tightening of the tax.

    It concerns me that many (Greens/Labor/Press Gallery) now see the MRRT as simply ‘another’ tax – that revenues should be extracted at any cost and, extraordinarily, that this is seen ‘fair’!

    Libs would do better to remind that the tax is applied and limited to ‘super profits’ – at least until repeal. And we may all be advised to exercise caution when considering Treasury modelling.

  24. .

    DD

    Sadly what you say is better than 99% of Ross Gitten’s articles in the Fairfax media.

    Very well said, nonetheless.

    My concern is that continued complaint from Libs that “the tax is a disaster, not collecting anything” is misguided, having potential to encourage calls for further damaging tinkering/tightening of the tax.

    But they are right so far, will win the election and plan to repeal the law.

    It concerns me that many (Greens/Labor/Press Gallery) now see the MRRT as simply ‘another’ tax – that revenues should be extracted at any cost and, extraordinarily, that this is seen ‘fair’!

    They will lose the next election.

    Libs would do better to remind that the tax is applied and limited to ‘super profits’ – at least until repeal. And we may all be advised to exercise caution when considering Treasury modelling.

    They should point out how many jobs the MRRT and carbon tax destroyed. That will fire up the punters.

  25. Bruce

    3d1k – Its a disaster even for the companies it doesn’t hit. It should be removed utterly before half the small caps are forced to move en mass to the Canadian TSX.

    There are other countries in the world you know.

  26. Skuter

    In living memory, Treasury was what the best and the brightest economists who wanted to work in the public sector on big-picture stuff aspired to. Their contempt for the passing whims of politicians was almost palpable.

    These days, they are inbred, enfeebled lapdogs. John Stone would never have hired most of them, and fired the rest.

    That is my experience too johanna. I don’t work at Treasury and never have, but I know a couple of current and former staff members. The few individuals that try to be even slightly less inbred and enfeebled than their colleagues get their non-conformism beaten out of them. They hit a career glass ceiling that has nothing to do with gender.
    On a broader note, don’t forget that what happens with the MRRT from here largely rests in the hands of Bandt and Oakeshott, both of whom have said publicly that the tax should apply more broadly to other minerals. Not content with the current increase in sovereign risk and additional compliance costs on the sector, these fuck-knuckles want to turn the dial up to ‘tinpot dictatorship’ levels…

  27. Derp

    If I gave you a special voucher and said “with this voucher you can buy any import at a 30 percent discount for the next 12 months, no matter where you shop or who you buy it from

    Online for sure but Gerry and Solly want it all.

  28. Gavin R Putland

    dd wrote:

    We’ve had, for some years now, a high dollar, at about 1 US dollar instead of the previous long term average of 70 cents.

    That means – back of the envelope – that there has been about a 30 percent discount nationwide, on all imports, for everyone.

    That’s roughly what our income-tax system does to us: our personal/corporate income tax is a non-border-adjusted VAT which inflates our production costs but not our foreign competitors’ production costs. Payroll tax and the superannuation guarantee (enforced by the superannuation guarantee charge, which is a federal payroll tax) add to the problem. What our currency does to us some of the time, our tax system does to us all the time.

  29. Craig Mc

    We are not talking about an individual taxpayer. In any case, just add the figures up. No one cares really which companies are paying the tax.

    Perhaps that’s the problem – there’s only one company paying the tax.

  30. H B Bear

    The Goose and the Legover Man are going neck and neck to see who can produce the most laughable defence of this clusterfuck clownfest of a government.

  31. Craig Mc

    Oops. I missed Sinc’s comment.

  32. Alfonso

    Most LibLab problems relate to the fact that Pete is no longer around. Yeah, I know he shoulda challenged and sure Pete is a CAGWarmist, but he’ll change….the most devastating parliamentary performer in our history is playing golf.

    So we have 49-51 % TPP Tony.
    The unloseable election.
    Inarticulate, hesitant user of words, (words can corner him), MSM terrified, zero philosophical economic values, a million strong social values that relate to Pell’s (any mention of ‘Catholic’ has Tone cheek by jowl with child molesters)…bloody Abbott.

    The quicker LibLab merge and start the decade long emergence of an Aust conservative party the better.

  33. Grey

    Maybe we need to give preference to Asian mining companies – since they seem to be the only ones with sufficient social responsibility to pay their taxes.

    I bet BHP-Billiton or Rio-Tinto wouldn’t dare overtly avoid paying taxes to the Chinese government – for fear of being locked out of future opportunities.

    Is there a lesson for us there?

  34. Johno

    since they seem to be the only ones with sufficient social responsibility to pay their taxes.

    As taxes go to government and are wasted, we all have a social responsibility to pay as little tax as we can.

    Asian companies pay taxes they don’t need to are being highly socially irresponsible!

  35. Dr Faustus

    “sufficient social responsibility to pay their taxes”

    Given the operation of the MRRT, the company involved either:

    1) Did not have the wits to create sufficient MRRT allowance to offset its tax liability;
    2) Made a calculation error;
    3) Made the astonishingly socially responsible decision to gift a payment to the Australian people.

    Not sure that the antonym of ‘tax avoidance’ is ‘blindingly stupid’ – even in China.

  36. Rabz

    As taxes go to government and are wasted, we all have a social responsibility to pay as little tax as we can.

    Reminiscent of the late Kerry Packer and his sage words for a government committee on this very topic…

  37. Grey

    Not sure that the antonym of ‘tax avoidance’ is ‘blindingly stupid’ – even in China.

    State patronage was and I expect still is quite powerful in China, if you gain a reputation of being too clever in regards to not paying your obligations, then unless you can grease the palms of opinion formers in that society as to why it is their best interest that you don’t pay tax, you can expect future opportunities to dry up.

    The MRRT was designed on the basis of representations of the mining industry, now even at the time Blind Freddy could see it wasn’t going to provide the revenue claimed, but they made representations on how much this tax would return to the taxpayer for mining their resources, why should they not be held accountable for their sharp practice?

    Suppose I own a farm that I wish to lease out to a sharecropper, if the sharecropper gives representations that a profit sharing arrangement will result in a fair share being paid to me the owner – and then it turns out the sharecropper pays nary a bean – hasn’t he/she engaged in deceptive conduct to the owner of the land?

  38. Grey

    Basically the Big Three miners have become looters, they take our wealth but they try to cheat us out of as much of our share as possible.

    They are aided and abetted in this by a class of moochers, who own some shares and think their share price and/or dividends will be adversely affected by cracking down on the looters.

    Usually, the moochers are suffering from false consciousness inasmuch if they actually calculated the likely impact to them personally of the looters giving us a fair return on super profits, it probably wouldn’t be particularly significant as their holdings are miniscule.

    However, there is a particular class of moochers who work for News Ltd, while aware that their own stakes are miniscule, they are given well paying jobs by people who do benefit greatly from this looting. In order to hold on to this income stream, this particular class of moocher tries to persuade the rest of us that the looting of mining companies is in our best interest.

    There, perfect Ayn Rand speak, though I say so myself.

  39. Dr Faustus

    Grey:

    In China, as elsewhere, if you pay more tax than you are legally required to, you are considered foolish, not ‘socially responsible’. But, you are partially correct in that gweilo businesses are supposed to pay more tax than Chinese.

    Para 2 and 3. I understand your anguish. Your problem is that tax design is not a bartering process. Swan and the Treasury team were historically incompetent in rushing a poorly designed and misunderstood tax bill into law.

  40. Grey

    Para 2 and 3. I understand your anguish. Your problem is that tax design is not a bartering process.

    Well this one was. I have been told that the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax never captured any projects except for the Bass Straits projects that it was specifically designed for. You will probably know better then me whether or not this claim is true.

    Anyway, I think we can all agree on this slogan: “Down with the looting big miners and their mooching mouthpieces in News Ltd.”

  41. 3d1k

    Are you serious Grey? ‘Looting big miners’ – ludicrous. Miners pay Royalties to the States (owners of the minerals) and all State and Federal taxes that are liable.

    Thank goodness Australia had a bountiful resource base and well a established mining sector to see us through the economic downturn that has afflicted most other developed economies post GFC.

    This has ensured near record terms of trade, robust foreign capital inflows reducing pressures on our potentially fragile banking system. Without our mining sector we would already be toast – Ireland, Spain…Greece.

  42. Grey

    Without our mining sector we would already be toast – Ireland, Spain…Greece.

    This I presume is an example of vested interest astro-turfing in online debate.

    I actually thought the big miners would pay some nominal amount (and they may yet this financial year) – a couple of hundred million or so. Just enough to provide a fig leaf to the government that their MRRT actually worked and was not a purely optional tax.

    But they are so supremely self-confident of the iron grip they hold on the commanding heights of the Australian media it appears they don’t even need to bother with fig leaves at the moment.

  43. 3d1k

    They may well pay some MRRT. But remember this is essentially tax on ‘super profits’, if profits are pre-determined levels are not achieved, no additional tax due over and above usual tax obligations – just like any other corporate.

    Only in Australia would we apply an additional tax regime on our most successful export sector. Ireland offers corporations in the export sector very attractive tax rates (12.5-15%) cognizant of sector importance and the desire to encourage exports.

    I am in the resources sector (Perth), opposed the RSPT and now the MRRT (although I accept it is now legislation, legislation that should be removed). None of that makes me an ‘astroturfer’. Surely you do not label all who hold a view counter to your own as such.

  44. Grey

    I am in the resources sector (Perth), opposed the RSPT and now the MRRT (although I accept it is now legislation, legislation that should be removed). None of that makes me an ‘astroturfer’.

    Fair enough.

  45. Grey

    It is a good point, while a lot of people who oppose the MRRT collecting revenue are looters or moochers, there is another group who are neither – people who work hard for the mining sector.

    Although I would still argue that some of them may suffer from false consciousness since there is no desire on Government to tax the sector into recession, rather just share the profits with the owners of the resource more fairly.

    Bring back Arthur Scargill and the mine worker who knew the difference between his/her interests and the bosses interests.

  46. Bruce

    Grey – You are willfully misrepresenting the situation.

    Gillard agreed to an altered MRRT where State royalties would be recompensed without apparent limit. She did this because a major publicity campaign was about to land on her at a critical point in the election campaign.

    Once the legislation went through there was no altering it in the minority government. The Greens would never agree to changes without raping every other mining company and every other metal or mineral industry. So it stuck.

    Revenue poor States did as Keating knew instinctively*, they then immediately raised State royalties, which sucked up the tax which would have gone to the Feds.

    So mining companies who are liable ARE paying the money…to the States. It is only Swannie and Gillard who are incompetent in this equation. Only they could design such a stupid policy.

    * “Never stand between a premier and a bucket of money” – P.J. Keating

  47. Grey

    The Greens would never agree to changes without raping every other mining company and every other metal or mineral industry.

    However if what you say is true then every other mining company is being raped anyway, because these royalty increases apply across the board and not to the big miners.
    If the royalty increases completely offset what the miners projected during the negotiation period would be paid to the Federal government (and I have seen no modelling that supports that claim), then the entire sector is paying it.

  48. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Bruce:

    Grey Gheyboi – You are willfully misrepresenting the situation.

    FTFY, Bruce…. and wilful misrepresentation of what Gheyboi does.

  49. Bruce

    Grey – No the States raised coal royalties (Qld, NSW) and iron ore royalties (WA). They did not raise copper royalties, uranium royalties, zinc royalties, nickel royalties, gold royalties, rare earth royalties, sand royalties…

    You would have to be deaf not to have heard the Greens jumping up and down about taxing the gold miners. Soak the rich! Anyone who mines gold has to be rich by definition in the Green universe.

    There are some relatively small coal companies hit, in addition to BHP, Rio and Xstrata, and yes they have been squawking. All the revenue went to the States. Why would Swannie put a press release out about this when all it would do is draw attention to his ineptitude? So you probably wouldn’t have heard very much in the MSM.

  50. mareeS

    There’s something seriously wrong within the ATO, not just at the end that has miscalculated so badly with the MRRT and high-value tax-avoidance cases.

    It seems individual TFNs are subject to hacking and fraudulent lodgements of returns.

    For example, our son lodged his 2010-11 return promptly, and some months later was informed by the ATO that another return with the same TFN had been lodged by another identity. It was cleared up after a face-to-face interview, with requisite proof of identity, and he received his refund and a new TFN. He heard nothing further from the ATO.

    At the end of the 2011-12 FY he lodged his return as usual, using his new TFN, expecting a quick refund. After repeated phone inquiries to the ATO in Qld he was assured each time that his return had been processed and the refund would be in his account within 14 days.

    Six months down the track, his tax agent has gotten into the act this week, discovered after several hours of inquiries to the ATO, that his new TFN has been stolen after a hack of his current employer’s personnel files.

    Our son isn’t an ingenue. He’s a skilled worker in mining logistics and has been in the tax system for 12 years. His current employer is a national logistics company, and he’s not the only one affected by the hacking.

    These things aren’t supposed to happen in the “secure” Australian tax system, let alone twice in two years with two different TFNs. He had another face-to-face with the ATO today, and now has another TFN, but the ATO still won’t say who stole his numbers on either occasion, or for what purpose they were used, which makes him wonder if he’s going to be under some flag when he files future tax returns, and if there might be some difficulties ahead.

    Weren’t these numbers supposed to be secure and permanent? It seems the ATO is unable to back that promise, just as it’s unable to back a coherent taxation system for the nation.

  51. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Dammit

    FTFY, Bruce…. and wilful misrepresentation IS what Gheyboi does.

  52. Alfonso

    “It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose”…..Judge Young, sentencing the US Islamofascist shoe bomber.

    Could also be a Green perp on another matter….. a perfect doctrinal fit.

  53. CameronH

    I would be happy if the Commonwealth Government did not raise any tax directly at all. The equation is back to front. The States should raise the taxes and then have a formula that is used to provide the small amount of funding that is required to run the Commonwealth Government. This would limit the Commonwealth Government to only operating in the areas specifically listed in the Constitution.

    The States would then compete with each other to attract economic development and activity. Extremist Green Governments like Tasmania would never survive as their population would be reduced to subsistence living within a very short time as they would not be able to mooch of the rest of the country. The States with the lest taxation and regulation and in which it was easiest to do business becoming the wealthiest.

  54. John Mc

    Couldn’t have said it better, Cameron. Federalism is more effective and just than centralisation.

  55. JC

    Good thinking Cameron. I think Switzerland worked either that way or partially at one time and it kept the feral best underfed.

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