An unjust law?

Sally McManus tells us that she is a unionist first, second and third. She also advises

where the law’s fair, where the law’s right, but when it’s unjust I don’t think there’s a problem with breaking it

So what about a law that a former Prime Minister and a former Treasurer advised as being unjust? In fact the former Prime Minister said the law was fundamentally unjust. Should people not pay GST?

Here is a reminder of their statements:

On 29 June 1999, during the second reading debate for the GST bills, the Member for Lilley, Wayne Swan MP said:

This is a tax we do not have to have and it is a tax that we cannot afford. It is the most fundamental and biggest tax hike on Australian families in Australian history. I cannot work out who is more out of touch—whether it is the Prime Minister, whether it is Meg Lees or whether it is Peter Costello. The Democrats went to the last election saying that they would keep the bastards honest and all they have produced is a bastard tax, a tax which is going to be a fundamental attack on the security and living standards of Australian families.

On 30 June 1999, the Member for Griffith, Kevin Rudd MP said:

When the history of this Parliament, this nation and this century is written, 30 June 1999 will be recorded as a day of fundamental injustice – an injustice which is real, an injustice which is not simply conjured up by the fleeting rhetoric of politicians. It will be recorded as the day when the social compact that has governed this nation for the last 100 years was torn up.

About Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus

I'm a retired general who occasionally gets called back to save the republic before returning to my plough.
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40 Responses to An unjust law?

  1. Kev from Canberra

    What about 18C? I guess that we now have a free hand to ignore that unjust law?

  2. candy

    A very foolish woman in a job she’s not competent for, is my opinion, to say something so completely stupid.

    Bill Shorten is probably working out how the ACTU can dispense with her. Being a lady, it’s going to be hard for him to, but if Labor has hopes of attaining government, individuals like her simply must be booted out.

  3. Empire GTHO Phase III

    What is the point of this post? AFAIK neither Rudd nor Swan ever incited GST registrants to not remit GST.

  4. Progressive income tax is unjust, we should all refuse to pay it.

  5. Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus

    What’s the point? It is simply to show the implications of McManus’ ridiculous statement that one can ignore a law that is unjust. Clearly some people think the GST is unjust – et voila, ignore it.

    To be clear, I think one should obey the laws. If you don’t like a law, campaign for it to be changed. As we are for 18c.

  6. Fred

    Ivan Milat considered the law of murder unjust.

  7. Andrew

    So by introducing a VAT, we’ve more than undone a century of social reforms.

    Except that all the socialist paradises with the world’s largest wealth transfers have one. Does mOron write Kevni’s speeches?

  8. Empire GTHO Phase III

    LQC

    Got it. I agree in principle, to a point, but the American Republic exists because righteous men said enough is enough. I’m OK with a tax strike by the funders of the state, but not the strike threat by a protected club of a thugs.

    It isn’t all black and white.

  9. Jim Rose

    An old mate of mine from University, Rodney Croome, marched into a Tasmanian police station in 1986 and confessed to abominations against the order of nature.

    The police refused to charge him unless there was a witness. The witness came forward who was the abominee; another old friend of mine from uni.

    The Tasmanian Director of Public Prosecutions then exercised his absolute discretion not to prosecute because it was against the public interest.

    The Tasmanian criminal code was gender neutral about abominations against the order of nature.

  10. herodotus

    She has tried to crab-walk away from this by talking about IR laws being oppressive forgetting that they were framed by comrade Gillard, and the IR hierarchy staffed – hand picked – by her and comrade Shorten.

  11. Baldrick

    Since when has the CFMEU bothered about any laws?

  12. .

    Andrew
    #2329493, posted on March 17, 2017 at 6:25 pm
    So by introducing a VAT, we’ve more than undone a century of social reforms.

    Except that all the socialist paradises with the world’s largest wealth transfers have one. Does mOron write Kevni’s speeches?

    Pretty sure the French socialists were the first to impose it. They needed efficiency, government is greedy.

  13. JohnA

    Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus #2329486, posted on March 17, 2017, at 6:19 pm

    What’s the point? It is simply to show the implications of McManus’ ridiculous statement that one can ignore a law that is unjust. Clearly, some people think the GST is unjust – et voila, ignore it.

    To be clear, I think one should obey the laws. If you don’t like a law, campaign for it to be changed. As we are for 18c.

    As the Imperious Ford said it isn’t all black & white.

    There is a long history of the moral imperative of civil disobedience, with the important caveat that one who disobeys a bad law is still required to accept the consequences, the purpose of which is to highlight how mad or bad the law is.

    There are two ways to deal with a bad law: either do not enforce it, or do enforce it – vigorously.

  14. gowest

    They then considered it just to use the GST to steal the West Australian mining/gas royalties to pork barrel the eastern state voters and ruin the WA economy.
    What do they do with all that mining / gas money – they run out power, increase costs and get floods/fires because they are too dumb to build dams and put in fire breaks.
    What does McGowan do with one of the WA senators who voted for this theft – she gets promoted to regional development – talk about reward for job destruction – god help WA regions, that’s where all the money comes from to drive the Oz economy.

  15. stackja

    ALP/unions change their ‘ideals’ as required.

  16. Infidel Tiger

    Swan and Rudd were exactly right.

    The GST is an evil tax that punishes success and turns small businesses into tax collectors.

  17. Robbo

    Swan and Rudd, now there is a duo of hopeless incompetence mixed with giant egos. No wonder the Labor Party and its Union mates are on the nose. Those people have a real problem in differentiating their arses from their elbows.

  18. jupes

    To be clear, I think one should obey the laws. If you don’t like a law, campaign for it to be changed.

    Or break it if you want.

    However be prepared for the punishment. Do the crime – do the time.

  19. Empire

    There is a long history of the moral imperative of civil disobedience, with the important caveat that one who disobeys a bad law is still required to accept the consequences, the purpose of which is to highlight how mad or bad the law is.

    Yes. Pick your battles wisely and play to win.

  20. jupes

    … where the law’s fair, where the law’s right, but when it’s unjust I don’t think there’s a problem with breaking it …

    Of course the laws the CMFEU are breaking puts it in a slightly different category than Rosa Parks.

  21. Nighthawk the Elder

    If I recall correctly, around 2008, Australia was a sea of labor red federally and in every state. The highest liberal office holder in the country was the lord mayor of Brisbane, one Campbell Newman.

    If Krudd and the goose had been genuine men of principles, they would have taken advantage of this rare alignment and used the numbers to get rid of the GST and impose their own socialist utopian tax regime. They didn’t, because labor principles is an oxymoron.

    In addition to these two clowns, after years of bleating about how socially unjust the GST was, there was barely a whimper from the rest of the labor movement at the very moment in history they could have recast this in their own image.

    They stand for nothing and that’s probably why the Turncoat wanted to be one of them.

  22. RobK

    but when it’s unjust I don’t think there’s a problem with breaking it …”
    I watched in amazement as she uttered those words, wondering why she wasn’t wearing an eye patch and parrot on her shoulder.

  23. cynical1

    “but when it’s unjust I don’t think there’s a problem with breaking it …”

    Ah, but who decides is the question of what is “unjust”…

  24. Rabz

    The more laws that are enacted, the more preposterous and pettifogging they become.

    It’s easy for people here to consider themselves law abiding, but we now have so many laws on our beloved governments’ statute books that it will become (if it isn’t already) increasingly difficult to get through a day without inadvertently breaching some of them. Many so called libertarians on this site have pointed this out before.

    I’m not going to be a hypocrite here and denounce McManus for the sake of it, loathsome, repulsive and effortlessly quick to excuse union idiocy, thuggery and corruption as she so clearly is.

    Some laws are indeed, stupid and wrong and should be breached on a frequent basis by outraged members of the citizenry. If the aforementioned stupid and wrong laws are breached enough they will then hopefully then be repealed (see a certain example noted by a commenter above).

    Are they going to arrest us all?

  25. Up The Workers!

    I know of one bunch of people who would be overjoyed with the “law is for suckers” attitude of the new Secretary of the A.C.T.Q.W.E.R.T.Y.L.G.B.T.Q.I.U.(and a partridge in a pear tree).

    They are the Musbyterian followers of a certain 6th century creed which vigorously disagrees with our laws against the public chopping off of the hands, feet, arms, legs or heads of people who disagree with them.

    They also disagree with laws prohibiting the routine plucking out of eyeballs or prohibiting sex with minors or marrying of multiple wives. They are none too happy about our laws allowing women to receive an education; being taught to read, write, play a musical instrument, dance, work, drive a car, leave the house other than in the company of a male ‘keeper’ or being seen in public without a burqa.

    The same people are against our laws prohibiting the religious caning, beating, bashing or “honour-killing” of wives and girls, and they feel unjustly restricted when our harsh laws frown on them stoning innocent pack-rape victims to death.

    But most of all, they are against those totally unjust Australian laws which cruelly prohibit them from throwing bound homosexuals off the tops of tall buildings as a form of public religious entertainment.

    Yeah, I can see them getting along REAL well with the new deep-thinking Leftard in charge of the A.C.T.Q.W.E.R.T.Y.L.G.B.T.Q.I.U(and a partridge in a pear tree!).

  26. Rabz

    Shorter version, peoples – you can’t have it both ways, as much as you might like to.

  27. gowest

    Cant wait for an “uber laour” to do an online o/s based cheap labour supply and undercut the unions. Its OK for anyone to break unjust laws!

  28. Jimf

    C’mon folks , the civil bravery on display here is inspirational. Here we have a fearless,career groomed (!) union heavy ,cosseted and insured from market forces all her working life, with (literally) the balls to call out the obligation of everyday garden variety card carrying nongs to strike and risk their job security. Talk about out of touch with your real constituents MsMac. At what point did genuine concern for your useful idiot members become lost in the gaaaaame??

  29. J.H.

    Yep. Don’t pay taxes…. They are an unjust imposition on a free society.

    She started it.

  30. BorisG

    A very foolish woman in a job she’s not competent for, is my opinion, to say something so completely stupid.

    Unfortunately she will probably get away with it, which would mean she is not stupid. She knows her audience. A bit like Trump.

  31. Dianeh

    “but when it’s unjust I don’t think there’s a problem with breaking it …”

    Fine. There is no problem as long as you are prepared to accept the punishment for your deliberate breaking of the law. Derryn Hinch broke what he considered an unjust law and then served his prison sentence for breaking the law.

    Is McManus prepared to do the same or does is she suggesting that since she considers the law unjust she should not be punished. She was a bit mute on that score. She implied that she is above the law due to her ‘high moral ground’

  32. Everyone is free to break the law on grounds of their conscience, however, as we are unable to judge you on your conscience, we can only judge you on your actions. Hence, you are still bound by it in a legal sense.

    The problem for her is that, in her position of power, she can, and should, be held liable for the actions of those who she has now incited to break the law.

  33. The Pugilist

    The ACTU has lost its social licence to operate.

  34. KaaBee

    Seems like last century’s Peter Principle is alive and thriving in the ACTU.

  35. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Former ACTU secretary Bill Kelty has backed the union movement’s new leader, Sally McManus, declaring the right not to support “bad laws” is an essential part of democracy.

    Mr Kelty, who led the union movement from 1983 to 2000, said it was not up to him to support or not support Ms McManus who this week endorsed the breaking of “unjust laws”.

    “I think having a respect for the legal system is very important because ultimately the system doesn’t work without it,’’ he said.

    “But always agreeing with it, agreeing with the outcomes and not being prepared to say no is the death knell of democracy.

    “This view ‘I do it because it is a law and I have to do it although I disagree with it and the law is a bad law’, is as silly as to say ‘I don’t believe in any law’.

    “When you look at all the great reformers in the world, who are these people who broke the law? Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, the Pankhurst sisters, Gandhi. They never had the view that the law is the law and the law is therefore right. All these people said they were bad laws, we’re not going to comply with these laws.”

    He said he occasionally broke laws as ACTU secretary, including when unions fought for universal superannuation. He said employers broke laws, as did Bob Hawke during the big disputes campaigning for Medicare.

    From the Oz. The union movement comparing themselves to Martin Luther King and Gandhi. You couldn’t make it up, honestly.

  36. Bruce

    “Are they going to arrest us all?”

    Most, they will simply terrorize.

    Those that refuse to be terrorized, will simply “disappear”.

    SOP across most of the last 150 years.

  37. mh

    Take a look at the Unions disagreeing with a Howard government budget:

    Parliament riots, August 1996

  38. BorisG

    I think it is simply ourageus, to only that she says this but also that there are no consequences

  39. OneWorldGovernment

    No ‘public servant’ should pay income taxation nor be entitled to any income tax deductions.

  40. King Koala

    I actually heard this interview when it was first broadcast. The abc airhead giving it actually pushed a little to get to that quote instead of the usual soft gloves abc has for the unions but at no point did she ask about the fact it was the unions through EBAs (signed off by fair work) who stripped penalties off workers at big business which made it impossible for small business to compete. This abc airhead had McManus on the ropes and she fails to deliver the knockout blow.

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