The latest budget from this Liberal-National Coalition Government included a measure called a bank “levy”. Although it was called a levy, it is really a tax. But unlike a normal tax, it is targeted at 5 specific banks, rather than all banks or all businesses.
It has been argued by various commentators that there is a good policy basis for this tax – it is to compensate citizens for the benefit of the implied government guarantee and other alleged privileges these particular banks receive.
Many, and notably the Treasurer, the Hon. Scott Morrison, have suggested that the tax is also justifiable because the banks, and these 5 banks in particular, are generally unliked. So said the Treasurer at a post budget presentation last week:
(customers) already don’t like you very much.
The Treasurer also urged the (business) sector to tell them (banks) to:
pony up and help fix the budget.
Thus, this Budget has birthed a the new Australian Tax doctrine, whereby if you are:
- generally unliked;
- benefit from a government/tax payer guarantee; and
- earn super profits
then your taxes should be increased.
Well then. Based on this new tax doctrine, the income tax of our politicians must be increased so as to contribute to budget repair. Let’s test the qualifications:
- Are politicians generally unliked? Is there any doubt? TICK
- Do politicians benefit from a government/tax payer guarantee? When was the last time their income was cut or superannuation threatened? Can anyone else get their employer to pay for their family holiday? TICK
- Do politicians earn super profits? A base salary of $199,040 per annum plus super/retirement benefits, plus various role/committee allowances, plus travel allowances, plus electoral allowance? Is this a serious question? TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK – I am not a bomb – TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK.
According to the budget papers, it costs over $400 million to feed and water our 226 elected officials (150 MPs and 76 Senators) or around $1.9 million (*corrected) each. How many listed company CEOs earn that much?
Within this cost is also around $3.1 million for international junkets for our politicians for purposes unclear – see the Australian Political Parties for Democracy Program and Australian Political Exchange Program. Apparently also the $2.2 million Australian Political Parties for Democracy Program was supposed to have been axed, but lo and behold, its back. How do you separate a politicians from a business class overseas trip? With a crow bar.
If every single one of our parliamentarian took their trip, the average cost would be around $14,000 trip each. Nice business class return flights to Paris for the Spring anyone?
How about an efficiency dividend? The public service is supposed to get hit. How about we have a 10% reduction in MPs from the current 150 to 135 and each state cough up 2 senators? Australia has roughly 1 member of parliament for every 158,000 persons. The US has roughly 1 congressman for every 738,000 person. Clearly there is some inefficiencies available.
OK Treasurer Morrison. Your doctrine. You implement it.
Time to pony up buddy and contribute to budget repair. It’s only fair.