Shorten’s fix for imaginary inequality issue is to tax the rich

Today in The Australian

When Bill Shorten says “tax reform” what he means is the largest peacetime increase in tax rates since federation.

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas AO is a columnist for The Australian. From 2009 to 2015 he was Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia and from 2009 to 2017 was Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility. He joined SMART and Deloitte after working as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Prior to that, he was an economist at the OECD in Paris from the late 1970s until the early 1990s. At the OECD, he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment (1984-1987), which concentrated on improving the efficiency of government policies in a wide range of areas, and was subsequently Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department. He has taught at a range of universities, undertaken a number of government inquiries and served as a Lay Member of the New Zealand High Court. In 2016, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to Shorten’s fix for imaginary inequality issue is to tax the rich

  1. Craig

    It’s pathetic, record levels of revenue, record levels of debt and record levels of spending. It’s a conversation I’ve given up on.

  2. Shy Ted

    Turnbull’ mateship with Shorten is creepy. But Shorten is a far better politician.

  3. stackja

    And Shorten wants who as president?

  4. H B Bear

    The real problem with the Liars is that they do what they say they are going to do. No chance of tax increases being blocked in the Senate, a one way here to the Left.

  5. Baldrick

    Shorten’s fix for imaginary inequality issue is to tax the rich

    Add that to the imaginary climate issue and you start to realise why politicians are held in such low esteem.

  6. John constantine

    Private property is theft from the shorten foundation.

  7. candy

    Bill Shorten is a clever politician, that’s for sure.

    The natural question is whether Malcolm Turnbull will agree or argue against, as he is a Centrist, and that’s a new breed of political party.

  8. Haidee

    Shorten’s not exactly poor himself.

    Turnbull craves the presidency.
    Shorten would love to be a Malcolm Turnbull; he’ll see Turnbull as the ideal man for the position.

  9. Roger

    Venestralia, here we come.

  10. candy

    I see Bill Shorten is talking of a referendum on being a republic this morning as well, if he’s elected.

    Pushing hard on his party’s policy platform, and asking M Turnbull his position on these issues. It’s what a good opposition leader does.

  11. struth

    The result of the election will be the votes not going to Liberals, won’t be going to Labor.

    Our future lies in an Australian Trump, ……………..likelihood zilch.

    Bernardi is gathering steam and if the minor right of centre parties are smart they can at least hold the balance of power.
    I believe that we have a great division in Labor voters as well.
    A subject not often talked about and not exploited by the right wing parties.
    The insane Marxist left is a minority.
    Albeit a very noisy minority, but a minority none the less.
    They have captured the labor party.
    Their rabid desire for the destruction of this country and to bring on the revolution isn’t what a lot of old Labor want.
    Hence we see the likes of Mark Latham.
    Liberals have moved too far left for many Liberal voters to stomache, but Labor has moved too far left for many Labor voters to stomach..
    Disillusionment in the whole lot of them is what you are seeing from the majority of Australians.
    They only hear themselves, the media and public service voices totally captured by Cultural Marxism (the likes of Tim and the HRC).

    Just recently, Trump had a long time democrat voter up on stage with him.
    He had voted for Donald.
    There are plenty out there in Australia, long time Labor voters that will vote for closed borders and jobs growth.
    Shorten and Malcom are looking for the votes of around 40 or so journalists.
    They really are that stupid.

  12. Roger

    I see Bill Shorten is talking of a referendum on being a republic this morning as well, if he’s elected.

    Pushing hard on his party’s policy platform, and asking M Turnbull his position on these issues. It’s what a good opposition leader does.

    Not if he’s painting himself into a corner while doing so.

    There is little appetite for a referendum on a republic and if the question was lost it it could make his prime ministership untenable.

    Of course, he could be lying about his intentions to wedge Maladroit…in which case he’ll disappoint the republicans.

  13. Haidee

    “. . Bernardi is gathering steam . .”

    Yes, he’s doing well
    Some said he was a dud. But he isn’t.

  14. Roger

    I see Bill Shorten is talking of a referendum on being a republic this morning as well, if he’s elected.

    Mind you, his logic is clear:

    Under Labor, the monarchy would be the only thing preventing us from being a banana republic.

  15. John constantine

    Tax the rich, tax the robots, royal commission the rich bank profits, manage superannuation so everybody gets a fair share regardless of contributions paid in, the run the air force as an airlift to branch stack marginal electorates with mass imported vote plantations.

    Population Ponzi paid for with a tax on Racism, Comrades.

  16. Atoms for Peace

    Times like this, it is good to have dual citizenship options..

  17. JohnA

    Maybe NK can help us if they select as their first test target for a long-range missile a manufactured city about 200km south west of Sydney.

    Guidance systems can lock onto the artificial lake in the middle as a decent landmark.

    NADT and NAFS (not a final solution), but could be a point from which to re-boot the country.

  18. candy

    There is little appetite for a referendum on a republic and if the question was lost it it could make his prime ministership untenable.

    He’s trolling Malcolm Turnbull just mentioning it.

  19. Muddy

    Bill Shorten is a clever politician, that’s for sure.

    With respect, I disagree. How difficult is it to stand back and watch lemmings throw themselves off a cliff? When there is no competition, no contrast or contradiction or alternative narrative, all you need to do is remain standing and look vaguely lifelike. That the Maggot-Infested-Corpse Party has been either unwilling or unable to politically incinerate those finger-puppets, is astonishing.

  20. Jo Smyth

    Bill Shorten wakes up every morning, gets out his list of ridiculous ideas and releases them to the MSM. He is having a laugh at our expense and loving every minute of it.

  21. Tom

    I see Bill Shorten is talking of a referendum on being a republic this morning as well, if he’s elected.

    The natural question is whether Malcolm Turnbull will agree or argue against, as he is a Centrist, and that’s a new breed of political party.

    Well, what do you reckon a former leader of the republican movement is going to support, Candy?

    he is a Centrist, and that’s a new breed of political party

    Why are you parroting everything the MSM tells you to think, Candy?

    If Trumble was a centrist who governed for the majority — instead of a leftist wrecking a formerly conservative party — he would be way ahead in the opinion polls and coasting to electoral victory. Instead, he is clinging to a one-seat majority after destroying Abbott’s 35-seat victory and he is about to be forced to an election, in which the LNP will be massacred for betraying its base.

  22. Ft Fred Lenin

    The nerve of these incompetent self seeking political crooks ,”trust us to set up a decromatik socialist republic and give us longer terms so we can keep bludging on the taxpayer for the rest of our useless lives .There are much more important things to be done before we need political bullshit like the republic . The reds can never agree anyway whether to have a dictator president or a ceremonial maggot ;,imagine the most;ing amongst the comrades for president ? Even ruddbulls lefties would be in a flap,,don’t trust politicians or lawyers same thing really both lying crooks.

  23. candy

    Tom,
    I’m quite sure I read that he said he is of the “sensible centre”. In a speech overseas perhaps? I thought he meant not Labor, not Liberal, but somewhere plumb in the middle, which they feel is where the hidden votes are.
    Perhaps I misunderstood.

  24. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    I see Bill Shorten is talking of a referendum on being a republic this morning as well, if he’s elected.

    Didn’t Australians vote down a republic with a President chosen by both Houses of Parliament in the late 1990’s?

  25. Rabz

    That big boobed peanut headed imbecile will cause me to leave this country.

    I stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if he gets his way, which he will, thanks to the most obscene assemblage of drooling cretinous quislings to congregate in any one place since WW2.

    If only HOP Time were a live option.

  26. D. A. W.

    Abbott is our only hope.

    Turnbull for lots of different reasons, including those mentioned above, is not a good advocate to fight for this. You can imagine the headlines now or at least the attacks if he were to fight higher taxes and while I can ignore the headlines it is clear that Turnbull hates bad headlines.

    Hope is a virtue and I think in Abbott we have a solution. Yes, he’s not going to reform but he will fight against Shorten’s tax and energy policy. I can’t ask for more.

    Further, Shorten is scared of Abbott. Why on earth would a Labor leader be worried about infighting in the Liberal Party other than in the knowledge that Abbott is his true problem?

  27. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    I’ll bet good money that, if Bill Shorten has any say, first President of the Republic will be Julia Gilliard.

  28. john constantine

    If shorten has any say, the first president of this once great nation will be:

    Nanny Roxon.

  29. Rabz

    Ex-Kommisar Troggs is currently unburdened with any high office.

  30. Jo Smyth

    Another thing for Turnbull to get on the phone and agree to.

  31. Tom

    Tom,
    I’m quite sure I read that he said he is of the “sensible centre”.

    And you believed him.

    You really must start thinking for yourself, Candy.

  32. Muddy

    I can’t ask for more.

    There is the problem in one simple sentence. Let us meekly bare our bellies and console ourselves as the vision and sound fades that at least we did not disrespect those who disembowelled us. We were polite, helpful – nay, gracious – to our executioners, and in the end, we will be rewarded for that.

  33. D. A. W.

    Muddy,

    Maybe my language was defeatist. But for me a fight on energy and tax would be a big victory from here. A win on these issues, particularly if energy policy changes led to new coal HELE generation, would be the great counterfactual to the current nonsense. Democracy requires a slow roll back, but we need some wins to be emboldened and I think energy and tax are the place to start.

    D.A.W.

  34. I see Bill Shorten is talking of a referendum on being a republic this morning as well, if he’s elected.

    No, that’s not on. It would be divisive!!

  35. Muddy

    D.A.W.
    Fair enough, but my point is that rather than asking, we need to start demanding. Our politicians are there to serve us, not the other way around. We are so used to shrugging our shoulders and saying ‘Meh. We didn’t expect much anyway, so we’re not really disappointed.’ Translation: Someone else will do something about it. Sometime. Hopefully. It’s not my problem anyway.’ Future generations will look back and spit on our memory as the generations that sold them into virtual slavery.

    Fighting words are simple to express, I know, and perhaps I’m unrealistically ambitious.

  36. Leo G

    “… the first clear question asked should be whether people want an Australian head of state.”

    Not so clear really. More a sleight of hand.
    The de facto head of state is the Prime Minister while the de jure head of state is the Governor General, who is also the representative of the current heir and successor of Queen Victoria in the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.
    If we assume Bill Shorten wants an Australian de jure HoS who is not the representative of another person in the sovereignty of a foreign power, then what he really means is to break the legal link between the de jure HoS and the Crown of the United Kingdom and thereby invalidate the 9 clauses of the Australia Constitution Act.
    A referendum would be required to reconstitute the Commonwealth of Australia, hopefully still humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, so that the people of Australia, already united in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth, can dissolve the indissoluble and replace it with something more logically correct- with a Constitution not pulled up by its own bootstraps and not burdened with the logical inconsistencies of a Russell Paradox.
    Like the meerkat says: “Simples”.

  37. Haidee

    Any money wagered on Julia Gillard being first president will be lost.
    Shorten knows the people hated her.
    He’d struggle to find someone ‘popular’.
    Chortling Cosgrove might want it.

  38. Confused Old Misfit

    “… the first clear question asked should be whether people want an Australian head of state.”

    This is a question that need never be put. Any time some puerile voice raises this issue one must start digging to discover that issue of which one is not supposed to be aware.
    There are more important issues to be dealt with than some politicians attempts to create a “legacy”.

  39. Dr Fred Lenin

    Two suggestions for Australia ,
    First reduction of term in politicsto annual elections for both houses .and no politician to serve more that three terms of one year mthe be banned from politics for life ,instant recall if proven to be dishonest or devious,no pensions pay their own super .
    Secondly ,dismiss any idea of a republic untill the country recovers from the disaster if krudd,giliard,abbott and rudbull ,who have all wrecked the economy for their own advancement .
    A lot of long jail sentences might go some way to mending the mess of their creation.-

  40. Habib

    As opposed to the tax hikes of the incumbents. Pray tell how Tits & Co will be measurably worse? We’re fucked either way. This shit Is happening on the coalition’s watch. Well past tumbrill time.

  41. Senile Old Guy

    Didn’t Australians vote down a republic with a President chosen by both Houses of Parliament in the late 1990’s?

    1999. With the exception of the ACT, all states and territories voted against Australia becoming a republic. Despite those pushing a republic, there is little evidence that the public regard this as a major issue.

    Two notable points about that referendum: Turnbull was front man for the “become a republic” case; and the referendum had a second question about inserting a preamble in the constitution which, among other things, was about”honouring Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, the nation’s first people, for their deep kinship with their lands and for their ancient and continuing cultures which enrich the life of our country”.

    The preamble was rejected by all states and territories and by a bigger margin than the republic.

    Odd how, a little more than 15 years later, both issues are again being pushed.

    And, just in case people have forgotten Turnbull’s tirade after the last election, there is this:

    After the referendum, Malcolm Turnbull blamed Prime Minister Howard in particular for the defeat and claimed: “Whatever else he achieves, history will remember him for only one thing. He was the Prime Minister who broke a nation’s heart.”

    55% of Australian voters rejected the republic, so Howard did not break their heart.

    For the record, I voted against a republic and would very likely do so again. There is no problem with Australian politics that becoming a republic would fix. I can, however, see many problems it might create. And, in general, if Bill Shorten is in favour of it, I will be opposed.

  42. .

    The Republic model really did recreate what we have now but you need to have a deep look at it to realise it. There are some explicit things that people took offence to, like the PM sacking the President – the PM can already sack the GG. It is dangerous to think the Constitution is just fine. It had some noble aims. It has some serious flaws or problems arising from High Court jurisprudence that can only be fixed by a referendum.

    The republic debate focusing on a head of state is sad. Ditching a more pure form of democracy for a constitutional republic with democratic checks and balances might turn this nation around.

    The Prime Minister, for example, has some prerogatives that were held by the British Crown/elected British executive government. That was never intended by design. Judicial appointments at least ought to be subject to scrutiny, as in the USA.

    The Aboriginal thing has even less chance, like the local government proposals. Thank god. They’re odious.

  43. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    For the record, I voted against a republic and would very likely do so again. There is no problem with Australian politics that becoming a republic would fix. I can, however, see many problems it might create. And, in general, if Bill Shorten is in favour of it, I will be opposed.

    I voted against a republic – as you say, I cannot see any advantages, but I will bet good money that any President will be a mere figurehead. The Left will never allow anyone to do what the Governor General did to their idol in 1975.

    Some comedian, over at the Oz, has put forward a list of candidates for President – Julia Gilliard, Gillian Triggs, Roz Ward, Yasmin Axle – Magpie….

  44. Senile Old Guy

    I voted against a republic – as you say, I cannot see any advantages, but I will bet good money that any President will be a mere figurehead. The Left will never allow anyone to do what the Governor General did to their idol in 1975.

    Any president should be a figurehead, preserving the system we have.

    Some comedian, over at the Oz, has put forward a list of candidates for President – Julia Gilliard, Gillian Triggs, Roz Ward, Yasmin Axle – Magpie….

    And someone like these odious individuals is what we would end up with if we had an appointed president.

    The four-year-term “debate” is, again, all about taking power from the voters and giving it to the rabble in Canberra.

  45. stackja

    USA Constitution was written to stop men becoming gods.
    Australian constitution was written by gentlemen who expected politicians to be gentlemen.

  46. Bruce in WA

    USA Constitution was written to stop men becoming gods.
    Australian constitution was written by gentlemen who expected politicians to be gentlemen.

    Beautifully put.

  47. stackja

    Bruce in WA
    #2454085, posted on July 29, 2017 at 3:19 pm
    USA Constitution was written to stop men becoming gods.
    Australian constitution was written by gentlemen who expected politicians to be gentlemen.

    Beautifully put.

    Thank you.

  48. .

    Correct. They should have lowered their expectations.

  49. struth

    Abbott is our only hope.

    Like last time?

    The Liberal party are dead.
    If he had any integrity he would be in Bernardi’s party or an independent.
    He is not a leader and contrary to bullshit put forward, he wasn’t a great opposition leader.
    Any space cadet could have won against a government tearing itself apart.

    Abbott is No hope.

  50. Boambee John

    candy at 1013

    To Turncoat, the “sensible centre” is between Labor and the Greens.

    It is all a matter of perspective!

  51. John64

    The one advantage the present system has is that the selection process for the Head of State is beyond any political interference.

    Until some one comes up with a model for a Republic that maintains this feature I will continue to support the status quo.

    The last thing this country needs is a fourth level of Government; an elected President becomes by definition part of the political process.

  52. john malpas

    Don’t want prince Charles at all.

  53. Robber Baron

    Zulu Kilo Two Alpha
    #2453857, posted on July 29, 2017 at 10:22 am
    I’ll bet good money that, if Bill Shorten has any say, first President of the Republic will be Julia Gilliard.

    Yes. Just to rub it in the faces of the unwashed peasant class, PM Tits will replace one foreigner, English Betty with Welsh slapper Julia. Perfect slap in the face.

  54. .

    State Governors by nominations of local Council and Premier appoints from that pool, subject to Legislative Council approval, for one term only of seven years. Same rules for eligibility as Federal and WA MPs.

    The President is then selected for one term only of seven years by the PM and confirmed by the Senate in the same way, out of the pool of former , not sitting governors. Same eligibility as Federal and WA MPs.

    Have CIR to strike down bad laws (only), recall elections and make Federal and State judicial and executive appointments subject Upper House approval.

    No Lionel Murphy. No President Gillard. No President Kochie. No secretive appointments of any other HCA judges. No wait to repeal the carbon tax. No need to rely on Parliament to sack bad judges or to remove a stooge President or Governor.

    Or, you could vest the reserve powers in Cabinet, the Houses separately and jointly and the PM and Chief Justice, with the recall & initiative and appointment provisions as well.

    *A bill of rights would be nice too. A real one.

  55. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    No President Gillard. No President Kochie.

    No President Morrison. No President Goodes. No President Batty…

  56. DM OF WA

    Imaginary inequality? You effete think-tankers in the ivory towers are like Marie Antoinette; we are living in a pre-revolutionary moment. If things do not improve bigly for the masses the consequences will be real enough. Doesn’t matter how deserving or undeserving you think they are because they vastly outnumber you.

  57. @SeditionaryI

    DM, let me spell it out for you, you can not tax for welfare your way to equality and prosperity, it is as simple as that. In a world of individuals we shoukd never aspire to be equals, nor should we allow government to mandate such a lunacy.

    However, let’s assume we are living in pre-revolutionary times, exactly which side do you suppose owns the most guns?

  58. overburdened

    The current crop of carpetbaggers are a symptom not the problem. If the Country is so rat shit that a bean bag like Shorten can even get a hearing then the Country will get what it deserves from him and his mob’s new strain of insanity. It’s a disgrace there is no-one going into bat for the people who are not on a big enough scale to afford the vehicles to avoid getting raped without lube over power prices, internet access, buying anything, selling anything, saving anything, indulging their delusion of property ownership or getting out of the place for respite; to keep propping up a burgeoning underclass of bludgers and self-identified intellectuals who hate those who feed them.
    Shorten and his miscreant mob are as hollow as Turnbull’s smile and affected bonhomie. The agrarian socialism of Barnaby Joyce at least has the well being of some of the citizens in mind. Never has the cliché, ‘A choice between proven failure and potential disaster’ been more telling.
    Being someone who likes solutions as much as whining about issues, I can report that there are two good choices. Equador if you like the Central America/ Latino vibe, or Sri Lanka if a Buddha in a box on every corner is your thing. I have a South African occasional colleague who told me I should live in Cape Town because the bang for the buck is crazy more than it was last time I was there. Cape Town is the greatest city in the world in my opinion, but the ship is sinking so go for a look sooner rather than later and don’t move/ retire there- again only my opinion fwiw

  59. DM of WA

    @SeditionaryI
    #2454231, posted on July 29, 2017 at 8:09 pm
    DM, let me spell it out for you, you can not tax for welfare your way to equality and prosperity, it is as simple as that.

    Unfortunately it is not me you need to convince – it is the recent generations of people brainwashed by socialist infested state institutions and media and the hordes of uneducated third world immigrants swarming into Western societies; these people are not amenable to rational economic arguments. And the numbers of votes is the only thing that counts in a democracy.

    What we are experiencing now is disruptive social change triggered by the Global Financial Crisis, the failure of globalisation and massive migration flows from overpopulation and related wars in Africa and the Middle East. The change we are living through is bigger than the changes that occurred following Great Depression and World War One. There will be plenty of inequality for everyone.

  60. Deplorable

    We can bleat all we want but where is the support for and an honest bunch of politicians that will stick by their promises and philosophy. Abbot with his huge majority wimped it ,the Senate that supposedly represents states rights can’t agree on a proper course of action. Too many migrants ,welfare for life for any person who wants to game the system, damaging government bodies using their ideology to destroy society, NDIS, useless submarines and so the list goes on. Public servants receiving far more than can be justified compared to the private sector distort wages and tax outcomes. Government spending out of control. There is not a conservative or right of centre political party or independents that have the policies or the guts to implement what is required to make Australia great again . I have no answer and it appears there isn’t one.

  61. Deplorable

    Imaginary inequality? You effete think-tankers in the ivory towers are like Marie Antoinette; we are living in a pre-revolutionary moment. If things do not improve bigly for the masses the consequences will be real enough. Doesn’t matter how deserving or undeserving you think they are because they vastly outnumber youservice
    Yet we still import those who hate us and will never assimilate whilst living off welfare provided by an ever increasing burden of taxes and government charges on the workers and savers of little means. Add up the GST, stamp duty,registration and third party,council rates,government theft of retirees income by extra taxes on banks, fire service levy imposed by governments, excessive power prices and so it goes on. Then apply all government charges to your after tax income (workers only please) and see what is left over to buy a house a car send kids to school feed the family and other costs on the average ,I say again the average income of what $75000 (I wish). Makes it look easy for all those so called public servants on Salaries above $1,000,000 plus those below down to $100,000 because the reality is that small private enterprise in the main cannot compete yet they are the backbone of the country that do the producing. Just a thought from a self funded retiree who is sick of being plundered to support public service welfare bludgers.

  62. Speedbox

    As I have said before in various threads……anyone not making plans to remove their wealth from this country is going to be very disappointed at their lack of foresight and action.

Comments are closed.