Hoodlum turf war: cig ‘criminals’ muscle in on state’s racket

LIBERAL MP Craig Kelly is chairing a parliamentary inquiry into illicit tobacco sales. Fairfax reports that Kelly is dismayed by an “unintended” corollary of the ever-escalating excise which addicted governments need as a revenue stream (and promote falsely as a tool to end smoking): the encouragement of illegal cigarette suppliers. Excise per cigarette is set to hit one dollar from 1 September this year.


Tobacco excise, expected to reap $17.2 billion this year, is now the fourth largest individual tax collected by the federal government with the states also benefiting from the GST that is imposed on cigarettes.

But the excise increases have given a huge financial incentive to criminals to enter the illegal cigarette market.

Craig Kelly, the Liberal MP heading a parliamentary inquiry into illicit tobacco sales, said it was clear that, while the excise increases were helping to drive down smoking rates, they had also encouraged criminals into the sector.

 
Australian Border Force siezed a record 633 tonnes of tobacco in 2018-19. The Police Federation of Australia – which doesn’t miss a thing – believes high excise rates are encouraging “criminals” whose contraband cigs are increasingly attractive to many smokers, “especially those on low incomes.” The report specifically mentions the government’s concern about the effect of affordable tobacco in Aboriginal communities – all the better to appear righteous even as it cynically uses smokers to balance the nation’s budget.


Last year’s [excise] lift, on top of 2017 and 2018 increases, will deliver an additional $2.7 billion in revenue to the current budget.

A change in the timing of excise collection, aimed at preventing evasion at the border, will deliver a one-off $3.3 billion in extra revenue this year. The two measures combined are worth $6 billion in additional excise in a year the government is forecasting a $5 billion surplus.

 
If you’re a smoker, the next time a sanctimonious crackpot tells you he resents your habit because of the future hospital cost of treating your tobacco-related illness, tell him you and your kind – lordly benefactors all – built the hospitals. Then blow a smoke-ring into his face and ash on his carpet.

This entry was posted in Economics on the left, Taxation. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Hoodlum turf war: cig ‘criminals’ muscle in on state’s racket

  1. notafan

    Aboriginal communities paying taxes.

    There should be a compensation scheme.

  2. Iain Russell

    I call bunger suckers they’re duck heads. No argument.

  3. classical_hero

    Here’s a simple solution to stop smoking, shoot the smokers. As an asthmatic, you’re putting my health at risk and why shouldn’t I be allowed to do the same?

  4. Rusty of Qld

    Why is alcohol not taxed at a similar high rate? Think of the health and life saving benefits, oh and a bit more revenue for the tax man.

  5. Some History

    LIBERAL MP Craig Kelly is chairing a parliamentary inquiry into illicit tobacco sales.

    Yep. Fatso Kelly has been “chairing” a parliamentary enquiry into “illicit” tobacco sales for a few years now. Here’s an article referring to Kelly chairing the same enquiry back in September, 2017.

    The man leading federal parliament’s investigation into illicit tobacco is a rabid anti-smoker.
    https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/health/2017/09/23/curbing-the-illicit-tobacco-trade/15060888005254

    It’s the article where Kelly is quoted, “You’ve got to make lepers of those that smoke… make their lives horrible.”

    In 2017, Kelly was highlighting presentations to the enquiry that extortionate taxes on tobacco are really the only driver of a growing contraband market in tobacco. In 2017, Kelly could have said maybe we’ve pushed this tax thing way too far. Let’s drop the last 3 of 8 (2018, 2019, 2020) tax hikes on tobacco. But, no, the glibs let the last few tax hikes go on as planned. So, now we’re in 2020 looking at the 8th of 8 tax hikes in September with Kelly still blathering on about a connection between baseless, incredibly-high taxes on tobacco and a contraband market. Sorry, fatso, but the damage has been done.

  6. Some History

    When it comes to tax on tobacco in Australia, it is no small matter. It’s not some price pressure. We’re well into the realm of insanity. In Australia, politicians of all persuasions have voted unanimously to hike an otherwise $5-6 pack of cigarettes to $25+. By 2020, with further tax hikes each year between 2017 and then, that $5-6 pack will be artificially inflated to $45+, most of the retail price going straight to government. The extent of the extortion…. the robbery… is staggering; it’s the stuff of madness. Tobacco excise, expected to reap $17.2 billion this year, is now the fourth largest individual tax collected by the federal government with the states also benefiting from the GST that is imposed on cigarettes.

    Tax on tobacco is not rocket science. Inflate the price too high and it becomes de facto prohibition for those of low income. It’s an open invitation to an “alternative supply”, referred to by the government robbers as “illicit”. They were warned time and again years ago – before this 8 year span of tax hikes – of this simplicity, advice that they have long disregarded, hiking tax on tobacco into “twilight zone” levels. And yet here are these top-shelf tossers now contemplating what they are to do about a flourishing “illicit” market.

    It is government of the last few years advised by prohibitionist tossers from a variety of “charitable” organizations (e.g., cancer councils, heart foundations) that are singularly, solely to blame for an illicit market in tobacco. Every time there is a seizure of illicit tobacco, the spotlight should go straight onto government and the Public Health unintelligentsia; they created this entirely foreseeable problem. Who’s the biggest criminal getting the largest cut by far from tobacco? It’s the government.

    Craig Kelly has headed an enquiry into the contraband market for years. It’s not rocket science: Hike tax into unreasonable levels and it’s a red-carpet invitation to a contraband market. Yet these greedy, tosser politicians and their economic advisors seem bamboozled by the emergence of a contraband market. The cancer council, a loud advocate for massive taxes on tobacco, denies that there’s even any connection between soaring tobacco taxes on tobacco and a contraband market. There is no reasoning with these fools. They are dangerously stupid. The sanctimonious wankers that have produced this mess now want more funding for enforcement and bigger penalties for “transgressors”. They are pushing it into nastier and nastier levels where eventually ordinary citizens will be turned into criminals. This deterioration, too, is entirely predictable.

  7. billie

    you have to wonder why the reluctance to allow marijuana into the market then .

    surely the government could double our money

  8. Some History

    For those not familiar.

    The magnitude of extortionate taxes on tobacco in Australia.

    By 2020 the cost of a $5-6 pack of 20 cigarettes will be well over $40 (~£20), artificially inflated by government taxes.

    It’s the Labor Party (one-time “workers party”) that has initiated tax hikes. While in government it instituted a 25% increase in excise in 2010. In the lead-up to the 2013 elections, it indicated that it would increase excise by 12.5% for each of 4 years (2013-2016). The Liberal Party (one-time “small government and individual autonomy” party) initially rubbished the proposal. Yet within a few weeks, it adopted the exact, same policy, word for word, amount for amount. So, with the last (2016) of the 4 x 12.5% excise increases, the cost of a pack of 20 cigarettes at this time was well over $20.

    If the above wasn’t insane enough, in the lead-up to the mid-2016 elections, the Labor Party announced that, if elected, it will impose another round of 12.5% hikes in tobacco excise for each of the next 4 years (2017-2020), and is the exact same policy as in the lead-up to the 2013 election. That would make 8 years x 12.5% tax hikes plus a 10% goods and services tax (GST) slapped on top. And believe it or not, that still isn’t enough for these greedy, foaming-at-the-mouth hogs. For years there have also been 2 automatic tax hikes (+GST) per year on tobacco that used to be aligned to the Consumer Price Index. But, you guessed it, even this wasn’t enough. These automatic tax hikes are now aligned to “average male weekly earnings” (AMWE) which yields a higher amount of tax.

    And just like in 2013, the Liberal Party initially rubbished Labor’s intent to introduce another 4 x 12.5% of taxes. But within a few weeks it adopted the exact, same policy. It’s this exact, same policy adopted by both major parties that’s particularly disturbing. There is no variation on the policy by the Liberal Party…. none. It strongly suggests that the greedy, useful-idiot politicians of both Parties are being directed on policy by outsiders (e.g., the World Health Organization). So, not only are smokers robbed financially but they are also robbed of choice at the ballot box when both major parties adopt the exact, same extortionate policy.

    In September, 2020, will be the 8th of 8 12.5% increases in tobacco excise. Then there are 2 smaller increases per year aligned to average male weekly earnings. These used to be aligned to the CPI but AMWE yields a higher taxing value. Then there’s 10% GST on the tax.

    2013 – 12.5% tobacco tax increase + 2 x AMWE increases + 10% GST
    2014 – 12.5% tobacco tax increase + 2 x AMWE increases + 10% GST
    2015 – 12.5% tobacco tax increase + 2 x AMWE increases + 10% GST
    2016 – 12.5% tobacco tax increase + 2 x AMWE increases + 10% GST
    2017 – 12.5% tobacco tax increase + 2 x AMWE increases + 10% GST
    2018 – 12.5% tobacco tax increase + 2 x AMWE increases + 10% GST
    2019 – 12.5% tobacco tax increase + 2 x AMWE increases + 10% GST
    2020 – 12.5% tobacco tax increase + 2 x AMWE increases + 10% GST

    The robbery by government just escalates. These government crooks have inflated a $5-6 pack of cigarettes to approaching $50 for premium brands. Include the income tax paid by tobacco importers and tobacco retailers, it’s the government snout that accounts for 85%+ of the pack price. And the States are in on the action through their GST cut on tobacco taxes.

  9. Mother Lode

    How do they know smoking rates have gone down if there is this illicit trade that doesn’t report to their precious departments.

    And given they believe price increases discourage smoking, wouldn’t these cheaper cities encourage it?

    And before they go trawling for taxes again, could they please give us an account of where the money already confiscated is going? God knows I can see very little that we get for it.

  10. Tim Neilson

    How do they know smoking rates have gone down if there is this illicit trade that doesn’t report to their precious departments.

    Actually they know it’s going up.

    They used to get surveys done.
    The people doing the survey would collect every empty cigarette packet and tobacco pouch in a large number of areas demographically and geographically representative of Australia.
    Then they’d sort them out and calculate the proportion of packets/pouches that were legal compared with illegal.
    They’d use those proportions, and the known sales of legal tobacco, to get a very statistically reliable estimate of how much illegal tobacco was being consumed.

    But as soon as the stats started showing that drops in legal tobacco consumption (putatively caused by price hikes, plain packaging etc.) were less than the increases in illegal consumption, they announced that the methodology was “unreliable” and stopped doing the surveys.

  11. Some History

    classical_hero
    #3334472, posted on February 25, 2020 at 3:12 pm
    Here’s a simple solution to stop smoking, shoot the smokers. As an asthmatic, you’re putting my health at risk and why shouldn’t I be allowed to do the same?

    CH, you’re a first-class moron. But I’m sure you’ve been told that many times before.

    There are asthmatics that smoke. Here’s some news for you, CH, difficult as it may be for your terribly limited and violence-addled cognitive state. It’s not smokers putting your health at risk. It’s your asthma (if you have asthma and not just making that up) that’s putting your health at risk. Your asthma is an abnormality. Your physical system is failing to do what a normally functioning system can do.

    But, CH, you do show up antismoking for the nut casery that it is. Your asinine comment indicates that not only do you have an asthma problem but also some major psycho-emotional problems. The antismoker transposed to climate change would be a climate change hysteric demanding all sorts of “protections”.

    Here’s a final question, CH. Will you be attending this year’s Democratic Socialist Convention in the USA?

  12. Chris M

    If poor people can’t afford the exorbitant fag tax imagine if the government could instead offer them free needles and injecting spaces where they can use tax-free narcotics. That would be a crazy country no.

  13. Chris M

    Then when they OD free emergency medical, free recovery programs and free jail time for the tough ones. For the females that get knocked up while high free pre-birth infanticide or alternatively the choice of after birth foster care for the permanently drug impaired children.

  14. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    Chris M – another absurdity is that the heroin injecting rooms are a “smoke free” environment.

  15. rafiki

    That smokers burden the net-tax payers is wrong. Yes, many will end their years with lung cancer and in hospital, but at an earlier age than longer living non-smokers. Looking at this point alone, sec0ndary effects of smoking on others might also be seen as beneficial. But others should have a choice about whether to die earlier and segregation of smokers is justifiable.

  16. Phill

    Each cigarette weighs about a gram, and costs about $1. The price of pure silver is about 60 cents per gram. Just sayin’.

  17. Some History

    That smokers burden the net-tax payers is wrong. Yes, many will end their years with lung cancer and in hospital, but at an earlier age than longer living non-smokers. Looking at this point alone, sec0ndary effects of smoking on others might also be seen as beneficial. But others should have a choice about whether to die earlier and segregation of smokers is justifiable.

    There are some interesting thoughts worth a further look.

    Yes, many will end their years with lung cancer and in hospital

    What %age of heavy smokers will die of lung cancer? Most people, having their thinking addled by decades of antismoking crap, think that it’s high – 50%, 60%, 70% at least. It’s actually around 10%. For light smokers, lung cancer risk is very close to never smokers. Another fact that you will never hear from Public Health is that the overall cancer mortality rate is much the same – ~33% – for smokers and non-smokers. Smokers do die from lung cancer more than non-smokers which means that non-smokers die more from cancer originating at sites other than the lung but that will probably spread (secondary) to other organs including the lung.

    There are plenty of folk who believe – having been fed so by Public Health – that smokers die more of all sorts of disease. Yet, they never make the connection that if smokers are dying more of some things, then non-smokers must be dying more of other things. The 3 main things that will knock people out of the mortal state is cancer, heart disease, and neuro-vascular disease. So, for example, if smokers are dying more of cancer, then non-smokers must be dying more from one or both of the other two. They’re all fatal.

    If before every antismoking diatribe there is a presentation of what non-smokers die of, this will at least provide some context for the antismoking crap.

    But others should have a choice about whether to die earlier and segregation of smokers is justifiable.

    How much of the “secondhand smoke” stuff is accurate/reasonable? Segregation? Some sort of “apartheid”? That would be lovely. Prohibitionists are not after segregation, however unjustifiable. They are after eradication… to give smoking no social accommodation whatsoever.

  18. Robber Baron

    Obviously we will need to subsidize fags and grog for the abbariginals. They are special.

  19. Squirrel

    “Then blow a smoke-ring into his face and ash on his carpet.” – and remind him that you probably won’t be claiming pension and aged care benefits for as long as non-smokers, so you’re doing the budget a double-favour.

  20. NoFixedAddress

    Some History
    #3334522, posted on February 25, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    For those not familiar.

    The magnitude of extortionate taxes on tobacco in Australia.

    Wait until they do it to petrol!!!!

  21. Fair Shake of the Sauce Bottle

    My 80 yo Mother smokes her 3-4 cigs per day. Prefers cigs to food. Crazy life choices eh? But her age, whatever makes you happy.
    She is on the pension and has been on or below poverty line her entire life.
    I love seeing how big Government infantilises it’s peoples. We know what’s best … yaddah yaddah.
    This whole debacle reminds me of the Monty Python skit Dennis Moore.”Robs from the poor and gives to The Rich!!, stupid b!tch’
    Stop robbing the poor !!!

  22. Bruce Parr

    All the great advances in Western civilisation and technology occurred during the 500 years of heavy tobacco consumption. Since the tobacco stimulant has been turned off Western culture has become moribund.

  23. John_R

    Like Mr Rudd’s Pink Batts, the current extortionate tax tobacco policy has a number of unintended consequences which politicians seem blithely unaware of.

    These obscenely high taxes are significantly harming Australia by directly causing:
    • Low income children going without food.
    • Increase in domestic violence and family breakdown.
    • Economic damage due to reduction in disposable income.
    • Reduced productivity of depressed and stressed workers that were forced to quit.
    • Increased direct and indirect costs due to rapid growth in prescription and illicit drug use.
    • Increase in fatigue motor vehicle crashes. Tobacco assists drivers to stay alert.
    • Increase in obesity. On average ex-smokers gain 10kg from overeating to compensate.

    I see in the paper recently that 65,000 children now attend school without being provided any food. Low income parents are choosing between their smokes and food for their children and it is the government that has imposed this choice on them.

    The ironically named “plain” packaging appears to be deliberately designed to cause family discord via graphic propaganda aimed not at the smoker but at family members. Smokers know these are lies, non-smokers do not. Additionally, financial stress from these high taxes is obviously a leading cause of family discord leading to domestic violence.

  24. areff

    Hey, it’s promoting multiculturalism, which makes us stronger.

    Lithuanian-made Marlboro Lights for the Korean market smuggled into Australia and sold under the counter for $14 a pack by Abdul the Friendly. You can’t get more UN-ish than that.

    They were $16 a pack three weeks ago, but the price has come down in three-way discounting war with Mr Wong the Amiable and a rival Korean vendor who is too surly to reveal his name.

    Prohibition. Apparently our betters have never heard of Al Capone and the huge favour it did him.

  25. Proessor Fred Lenin

    Turf war between two gangs of crools ,TURF used to be the cheapest rubbish cigs in Australia ,Henry Bolte Vic Premier used to smoke them while he was belting the crap out of communists and socialists ,now there was a Liberal ,none of that woke shit with Henry .

Comments are closed.