The Left’s Smear Campaign on Business Revenue is Nothing but a Dishonest Lie

Kerrod GreamKerrod Gream takes on the perception that companies should be taxed on revenue that the left have been pushing since the ATO’s Corporate Tax Transparency Report for the 2013-14 Financial Year.

Following the release of the ATO’s Corporate Tax Transparency Report for the 2013-14 Financial Year there has been a spewing of memes, and distaste from those of the left about how businesses aren’t paying their fair share. These go along the line of “This company made x amount of revenue in 2013/14 but paid almost 0% tax” ignoring that revenue does not equal profit. Their 0% tax figures comes from comparing total revenue to the tax paid, rather than comparing taxable income(aka profit) to tax paid.

The CFMEU's dishonest attack on Boral, who paid their fair share of tax on taxable income.

The CFMEU’s dishonest attack on Boral, who paid their fair share of tax on taxable income.

The unions, all of which they themselves pay no tax, have been some of the worst on the smear campaign on business. Australian Unions are calling for Spotless to pay tax on their $2.2billion of revenue despite the fact that they made an operating loss in the previous financial year and are perfectly entitled to deduct that from their total tax paid. The CFMEU has quite possibly been the worst of the spread of misinformation, providing the image above but also attacking News Corp  and Brickworks(the offending image as of writing this article has been removed) over revenue and not profit. The left wing lobby group GetUp also continued to spread the misconception. Ignoring that 0.2% of companies pay 58.2% of company tax, as reported by Commonwealth Treasury Papers.

The top 0.2% of companies pay 58.2% of company tax.

The top 0.2% of companies pay 58.2% of company tax.

This adds in to various media sources playing into this game of taxing revenue with the ABC attacking companies claiming they paid effectively zero tax on their income. The Guardian creating a calculator to determine which companies you paid more tax than despite having taxable income viewable hoping the reader will conflate revenue and profit. To add to this Buzzfeed jumped on the bandwagon of business ignorance with an outline of companies’ revenue and tax paid, with no reference to actual profit. This intellectual dishonesty either screams of an intentional smear campaign on the productive sector; that is businesses that provide jobs and investment in Australia, or just an abysmal understanding of how businesses operate.  To add into this the Twittersphere has been attacking these companies all over, and openly advocating that revenue is the important figure, and arguing that the only reason they minimise their taxes is because of offshore funnelling of profits.

Michael West

And then Ben Eltham; a reporter for the leftist rag, New Matilda; openly admits that he doesn’t understand how a business operates by not realising that income coming in doesn’t take into account the actual costs of running a business. This includes investment, staff costs, financial costs, and the day to day costs of running a business. Revenue is only useful for looking at turnover compares to previous years, and not in looking at how much money a company actually made, as different sectors have different methods of markups.

Ben Eltham

These people and organisations keep conflating revenue and profit, not seeming to understand that they are two separate things. With revenue being total amount of incomings prior to any expenses being paid. Profits however are what taxes are placed on, because had Boral in the example above paid the 20% that the CFMEU are calling for them to pay on revenue that $855million in tax would turn a $173.3million profit into a $681.7 million loss. These people have no idea how to run a business, and would send every single business bankrupt if they got their way. The best part of the irony in all this is tax exempt organisations calling for organisations that pay far more than they do in tax to be taxed more.

All these organisations and people are the same people that are opposed to a broad based consumption tax in the form of the GST. They don’t get the mental gymnastics to oppose a revenue tax(the GST) while calling for revenue to be taxed. It seems that they don’t understand that costs get passed onto the consumer, and taxing revenue after the fact is just going to destroy business. Any attempt to attack the big end of town will inevitably hit smaller businesses harder, as they don’t have the structural base to bring about easy compliance with new tax and regulation.

Those on the left calling for taxing of revenue obviously haven’t read what was contained in the ATO report. The ATO even admits that low tax in relation to taxable income and revenue doesn’t necessarily mean that the company is dodging tax in that year, and there may be deductions from previous year’s losses that haven’t been accounted for and a range of other factors not outlined in the report. Had they actually read it, they’d understand why they’re just making themselves look incredibly uneducated. The transparency list is quite possibly going to be a mistake that the left use to prey on the ignorance of the masses.

These people wanting to tax revenue instead of profit clearly have no experience running a business, and even if they do understand want to see nothing but destruction of our industries, and jobs in Australia. The only saving grace of this is all the top comments on the memes being put out are correcting the difference between profit and revenue.

 

Kerrod Gream is Chairperson of Australia and New Zealand Students for Liberty, Deputy Director for NSW of The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance, President of the University of Sydney Economics Society, and a branch Vice President in the Liberal Party.

Tax Freedom Day

Happy Tax Freedom Day! That’s right, whatever you earn from here on in is all yours*!

So just how many days do you have to work to pay your income taxes?

*Note…we’re never really free from taxation you will always have 10% GST and other govt fees and charges to pay.

Taxable Income                               Tax Freedom Day

(Includes Medicare Levy)

$80,000                                           86 days or 28 March 2014

$180,000                                         116 days or 27 April 2014

Under the increased Medicare Levy (1.5% + 0.5% NDIS) + PM Abbott’s proposed “Deficit Levy (Tax)” of 1% ($80,000 Plus) to 2% ($180,000 Plus) you’ll have to work a few days more for uncle Joe.

Taxable Income                               Tax Freedom Day

(Includes ALL new Levies)

$80,000                                           91 days or 2 April 2014

$180,000                                         125 days or 6 May 2014

 

 

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Email Andy at andysrant@gmail.com

“Speak without fear, question with boldness.”

Sex Party could help Pauline slip into senate

While Labor seems to be sailing to a fate similar to the original Titanic come September 7, a swirling maelstrom of murky Senate preference deals could provide life jackets to a very mixed bag of Senate hopefuls including Pauline Hanson, writes John Mikkelsen 

Read More

MUST READ: A Health Warning For Liberals

Medicine is pressured by a radical socialist transformation

Medicine is pressured by a radical socialist transformation. Some of this is top down. Much of it is bottom up, writes Dr Grant N Ross

For
2 years I was the Melbourne University Liberal Club’s token doctor.
Turning up late, or never, I would always be out of kilter with JSM,
political theories and fights of the day and somewhat under the
impression that Kroger was a kind of cheese. 
Luckily,
being a stereotype got me over the line.

I
would like to redeem my standing by attempting to write about the
direction of health under Labor and the alternative policy direction
the Liberal Party should choose when in Government.

I
feel that there is a need f
or a Liberal establishment to take note of
the direction of health under Roxon and Plibersek and to hear the
story I am about to tell about the pressures within medicine that
will come to change the way doctors do politics for the next 20
years. All is not well, and I want to tell you why.

As
we speak, Medicine is pressured by a radical socialist
transformation. 
Some
of this is top down. Much of it is bottom up.

The Top Down 

 From
the top down, there have been a series of reforms that:


  • Create
    a greater role for government in health


  • Are
    mostly anti-doctor


  • Occurred
    without significant consultation with the medical profession


  • Involved
    the creation of enormous layers of bureaucracy to centrally manage
    an existing private industry


  • Prioritised
    special interests and unions rather than the front line service
    deliveries

Such
reforms include the creation of many different councils to
micromanage various health care aims instead of directly funding
practitioners; and by doing so orchestrate a transfer of power away
from practitioners and patients towards bureaucrats and their
interests.

A
quick list of the agencies and bureaucracies created by federal Labor
include the following:

  • Australian
    commission on safety and quality of healthcare

  • National
    Health performance authority

  • Independent
    Hospital Pricing Authority

  • The
    Administrator and funding body

  • Medicare
    Locals

  • Australian
    Medical Locals Network

  • Australian
    national preventative health agency

  • Local
    Hospital Networks

  • Health
    Workforce Australia

  • Aged
    Care Reform Implementation Council

  • Mental
    Health Commission

  • Aged
    Care Financing Authority

There
are three cardinal reforms by Labor that have made things worse in
health; national registration, Prescribing and Medicare Locals.

National
Registration

Since
2010 we have had the imposition of a massive tax on doctors by way of
a National Registration reform by Nicola Roxon.
Previously, doctors were registered to a state body but are now
registered to the Australian Health Practitioners Registration
Agency; a centralised national authority.

AHPRA,
formed by Labor to ‘facilitate’ national registration, imposes a
$680 ‘Doctor Tax’ on doctors every year; much higher than
previously imposed. The agency’s role, it seems, is to run a police
check once a year, keep names on a register and then deal with a
doctor if they do something wrong by threatening or taking away the
legal right to practice Medicine.

Whilst
most doctors agree on the need for professional regulation, nobody
accepted the AHPRA model being imposed in the face of a functioning
previous system.

There
is an overwhelming sentiment among the medical community that the
AHPRA reforms are decidedly anti-doctor. Firstly, they removed
semi-autonomy from the previous state based QUANGOs. Secondly, the
AHPRA came about against the wishes of the AMA and the medical
profession at large. Thirdly, doctors have to pay extraordinarily
higher registration fees. Fourthly, AHPRA lumps doctors together with
other health professionals in an overt breach of professional
autonomy:


Ahpra

Footnote I – The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law came into effect in 2010. Whilst it was a COAG agreement, AHPRA was a cornerstone commitment of Labor and driven largely by their political agenda and under mostly government influence.

What
is most worrying is that the registration reforms are a direct step
towards the complete Federal take over of health; via monopolising
the licensing of ALL health professionals in the country to one
federally controlled agency. This should be interpreted as a step
towards government socialisation of the entire health workforce. 

Nobody
is quite sure what will happen in the future with AHPRA. I would look
at it as a dysfunctional way of registering doctors and a target for
reform under a Liberal government.

Prescribing
under Labor

The
Labor reforms have particularly offended the medical profession by
allowing nurses and other non-doctors to prescribe medications.
Prescribing has long been the privilege of the physician, a deeply
difficult and precise business and the Government have legislated for
non doctors to prescribe dangerous medications.

Doctors
still do not agree with this. Below is an example of a lethal
medication that should not be given to people in a range of
circumstances ranging from addiction to intra cranial conditions that
is available from a nurse with no medical training. 

DHA

Footnote II – http://www.ahpra.gov.au accessed 6/11/2012
  
Whilst
nobody would wish the loss of political capital by enabling more
practitioners to prescribe, a government should make a principled
stand on prescribing and give that right exclusivity to those who
lead the health system; doctors. Put simply, do not politicize
opiates; morphine is a drug, not an entitlement. We are all better
off without this gray zone.

General
Practice and the Medicare Locals

Medicare
Locals are essentially the creation of large bureaucracies all across
Australia to control the delivery of General Practice services.
Marking the greatest shift of power away from the functioning private
sector to yet more bureaucrats, these organizations claim to
‘coordinate resources’, ‘identify gaps in access’ and other
nebulous imperatives.

They
are really about creating a centralized bureaucracy, more removed
from front line services, to control the allocation of General
Practice visits. Most of these agencies will be run by non-doctors
with political agendas. This
WILL
redirect front line funding.

Whilst
most left leaning elitists and pundits would label a move against
Medicare Locals as ‘protectionism’ for doctors, it should be a
Liberal priority for several reasons.

Fee
for service, rather than centralized allocation, is the most
efficient form of funding for primary care. Doctors alone deliver the
vast majority of primary care via their minute to minute labor.
Direct funding is clearly superior.

Secondly,
reinforcing private practice builds trust within the medical
profession and empowers doctors to deliver good care for their
patients.

Thirdly,
it builds on the only model that can safely deliver cost effective
health care in a flexible and dynamic way. There is pragmatism within
the medical profession that is unrivaled in history. Pragmatism
requires individual liberty. It is the antithesis of bureaucracy.

Doctors
should be allowed to govern how they arrange their practice and the
market is the best way to ensure that each patient finds the doctor
they prefer. We all know that we would prefer to choose our doctor
when we need them; not when the government tells us.

I
have written about three big players in the health reform agenda of
the last 5 years. National Registration and the step towards
socialist health system, widening of prescribing rights and finally
the complete government takeover of General Practice. These are just
a few example of the top down socialist pressures on health that I
have noticed. 
Alas,
they are not the most worrying change ahead of us.

Luckily
for us, Peter Dutton, Shadow Minister for Health, has already
demonstrated his capacity for reform by pledging to scrap the
Medicare Locals and GP super clinics.

Dutton
is an ex policemen, successful businessman, ex-Minister in the Howard
Government and assistant treasurer to the great Peter Costello. He is
clearly a man who understands health and has a distinct policy vision
to restore the health system to a position of strength, rather than
interference and bureaucratization. I believe he will be warmly
welcomed by the medical community and be one of the best advocates
for the restoration of a sensible health system.

The Bottom Up 

Dutton

I
have spoken about some of the top down pressures in a socialist
direction on the health system. I would like to talk briefly about
some of the pressures from the bottom up, that only a doctor can see,
that are still pertinent to the Liberal agenda.

If
the fantasia reforms of the Roxon/Plibersek era are anything to lose
sleep over, they are nothing on the bottom up forces plaguing
medicine at a much more sinister level.

Since
my entry into medicine as a first year student in 2006, the values
underpinning medicine have been rampantly veering towards the left.
The pressures mounting from the bottom, aka medical school
environments, are horrendously aligned with ALP and Greens stigmata.
For those who thought that foaming at the mouth socialism and
bureaucratic elitism were limited to the confines of the Arts
departments, you are wrong.

The
Medical schools themselves have pursued a long march style reform
into the medical degree; especially in the selection of candidates.
Traditionally, school leavers were selected based on ENTER/ATAR score
and the Undergraduate Medical Admissions Tests. No test is perfect,
but the principle was that admission was based on objective academic
capacity; with a view to selecting bright school leavers (whether
advantaged or otherwise).

This
principle cemented medicine as being about academic capacity,
something worth its salt in any market, rather than ‘social
equity’. This is the right way for things to be.

Nowadays,
courses almost universally select via interview. You can dress up how
‘official’ and ‘standardized’ your interviews are, but they
remain the quintessence of subjective selection. That is the purpose
of interviews. They are effectively a mechanism to allow people to
form a personal opinion on a candidate. And exercise bias. 

Adelaideu

On
a background of the inherent socialist tendencies of education at
both secondary and tertiary level, the reforms to selection have
outright enabled the medical schools to pursue a political agenda
that aims to expand the role of government in healthcare, involve
medicine into a nexus of government social equality agendas and
further the promotion of minority special interests to any particular
degree. This is the definition of long-marching.


Wollong

The
results of these efforts are now coming to fruition. Medicine is
becoming overtaken by special interest group after special interest
group, all vying to dictate the rules of medical practice and
employment, values and principles in an ever growing mountain of
elitist control. The effects of this can be seen via organizations
such as the Australian Medical Students Association, the Post
Graduate Medical Council of Victoria and even the Medical Journal of
Australia and the Australian Medical Association; a nexus of
bureaucratic woe:

Amsa

Footnote III – http://www.amsa.org.au

These
organizations are replete with bureaucratic choke holds and
indecisive post modern ‘collaboration tactics. The result,
obviously, is what we have seen under Kevin Rudd: Power from the
people to their overlords in an ever growing unholy alliance of
bureaucrats, red tape and pathetic backyard politicians who would
rather do anything to promote themselves rather than a good idea. It
promotes ‘sellout politics’ and betrays the individuals who
together make medicine what it is and what gives individuals the
right to be free in this country. 
So
long as this framework persists, doctors will be worse off and
patients will be worse off. 

 At
the moment, the AMA can be proud of the leadership it has had.
Brendan Nelson went on to become Liberal Party Leader. Rosanna
Capolingua was clearly Liberal, Michael Wooldridge kept General
Practice sustainable and independent. Steve Hambleton, current AMA
leader, stands for sensible restraint and genuinely aims to protect
autonomy for doctors. We have been lucky. But I am not so sure about
our future. Just look at what the ever growing Australian Medical
Association calls for on Climate Change:

Amsa2

Footnote IV – http://www.amsa.org.au/press-release/20120703-amsa-calls-for-leadership-on-climate-change/
  • Australian
    Medical Student Association


    Health-climate-change

    Footnote V – Australian Medical Students 2010 Policy Document Climate Change and Health see website http://www.amsa.org.au
  • The
    Australian Medical Association’s is little better than the student
    body in this regard:
     
Ama

Footnote VI – http://ama.com.au/node/4442

I
think I have made my case. 
If
anybody in the Coalition did have a silver bullet to stop the long
march, they’d immediately be preselected for a golden safe seat. I
am not that man.

However,
if we were to theoretically look at reversing the political bias
pressuring medicine in Australia, I would start with reforms that
target medical selection, medical training, the de-bureaucratisation
of medical registration at the junior level and aim to move the
governance of medical training away from University bureaucrats and
elitist back to grassroots doctor groups.

This
would help. 
There
is an argument for such change on the basis that it restores
efficiency and principles of autonomy to the medical profession and
by extension of that, to patients. It would be one hell of an effort,
but I honestly do not believe it to be beyond an Abbott government to
achieve in some capacity.

The
other issues are perennial for Liberals; especially for those of us
who have campaigned on campus. The fight against bureaucrats, against
elitists and to genuinely reform education in this country in the way
that David Cameron is trying in England. Perhaps some of the above
changes could be caught up in a commission of audit. I would like to
see that. But I don’t know. I am not a politician.

Conclusion

As
a doctor, I naturally bring more of a background of social sciences
and welfare to the Liberal table than I do tax reform and economics.

However, there is a need for a Liberal establishment to take note of
the direction of health reform that the Roxon and Plibersek ministry
has imposed on health and a need to identify them as inefficient,
retrograde, centralist and to be removed as needed. Equally important
is the message I would like to impart about the need to think about
what is needed to prevent the medical establishment being long
marched into foot soldiers for the ALP.

Just
remember, health accounts for 12-17% of spending and employs 11% of
all Australians. That is one hell of a voter base to lose to the
left.

Peter
Dutton has a lot to contribute to health in the next Liberal
Government. Autonomy, efficiency and restraint will serve our country
well. Similarly, I encourage young Liberals in rising positions of
leadership to consider the principles of a sound health system as
they develop their policy directions.

The electorate expect a good
health system and we have no excuse for leaving ourselves weak on
this front from a simple lack of knowledge.

Dr
Grant N Ross MBBS B.Med Sci is a medical practitioner and graduate of
Melbourne University.

 

Footnotes

Footnote
I – The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law came into effect
in 2010. Whilst it was a COAG agreement, AHPRA was a cornerstone
commitment of Labor and driven largely by their political agenda and
under mostly government influence.

Footnote
II –
http://www.ahpra.gov.au/
accessed
6/11/2012

Footnote
III –
http://www.amsa.org.au/
see About AMSA accessed 6/11/2012

Footnote
IV –
http://www.amsa.org.au/press-release/20120703-amsa-calls-for-leadership-on-climate-change/

Footnote
V – Australian Medical Students 2010 Policy Document Climate Change
and Health see website
www.amsa.org.au

Footnote
VI –
http://ama.com.au/node/4442


The Injustice of the ATO

Gk face reducedGary Kurzer write about the injustices committed by the Australian Taxation Office:

Revelations outlining recent activities of the Australian Taxation
Office show that this organisation is not playing fair. Seemingly, this may not
be newsworthy, however, if the allegations move into “illegal behaviour” then
the concerns are justly amplified.

Journalist Chris Seage has published sensational articles in Crikey which have been reprinted on the ‘SmartCompany’  website.

In one article, Seage has shown how the tax office treats its own
employees, by turning the tables on internal dissension and whistleblowers within the
organisation to stifle legitimate claims and the rights of its employees
.
Ironically, the senior ATO staff, being Australian Public Servants themselves,
are transgressing theAustralian Public
Service Values and Code of Conduct
 and threaten the beleaguered ATO employees via the same conduct breaches that
they allege against their own staff.

 More sinister are the revelations that the ATO issued a “tick and
flick” method to deal with objections. In essence, the ATO instructed staff to “approve 20%” of tax Objections and
“reject 80%” of Objections
, regardless of tax laws or merit. This must be of
concern to all SMEs, and pretty much everyone else. 

If the Tax Office “rejects” a legal objection, and then demands (and
ultimately collects) “tax” where there is no legal basis for the assessment,
then there is the distinct possibility that the action is theft. The ATO are
clearly targeted by legal commentators on their disregard of law. The Rule of Law Institute of Australia has
many articles on its website that point to the failure of the ATO to follow the
“Model Litigant Rules
.”

These Rules raise the legal bar for the ATO’s actions, requiring
them to behave in an exemplary way; but in practice, these Rules, are simply
disregarded by the ATO.

Ex Attorney-General Robert McClelland declared that it is “unacceptable for federal government
agencies to breach the model litigant rules”
yet the ATO does so with total
impunity. The ex chief executive of the Rule of Law Institute, Richard Gilbert,
states that: "The government ignores
legitimate judicial comment on model litigant behaviour by the Crown at its own
peril."

In the case of the Queensland Court in ‘Denlay v Commissioner of Taxation’ 
there was an appeal for bankrupting a taxpayer who was attempting to challenge a
tax assessment.

Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig, representing ex-Attorney General
Ncola Roxon, told Senator Humphries that his questions on the case “should be
directed the tax office.”

Thus, when the ATO breaks the law, the government’s official
position is that the matter should be referred
back to the ATO.

No wonder the ATO act with bravado and confidence when they break
the law: the only thing that the government is prepared to do for aggrieved
taxpayers who have had their money stolen is to “appeal to the ATO.”

Gary Kurzer is a Sydney based designer/music composer who trained in architecture.
After being unwittingly dragged into a six year engagement by the ATO, he started to
discover some startling truths about how this organisation operates and was the subject of two recent ABC 730 Reports. There is a Facebook site where you can read more: www.facebook.com/ATOinjustices

Payroll tax

Henry InnisHenry Innis explains the inequities of the NSW State Payroll Tax system.

Without a doubt, payroll tax is one of the
dumbest taxes I have ever seen. Here in New South Wales it is set at a rate of
5.45% of wages that are over a certain monthly threshold (depending on the
number of days). The threshold varies from $52,855 (28 days) to $58,518 (31
days), with variations on wages paid interstate, wages paid for part of a year,
and so on and so forth.

The question is, however, why do we even
have payroll tax in the first place?

If you think about it, payroll tax in the
form described above is little more than a tax on employment. To tax employers
a percentage of what they pay out sounds more like a disincentive for companies
to employ, if anything.

Take a company with over 20 employees that exceed
the threshold. Given that they will have to pay 5.45% of their wage value as
tax, they functionally are paying out for 21 employees. That isn’t to mention
high levels of corporate tax rates, income tax, the Goods and Services tax, the
Carbon Tax and the myriad more hidden ones that don’t immediately come to mind.

Of course, one of the main arguments for
supporting the tax is too raise revenue, particularly for often-vulnerable
State Governments (when it comes to revenue, Australia is anything but a nation
of federalists). But the solution should never be to create more taxes and to
draw more money out of the economy where possible.

Particularly not when it discourages
employers from taking on that extra person for a job, reducing the burden on
welfare and often providing money back to the government in the form of income
tax. In an economy where government, not the private sector, has been the
primary driver of jobs throughout the Global Financial Crisis, this is an
important element to consider.

When looking at the threshold of around the
$58,000 mark, one has to consider as well the impact on low margin, low profit,
and small businesses. After all, this is not a tax, which taxes profits: it
taxes a component that is essential for the capital expansion of many
companies.

For the startups, this means yet another
cumbersome tax cost without a company having even seen profit yet. The
efficiency of this sort of scheme would suggest that, in fact, it is not only a
broadly harmful tax, but also one that maintains particularly applicable
barriers to entry for small companies.

This would otherwise be known as a market
distortion.

What anyone can see is the payroll tax is a
bad policy, perpetuated as a revenue raising exercise across all State’s as a Band-Aid
solution for real spending issues. Ultimately, Australia needs to begin to
embrace the reforms that will empower business to compete more broadly across a
range of sectors, and abolishing payroll tax will be one crucial cornerstone on
the way to doing that.

Sources: http://www.osr.nsw.gov.au/taxes/payroll/general/rates/

Henry Innis is the Australian Liberal Student's Federation Treasurer and a Vice President of the Sydney University Liberal Club. He is involved in two companies, Urban Walkabout and Edge Custom Media, whilst studying Arts at Sydney University. He can be found on twitter at @henryinnis

Publishing drivel on taxpayer dime

Major Karnage exposes a public media body you may not have heard of

Jeff Sparrow is the editor of Overland, which describes itself as “the most radical of Australia’s long-standing literary and cultural magazines”.

Sparrow has some very particular views and a slightly perturbing pseudo-intellectual way of putting them across. Take this blog post today, for instance, where he seems to spend some time flirting with comparisons between the Obama Administration and the Nazis/Stalinists:

living in The Avengers’ universe | Overland literary journal.

Yet you cannot ignore the origins of [Superman] in an era awash with supermen, from the Nietzschean blond beasts so popular with national socialists to the Stakhanovites inspired by Joe Stalin, the original man of steel. That doesn’t mean that the genre’s innately and inevitably fascistic, as is sometimes argued. Nonetheless, the concept of the superhero necessarily rests upon a distinction central to both the far Right and the Stalinist Left – the gulf between the (ordinary) masses and the (extra-ordinary) hero. …

The cult of the superman developed by the fascists, like its equivalent in Stalinism, was implicitly directed against mobilisations of ordinary people. The Aryan ubermensch was necessary precisely because the untermenschen against whom the fascists raged were so numerous and so well organized …

That seems to me the context for the new hegemony of superheroes. … We are, in other words, already living in a comic book.

The most obvious example is the War on Terror, which, from its beginning, played out as the most clichéd super hero script. In what other context would the phrase ‘Axis of Evil’ be accepted as a serious proposition? How did it ever make sense to devote $1.3 trillion to defeating the tiny organization that was al Qaeda, unless you understood bin Laden as exerting the kind of mighty power wielded by the mad geniuses in comic books?

You get the picture.

Of course, Sparrow is as entitled to these views as anyone else. Similarly, the wankers who read his work are entitled to do so if they so choose. The problem is that said wankers are not necessarily paying for Sparrow to spend his days spouting this kind of nonsense. A quick scroll to the bottom of the page reveals this:

Overland sponsors

Those logos are the sponsors of Overland. From left, this is: the UN, Melbourne City Council, Federal Government, Federal Government, Victoria Government, Victoria Government and Victoria University.

Essentially, Overland is paid for from public funds (Vic Uni being the arguable exception). It is as much a public media body as the ABC or SBS, yet it is not afforded the same level of scrutiny because it is not a statutory body, but is funded by various Government agencies.

Regardless, this means that taxpayers are paying for Sparrow to be employed full-time so he can draw parallels between Captain America and the SS. Personally, I find this offensive and am not happy that some of my income is being diverted to this crap (albeit a small amount, since I live in NSW).

With all the attention on the budget this week, people seem to only look at actual Government initiatives. There is not nearly enough attention on what Government agencies go on to do with the money that they are allocated.

It is a complete joke that taxpayers are being forced to pay Sparrow a steady income for his polemic when struggling Menzies House writers have to polemicise for free. It’s about time to let useless and unprofitable publications like Overland collapse and make way for something that appeals to a wider audience than a handful of arts students who don’t like paying for their reading material themsevles.

Major Karnage is a Sydney-based blogger and can be followed on Facebook or Twitter.

High Taxes, Town Planning and Little Room to Move

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Scott Lynn argues for an urgent cut in income taxes, as well as better town planning:

Australia is one of the most heavily taxed nations in the world, we are not as lucky as we once were, but we still have the opportunity to get back on track. With the Mining Tax and the Carbon Tax on the way, we face the prospect of skyrocketing up the rankings of the most taxed nations in the world. According to ritholtz.com we are already the 10th most heavily taxed nation in the world. Furthermore; I am reminded of a well-fitting quote, to the tax debacle we now face. “We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle." Winston Churchill – Former UK Prime Minister.

All income tax rates are too high, creating less incentive to want to work hard, and achieve our dreams (enough of the road blocks). Income tax rates need to be cut across the board and we need to have a plan to do this. Why you may ask? Well, when people come to this country, they are inspired by some of the folklore, that we really are a lucky country. Although approximately 1/3 of legal immigrants that come here leave, why would that be the case?

This is because housing costs are higher than they should be; partly due to taxes and levies that are imposed on us (individuals, families, charities and businesses), by government; which creates an impost on homes getting built (profitability) for all concerned in the process of building and owning a home. What do they really have to aspire to? A high rate of taxes, c’mon, really! Put simply if levies and taxes are too high, builders and real estate/housing and land creation bodies, have to increase their charges to us, so they can cover their own costs, to make a profit rather than making a loss (creating debt) and increasing the potential for business foreclosure.

Due to labour costs being as high as they are and vigorous investment not really being there, we are faced with increasing and in some cases, the unnecessary construction of certain types of medium and high density housing, which all too often robs Peter to pay Paul. It would be like writing a letter without addressing it, or sticking a stamp on the envelope and then being furious, when you don’t get a response. But for some reason you write another letter using the same method, expecting a far better outcome, although you end up with the same result … no response … no reply … nothing. 

Furthermore, I believe those who legally come to our shores (this includes the UNHCR program) and those born here, in general do want to have a garden with trees and flowers. Whether they want to tend to such things all by themselves or get a gardener in as necessary, should be a real choice for them. Why should we sit idly by and put up with small, not reasonable, but small living and entertaining areas? We should not have to put up with such things, due to high levels of taxation.

In my own area and nearby Doncaster, I believe the council, town planners and building groups have made some mistakes (remember I said some), instead of building a variety of different housing to be part of a business and recreational hub, they have in far too many cases just built a certain type of medium-high density apartments (although some are necessary, but not the amount that have been approved). Not enough town houses have been built, and much of the creativity in terms of housing design appears to have wandered off down the road. 

Scott Lynn is a 28 year old who has completed sport & recreation Admin, trained and worked in Aged Care, and is presently completing a BA in Media & Communications.