Tax can be a revolting topic

Tax is such a dry subject, but with incendiary consequences. Perhaps more than anything it determines the sort of society you have. After last week’s tirade against Labor for agreeing not to oppose to the Coalition’s cut-taxes-for-the-wealthy proposal, a perspicacious reader reminded me of a little history.

In the early 1360s, John of Gaunt, then in his early 20s, had become the richest nobleman in England.

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Labor’s supine capitulation

A morally bankrupt, supine, irrational sell-out was committed by the Australian Labor Party this week when it said it would acquiesce with the third, and worst, stage of the Coalition’s tax-cuts-for-the-rich policy.

The tax cuts have been legislated, but many had hoped Labor’s policy would be to reverse at least the big cuts for people on more than $185,000. Now Labor has now agreed to what amounts to the rabid flat-tax fantasies of Reagan and Thatcher. 

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When and where will the buck stop?

US President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk saying: “The buck stops here”. If Prime Minister Scott Morrison had a buck-related sign it would say: “Send the buck lower down the food chain to anyone but me.”

The “buck” is a counter used in card games to indicate who is responsible for dealing. If you don’t want the responsibility, you pass the buck to somebody else. Morrison has been adept at that in recent weeks as it becomes clear that he and his government have made bad decisions on quarantine, isolation, and vaccines.

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Tribalism in Covid response

Political tribalism popped up again this week as Australia deals with the Covid pandemic. When Victoria, under a Labor Government, locked down early and hard to fight its second wave of Covid last year, the Coalition Federal Government condemned the action and the Murdoch press stuck the boot into Premier Dan Andrews every day.

But when Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian imposed a similar lockdown (albeit a little late) for exactly the same reasons, the Feds and the Murdoch press say she is doing the right thing. And Lo and Behold, the Feds are now going to kick in $500 million in support for NSW.

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Time for a credible bold plan

Bridget and Barnaby. Ho Ho Ho. What a port

Where was Labor in the past couple of weeks? When the Government was flailing badly on vaccinations and integrity, Labor barely squeaked.

It takes two to change a conservative government – a decrepit or deceitful government AND an opposition that is ready with a credible grand vision. History tells us that poor government is not enough for voters to change rulers; nor is an Opposition with a credible plan.

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Govt flails as spin unravels

The spin unravelled this week, to reveal a flailing Federal Government.

People queue for vaccinations at Westminster Abbey

The two keystones of its response to the Covid crisis cracked: Prime Minister Scott Morrison acted contrary to medical advice and he made a major decision without the support of the National Cabinet.

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When the Coalition bleaches the truth

By Crispin Hull

Whitewash: No danger here, Minister. Great Barrier Reef 2017. Photo: Crispin Hull

English needs a new word to describe the feeling for the first time you surface from diving on an extensively bleached part of the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef dead coral after the 2017 bleaching. Photo: Crispin Hull

It is like a wine writer grappling to describe a tasting experience, except all the comparisons are awful: despair; anger verging on blind fury; helplessness; blame; resignation; sorrow; hurt; grief; and despondency. 

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Insurers will make voters scream over climate change

We must get better at risk assessment. If you are reading this article, I am out of internet range somewhere off the Kimberley coast aboard Coral Geographer.

We took what many would think was a big risk in not getting travel insurance. It was going to be very expensive, so it was worth assessing the risk.

In the end the insurance was not going to provide very much.

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Economists wrong again

Another week and another embarrassment for the cabal of economists and commentators who for decades have asserted that high immigration is essential for Australia’s prosperity.

This week the national accounts showed that the Australian economy grew by 1.8 per cent in the March quarter to fully recover from 2020s steep recession and back to its pre-pandemic levels.

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