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Double Dipping

"You cannot double dip, you cannot get parental leave paid from your employer and taxpayers"
- Joe Hockey

Says the man who claims $270 a night from taxpayers to stay at a property owned by his wife.

How does he get away with it? By listing that property (and the rest of his $10+ million portfolio) solely under his wife's name and claiming he has no interest in it.

A New Work of Fiction

Canberra's fish in a barrel, Christopher Pyne, is writing a book. The fixer will be penning his memoirs in a format best suited to his political style, a children's book. The rivetingly titled "A Letter to my Children" is the education minister's first attempt at writing a book, as well as his first attempt at paying attention to school kids, albeit his own. If he manages to read it to them all the way through, that'll be a first as well.

The Direct Action plan - your questions answered.

What is the Direct Action plan?

The Direct Action plan is the government's plan to reduce CO2 emissions. It replaces Labor's carbon pricing mechanism. The government describes their plan as the cheapest, simplest and most effective option.

How did Labor's carbon pricing mechanism work?

Lest we forget.

"I think Aubrey Herbert's charge against him [British General Sir Ian Hamilton, Commander of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force at Gallipoli] is the most serious of all namely the wickedness of always leaving thousands of our wounded to perish in front of the lines after these attacks have failed instead of arranging for an armistice for their burial. The Turks have always proved themselves perfectly willing to have armistices and have actually asked for one at Helles which was refused by our General Staff.

Tom Elliot on socialists and the Soviet Union

Tom Elliot, like many who engage in yellow journalism, recently wrote a screed decrying socialists who opposed the bigoted "Reclaim Australia" rallies. His article, of particularly low calibre, raised the hoary old suggestion that these wicked socialists should experience the Soviet Union to find out what the world was really like then.

The following is a response, emailed directly to him.

Unchecked power to Transfield Services

The Migration Amendment Bill 2015 is currently before parliament. This bill gives security officers in Australia's off-shore detention centres unchecked power to use force against asylum seekers in any circumstance they think reasonable. The bill introduces a subjective test whereby security officers themselves get to decide if violence is warranted. Where excessive force is used in most cases the officers will be immune from legal action.

Here's how it works

1. Set up a shelf company in Singapore where the corporate tax rate is 13% less than in Australia.
2. Avoid paying the 30% corporate tax rate in Australia by turning your Australian company into a subsidiary of your Singaporean company.
3. Avoid paying the 17% corporate tax rate in Singapore on profits by loaning that money to your Australian subsidiary.
4. Use that debt incurred from the loan repayments back to yourself as a tax deduction in Australia.

Challenges

Last year the top 900 companies in Australia effectively paid 19 cents in the dollar tax, while the rest of us paid 30 cents. That cost us $25 billion, about two thirds of our current budget deficit. Joe Hockey's response is to propose an increase to the GST and a tax cut for corporations.

This illustrates the economic challenges faced by the Abbott government: how to to tax companies less, lower wages, create less jobs and still find enough money to pay for the tens of billions used to subsidise big business in Australia.

Employment Incentives

The government's latest exercise in taking money from those who need it to give to those who don't. Taxpayers will now be funding a new government program of cash payments to employers, in an attempt to encourage businesses to employ people for as long as someone else pays for it.

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