Death and taxes

Death and taxes may be inevitable for mere mortals like you and me, but it seems they don’t apply to the corporate dominated mining sector in the land down under. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd soon found out, character flaws or no character flaws, no one tries to squeeze an extra cent out of the mining sector in the land of Oz. Brendon Grylls, the former leader of the National Party in Western Australia, has just lost the safest National Party seat in Western Australia, Pilbara, to the Labor Party at the Western Australian election last week. I can hear you jump up and down with excitement at the news. Just sit down, sit down, the news isn’t as good as it first seems to be.

Brendon Grylls did what no sensible Australian politician would dream of doing. At the Western Australian election he campaigned the mining sector should pay a percentage or two extra taxes to help out the folk living in Western Australia. Talk about a political death wish! The corporate mining sector threw everything, including the kitchen sink, at the National Party Leader, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure he lost his lower house seat. The Gina Rineharts of the world got their wish when he lost his seat. So I don’t think you should be celebrating.

In Norway a major world gas and oil exporter over 800 billion dollars sits in a future fund for the benefit of the Norwegian people. This money has been set aside to ensure Norway’s future by the introduction of a range of state based taxes that see 90% of every dollar extracted from their national resources goes into the pocket of the Norwegian future fund and 10% goes into the pockets of the mining giants that have developed Norway’s natural resources. In Australia the story is exactly the opposite. Mining corporations extracting Australia’s natural resources pay voluntary taxation. The crowd that’s developing Australia's North West shelf gas resources won’t be paying taxes for the next 30 years while pocketing billions of dollars of profits. The situation is so ludicrous the contracts signed with the Australian government allow them to export gas at the expense of the nation.

Billionaires sit on the back of pick-up trucks in Australia loudly protesting about them having to pay extra tax while the former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was willing to give up his last breath to ensure corporate Australia didn’t have to pay one extra cent in taxes (his words, not mine). No wonder, although we as a country have so many natural resources, we don’t have enough money for public education, public health, national infrastructure and social security beneficiaries. If Norway, a parliamentary democracy can do it, we should be able to do it. All it takes is a tiny bit of political courage.

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