Cartoon: By Pickering.
The much vaunted tax forum in Canberra has lived down to expectations. Little if anything has been achieved in two days of talking on an agenda restricted by the Treasurer, Wayne Swan. The carbon tax, mining tax and the GST were specifically ruled out of any proposed changes.
It is hardly a surprise that it has panned out this way as it was never meant to be taken too seriously, it was essentially an expensive way to keep an undertaking to independent member Rob Oakeshott in exchange for his support. Rob is the guy who claims that News Ltd press coverage of him makes him look ridiculous and wants them controlled. Here is some of his speech to the forum which may give the reader a better idea of just who makes Oakeshott look silly. (Courtesy Kirk Fletcher):
"I encourage our minds to shift to one word: outcomes. Outcomes, outcomes, outcomes. Long-term outcomes, state and federal outcomes, Labor and Liberal outcomes, for-profit and not-for-profit outcomes. Whatever does your biscuit, the key from here is outcomes…Essentially what I am seeking are outcomes. At least five of them. It is surely not too much to ask."In some ways he is good for a laugh. Unfortunately it has to be remembered that he is one of the people deciding the fate of any legislation affecting the long-term future of our nation.
The main outcome seems to have been assurances from a number of participants that it has not been a waste of time, even raising the possibility that something substantive may come form it somewhere down the track. A couple of committees will be formed to offer sinecures to the party faithful, (can’t argue with that), and generous government funding will be made for an “independent tax studies institute.”
Another positive is that we find that we have our own version of Warren Buffet in businessman Mark Carnegie, who suggests the wealthiest Australians should pay an extra 15% in tax, which could be funneled into a sovereign wealth fund, instead of being splurged on investments that will only go to create employment in the private sector.
The next on the agenda is a jobs forum.