Gabriel Donleavy

Federal government hospital spending rose by 80% in the decade to 2014, from $23 billion to $42 billion. This has led to a renewed push by conservatives for a new state income tax to fund health costs.

French economist Thomas Piketty argued in his bestselling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century that capitalism arose from feudalism and is in many ways reverting to it.

The Panama Papers provide proof that many politicians, capitalists and members of royalty use overseas tax havens to escape paying tax on their activities in the countries where they reside.

What does the process involve and who benefits at whose expense?

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) makes it crystal clear that individuals and businesses are legally obliged to declare all their worldwide income to the ATO every year. “Their” income does not only mean payments received in their name personally, but also includes any kind of income in which they have a “beneficial interest”.

From a distance, Australia's tax system looks gender neutral.

The tax return carefully avoids gendered words and the tax rules were purged several years ago of direct gender discrimination. There is no assumption that the male in a partnership is the primary breadwinner or that the female is the primary carer.

There is no assumption that one partner must disclose to the other all their financial affairs to enable a tax return to be sent on behalf of both of them, unless they explicitly agree to it. Single men and women are not treated differently for income tax purposes.

Subscribe to Gabriel Donleavy