The treasurer from another planet

August 15, 2014

You can see where federal treasurer Joe Hockey is coming from with his comment about poor people not having cars and so not being affected by the rise in the fuel excise tax, can't you? On the planet he seems to be lost on, the rich are the real oppressed.

The rich are paying too much tax — or even “all the tax” according to a recent rant in the Australian — doing all the work, doing the heavy lifting, while the rest of society bludges off them.

Australia’s richest person, Gina Rinehart, infamously complained that she and her fellow mining magnates were sick of being “treated like an ATM”.

The rich minority that the treasurer serves are not satisfied with the relentless increase in income and wealth inequality in so-called egalitarian Australia since the 1990s. They want a bigger share and they want it now.

The rich want to pay less tax even on the fraction of the incomes they declare — the part that they haven't spirited away to a tax haven or minimised through creative accounting — and they want to force the rest of us to shoulder a bigger proportion of the tax burden by raising regressive indirect taxes.

But that is not all. You see, from their perspective, the rest of us are effectively not paying any tax because when governments spend money on public education and public hospitals it means us “bludgers” are getting our taxes back. Whereas Australian billionaires don't. How unfair is that?

And on top of that, us cheeky “bludgers” have the gall to expect democratic rights. We object to the fat brown paper envelopes passed from developer to politician in the front seat of a luxury car. And we object to the corporate lobbyists who seem to run the government.

Their idea of democracy is the rich minority's sacred right to exploit the majority and their right to use the proceeds of this exploitation to buy anything they want, whatever the social or environmental cost.

That is the planet Hockey is lost on.

We don't buy that line. We know that us “bludgers” do all the work and the rich live off our backs. And we don't like that.

In the future for which Green Left Weekly campaigns, the majority will follow the recent example of those passengers in Perth who, by pushing together, shifted a train to free a passenger trapped on the track. Only on a bigger scale.

You can help lift Hockey and Rinehart's train right off its track by subscribing to Green Left Weekly or buying one for a friend.

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