Reporting on the release of the mid-year budget update in the Canberra Times on October 22, Peter Martin wrote that “Tax collections from both wages and the GST are running ahead of projections. Dramatically lower company tax collections account for most of the $21 billion write-down.” Included in that $21 billion is a revenue downgrade of $4.3 billion dollars over four years in resource rent tax from petroleum and mineral extraction from a projected $13.4 billion.
One of the sneering jokes passed around business circles after mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto announced they would not pay a cent this quarter under the Gillard government’s pathetic mining tax was that the government would have collected a fat cheque had it levied a super profits tax on the big banks instead.
US gangster Al Capone once said: “Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class.” 19th century US president Thomas Jefferson said: “Banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.” These quotes capture the bastard nature of the dangerous racket that is the Australian banking cartel. See also: Socialist candidate says fight private bank ripoffs
Nurses in Victoria are being threatened with an Alan Joyce-style lockout because they have campaigned for a modest 3.5% pay rise (just to keep up with the rising cost of living), superannuation and overtime improvements, and keeping patient-to-nurse ratios. Australia’s four big banks, meanwhile, have announced a combined annual profit of $24.4 billion, up 12% from $21.7 billion a year ago. This speaks volumes about the grossly distorted priorities in our society.
Britain: Goldman Sachs gives huge bonuses “Bankers were accused of ‘sticking two fingers up to austerity Britain’,” the British Guardian reported on January 19, “after it was revealed that [Wall Street bank] Goldman Sachs had handed its staff a £10bn payday as new figures showed unemployment among Britain's young people had hit its highest level since modern records began”. The article said data from the Office for National Statistics showed that one in five people under 25 were out of work by the end of November last year — a total of 951,000 people.
At last someone has dared to defend the oppressed people of the British banking community. Bob Diamond, chief executive of Barclays bank, who himself has to suffer the trauma of an £8 million bonus, said yesterday that the bankers’ “period of remorse and apology should be over”. And you feel his pain, because the first words to cross your mind when you see a banker are “remorseful and apologetic”.
Westpac was the last of the big four banks in Australia to announce its annual profit. It made the biggest — a whopping $6.3 billion, 84% higher than 2008-09. The Commonwealth Bank made the second biggest profit this year, $6.1 billion (up 42%). It was also the first bank to announce it would raise its interest rates for home mortgages more than the latest Reserve Bank interest rate rise. ANZ made $5 billion (up 53%) and NAB $4.6 billion (up 63%). The big four made a total profit of $23 billion.
Mike Smith, the CEO of the ANZ Bank has fumed about Liberal-National shadow treasurer Joe Hockey’s recent populist rhetoric against the four big banks that increasingly dominate the Australian economy. “The Liberals’ economic credentials have been hijacked by out-there proposals”, Smith said in the October 29 Sydney Morning Herald. “Mr Hockey seems to be on some kind of personal vendetta. It would appear he has been taking economics lessons from Hugo Chavez.” Has Hockey been taking lessons from Venezuela’s socialist president?
During UN Disarmament Week (October 24-31), a bill to enact the UN Convention banning Cluster Munitions is to be tabled in the House of Representatives. However, it is unlikely to contain a provision prohibiting financial institutions from funding manufacturers of cluster bombs. It has been found that the ANZ bank has provided loans of $136.5 million to producers of cluster bombs.
Australia’s big banks would like you to think they care about climate change and the environment. But don’t believe them. A new report by Greenpeace Australia has revealed the “big four” — Westpac, ANZ, Commonwealth and NAB — are investing billions of dollars in Australia’s dirty coal boom. Burning coal for energy is Australia’s single biggest contributor to climate change, making more than a third of the country’s greenhouse gas pollution. Australia is also the world’s biggest coal exporter — and the export trade is growing fast.