New concerns surround the government’s increased use of legislative powers to bypass the parliament and create laws that cannot be amended or overturned. The federal government has embedded special powers in new Covid-19 laws to make unilateral changes to non-pandemic-related legislation, using what are known as ‘Henry VIII clauses’ – named for the unchecked power they involve.
Tax there for the taking
Yes, the Laffer curve is a laff-a-minute, a total concoction, and it is as nasty as you portray it (Editorial, “Destroying Australia”, July 6-12). But for the Grattan Institute to buy into the “pay for” austerity myth just means an inadvertent double-down. Federal government tax cuts don’t have to be “paid for” (in fact they can’t be, by definition). Taxes are not revenue, they are a removal of dollars from pockets, be they private or corporate, extinguished at that point. Dollars come into being via government fiat; marking up relevant bank accounts. Tax takes follow, not the other way round. The spending and the taking are functionally separate in government operations. The government can spend whatever is needed, provided inflation beyond desired levels is not exceeded. But they hide this capability so that cuts and austerity can be brought down on the most vulnerable. Until progressives understand this, and call it out loudly, they are doomed to be complicit in the lie.
– Paul Keig, Wahroonga, NSW
A teaching resource
Congratulations on your editorial, which is a rare statement of fact to reveal the truth. Put it in every classroom to guide our future voters.
– Sue Ingleton, Castlemaine, Vic
There are times when I wonder why I bother buying newspapers, but your “Destroying Australia” editorial reminded me why I buy The Saturday Paper. Well said!
– Tom Mangan, Woy Woy Bay, NSW
When insiders leave office
I spent about half of my working life in the public service, in two stints, in three departments, and although I only rose to the middle ranks I spent taxpayers’ money on, among other things, “consultants”, and later became
a “consultant” to state and federal government agencies. From that perspective I agree entirely with Mike Seccombe’s article “Pyne, Bishop and the Big Four” (July 6-12). In my humble opinion it is the equivalent of insider trading for former elected politicians to be paid in cash or kind for providing any advice or service to any business that seeks to do business with any government agency. It should be banned outright.
– John F. Simmons, Kambah, ACT
Agent of change
It’s heartening to see the changes that can occur in 10 years (Emily Bitto, “Lone stranger”, July 6-12). In 2009 the feminist writer Kate Jennings wrote, with stunning insight, of the confronting home truths of Wake in Fright. That a one-woman cast now occupies the space that firstly the novel and then the film revealed is testament to how far Australia has travelled. Break a leg, Zahra Newman.
– Pam Connor, Mollymook Beach, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Jul 13, 2019.
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