TAKING ACTION TO STOP TAX TREATY SHOPPING
The Australian, 25 July 2022
At first blush, treaty shopping might sound like a fun excursion to the gift store with your primary schooler. Yet far from being a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon, treaty shopping is a worrisome lurk that undermines the tax system.
On July 20, the tax office released an alert about a high-risk activity that has been observed and will be subject to increased scrutiny: companies restructuring their tax affairs to take advantage of reduced withholding tax rates under a tax treaty in relation to royalty or dividend payments from Australia. As the it noted, such a restructure might involve creating a new entity in a favourable treaty jurisdiction, interposed between the foreign parent and the Australian operation in order to access the reduced tax rates under the tax treaty.Read more
CENSUS FINDINGS TO REVEAL THE BIG QUESTIONS CONFRONTING MODERN AUSTRALIA
The New Daily, June 28 2022
In the early years after European settlement, it wasn’t called a ‘Census’, it was called a ‘muster’. At a particular point in time, all the settlers in a community were gathered together in the same location to be counted. Over the years, the process became more formalised, and in 1881, the first simultaneous Census of all Australian colonies was conducted.
It wasn’t until 1911 that the first national Census took place. Field officers travelled by horse, cart and bicycle to collect the forms. All the tabulation was done by hand.
Fast forward eleven decades, and the Census has become a mostly online affair. A generation ago, Census Day was moved from 30 June to the second Tuesday in August, partly to avoid the school holidays. But 10 August 2021 found many Australians under COVID lockdown.Read more
IT'S TIME TO MAKE CENSUS OF ALL YOUR ANSWERS
The Daily Telegraph, June 27 2022
The world’s first census took place in 3800 BCE. The Babylonians counted the number of people, animals, and stocks of valuable foodstuffs, such as butter, honey and wool.
Almost 6000 years later, Australians are about to learn the results of our latest census. Taken in August 2021, at a time when much of the country was in lockdown, the Census provides a snapshot of how the country has changed.
This year, we’ll get a count of the total population, and find out which areas are growing and shrinking. The results will affect Commonwealth grants to states and territories. Census population figures help decide where federal electorates need to be created and abolished.Read more
THE COST OF AUSTRALIA’S ‘PHENOMENAL FAILURE’ ON VACCINATION
The Australian, 6 May 2022
Australians aim high. Whether it’s the quality of our beaches, the speed of our Olympic swimmers, or the talent of our novelists, we like to think that we can be the best of the world. And we often succeed.
Yet a year ago, Australia was doing the very opposite. Of all the advanced countries in the 38-member Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Australia had the lowest rate of full vaccination. This wasn’t a temporary thing. From 12 May 2021 to 26 July 2021, Australia ranked last in the OECD, underperforming countries with significantly lower levels of economic development, such as Mexico, Turkey and Portugal.Read more
GOVERNMENT SHOULD SUPPORT CHARITIES, NOT SILENCE THEM
The Australian, 18 April 2022
In the late nineteenth century, Alfred Nobel got to read his own obituary. His brother Ludvig had died, and a French newspaper mistakenly published an obituary that had been prepared for Alfred. Nobel might have hoped that it would laud the fact that he had invented dynamite. Instead, it proclaimed ‘the merchant of death is dead’. Nobel, who didn't have a wife or children, suddenly had a preview as to how history was going to remember him. But he had time to change that. In his will, he set up the Nobel Prizes, giving nine tenths of his wealth to establish what are now the most prestigious prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, peace and economics.
Giving is a great legacy to provide to others. Giving during our lifetimes can also be a source of pleasure. A cross-national survey found that people who donated to charities tend to be happier than others who didn't. Another study found that people who had supported a charity had significantly better blood pressure readings.Read more
HONEY, I SHRANK THE GROCERIES
The New Daily, 2 April 2022
Freddo Frogs were reduced from 15g to 12g – but the price stayed the same. New varieties of Tim Tams mostly have nine biscuits in a pack, not the 11 biscuits you’ll find in the original pack. Many brewers have shrunk the size of their beers down from 375ml to 330ml, while some winemakers are selling 700ml bottles rather than the usual 750ml.
Dubbed ‘shrinkflation’ by US economist Pippa Malmgren, the term refers to a cunning trick that manufacturers like to pull: Selling us less product for the same price. In recent times, Maltesers fun-size bags have dropped in weight from 144g to 132g. Smiths chips have shrunk from 200g to 170g. A tube of Pringles has downsized from 165g to 134g.Read more
Bob Hawke: Demons and Destiny
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, 29 March 2022
The first time I met Bob Hawke in person, he shook my hand and looked directly into my eyes. It felt like the two of us were in a bubble, cordoned off from the rest of the world. Hawke was 70 years old, and eight years out of the prime ministership, but he still had his famous animal magnetism. The only other time I’ve experienced this magic trick was when I shook hands with Bill Clinton.
Troy Bramston’s new biography of Bob Hawke captures the energy and achievements of Australia’s longest-serving Labor prime minister. Raised by parents who often told friends that their son would be prime minister, Hawke made his reputation by winning substantial wage rises for workers. It earned him the admiration of the union movement and the epithet “Mr Inflation” from the conservatives.Read more
PRO-GROWTH AND BUSINESS
The Australian, 1 April 2022
Labor’s credentials on social justice are well known. Ours is, after all, the party that was founded by workers in 1891, and whose achievements include the pension, Medicare and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
But Labor’s economic credentials are also an important part of our story. Trade liberalisation, floating the dollar, and competition reform are enduring achievements of my side of politics. We know that you can’t have a strong labour market without strong companies. Unlike left-wing extremists who criticise economic growth, we’re passionate pro-growth progressives.Read more
US LESSON IN WHY WORKERS NEED A BOOST IN REAL WAGES
The Australian, 16 March 2022
They call them “deaths of despair”. In the US, deaths from drug overdoses, suicide and alcoholic liver disease have been rising in the past decade. Well before the pandemic, American life expectancy was going backwards.
There are many causes of this American malaise, but a big one is the fact the economy simply hasn’t been delivering for working people. In the past 50 years, real wages for the typical American man have barely risen. Real incomes for the poorest households have gone backwards.Read more