In his address today to the National Press Club, Hockey decried the ATO's attempts at being efficient: the next Coalition government will conduct an inquiry into the handling of tax disputes. Once the inquiry finds that the ATO is only trying to fulfil its legal duty of making sure extremely rich tax payers actually pay their taxes, the Coalition will break up the tax office, "so that its policeman functions are separate to its responsibility for administering the tax system". (See here)
"Small businesses work hard for their money and should not be bankrolling government", Hockey said (see here). "Taxpayers are not the enemy. They should be respected".
In a video message to the Australian Mines and Metals Association conference in Melbourne delivered last week, Australia's richest small businesswoman, Gina Rinehart, pleaded that "miners and other resources industries are not just ATMs for everyone else to draw from". (See here)
It's nice to see Rinehart's pleas were promptly echoed by Hockey, almost to the letter.
By sheer coincidence, during the last few days the subject of tax avoidance has been widely discussed in the media.
In Britain, Margaret Hodge, MP and chair of the Public Accounts Committee, told last week Google's northern Europe boss, Matt Brittin, that his company's behaviour on tax was "devious, calculated and, in my view, unethical". (See here)
"I think that you do evil", added Hodge.
The British equivalent of the ATO, Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) was severely criticized during those hearings.
Lin Homer, HMRC permanent secretary, said the law needs to be changed before Google can be compelled to pay more tax.
Hodge accused the tax authority of failing in its duty and said it should take a tougher stance with Google:
" 'We don't trust your judgment,' Hodge said. 'You have lousy judgment and the people making those judgments aren't fit for purpose'."Luckily, the Coalition will make sure similar things do not happen Down Under...
Here we'll have no hearings on tax evasion: inquiries here are on those trying to stop tax evasion.
But, in this most egalitarian country, not all pleas are equally heard. The Salvation Army released today the results of a survey, on 2705 users of the organization's emergency relief services.
Since the Gillard Government (labor, centre left) decided to shift 84,000 single parents to the lower-paying Newstart allowance, there was a 12% increase in the number of those seeking help from the Salvos.
The pleas to reverse the decision receive the usual answer, from both Coalition and Labor politicians: get a job. You know: Australia needs to cut its deficit by sending you into misery, while the richest small businesspeople must not pay taxes. It's a matter of respect.
The incoming treasurer promised his Canberra audience that "tomorrow will be better" if the Coalition takes power next September.
"I believe that in my heart," he said.
I'm no cardiologist, so I don't know what his heart says or even whether he actually has one. But I have a functional brain and it tells me that these people don't give a fuck about us. It also tells me who they actually represent. And it ain't us.
It's time you understand this.