We are all equal before the law in Australia and was that a pig flying by my window?

The following was penned by Terence Mills (The AIM Network  28 October 2017) and it points out the duplicity that occurs when politicians found to have received payments that they were not entitled to get treated very differently to Centrelink recipients accused of the very same thing.

Continue reading We are all equal before the law in Australia and was that a pig flying by my window?

Tony Abbott just keeps on playing the same organ

Contributed by Joe Montero

Tony Abbott is a disgrace and as each day passes, he looks even more ridiculous. But it would be a mistake to just laugh at him. What he does has serious consequences.

This is because what he says is used by some very powerful people. They are pulling the strings and using him, an instrument to push a political agenda. If it were not for this, he would be ineffectual.

Abbott might look like a man whose own hurt and ambitions play their part in his eager willingness to be the spoiler against the man he has a score to settle with Malcolm Turnbull. This is undoubtedly part of it. There is also more.

There exists a section of Australian society that is very accustomed to enjoying greater privileges than others have, and a sizable part of it is worried that this is under threat. Its aspirations and fears are bundled in a mixture of a specific view of Anglo and Christian traditions, utmost faith in the market as a regulator of society, small government and opposition to what regarded as a waste of resources on those regarded as good enough to be counted in their society.

It is a well-documented reality, permeating Australian history and alive and well today. Abbott resonates with this section of Australian society.

This is where Abbott has resonance. He speaks for them. This is what gives him his importance.

Nowhere else, is this born to rule mentality better expressed than through News Corporation’s tabloids, television radio stations. They raise Tony Abbott of national and even international significance and at the same time chip away at the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull, suggesting that he is not decisive and militant enough to deliver.

There is a major block within the parliament and the Coalition parties,  representing this elite section of Australian society. It is backed and is the political centre of gravity for the creation of a political movement around the Rupert Murdoch view of the world.

One thing the born to rule element has learned over the generations, is that dividing society into hostile blocks is a good way to keep control a fear of others. This is the underlying foundation principle behind the politics of hate that has bubbled up in the last few years.

All this has a lot to do with what Abbott says and why he gets so much attention. He waded in on the side of climate deniers, for example. Now he is putting effort into opposing marriage equality and  there is  the ongoing crusade against Islam.

Putting forward an opinion is one thing. But when it comes to Tony Abbott, there is much more to it.

The bigger picture is that he is playing a role in the process of creating the new political movement of the privileged, drawing closer sections of the Coalition support base, parts of church hierarchies, One Nation allies and a collection of other odd bods, into a crusade to save the world as they know it.

Battle lines where there shouldn’t be battle lines. Focus is on those issues that can most easily be used to set up villains, to be used  as a skeleton, on which to legitimise narrow interests and dupe another part of Australian society into being the unsuspecting foot soldiers of the defence of privilege.

Building division and setting up villains is used to silence critics as well.  Borrowing from Donald Trump, all that is not permissible is branded as fake news. Use of vilification and bullying is legitimised.Proper discussion, based on real facts, van be evaded and attention can be turned away from those who are pulling the strings.

With his most recent elevation, Tony Abbott has been on the international stage,  playing a similar role, helping similar elements in other counties, facing similar fears and sharing a shared view of the world.

Whether Tony Abbott is fully conscious of his role does not matter. He is still doing harm and hurting people, and for this he should be accountable.


Exposer of corruption of the Panama Papers and corruption has been murdered


The woman at the forefront of the Panama Papers is dead. She lost her life when a bomb in the car she was driving blew up and sent the vehicle flying into a paddock.

A tranche of 11.5 million documents connected to more than 200,000 offshore accounts make up the Panama Papers and this immense volume of information is still being sifted through and new evidence of money laundering and tax evasion is constantly bubbling to the surface.

Those who stand to be exposed had an incentive for having her silenced.

Daphne Caruana Galizia was a journalist who passionately focused on uncovering establishment corruption and her untimely death shows that the corrupt are ruthless and will do anything to keep on the gravy train.

Her son, Matthew Caruana Galizia said, “this was no ordinary murder and it was not tragic” and argued that “when there is blood and fire all around you, that’s war. We are a people at war against the state and organised crime, which have become indistinguishable.”

He added on Facebook. Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri, Chris Cardona, Konrad Mizzi, the Attorney General and the long list of police commissioners who took no action: you are complicit. You are responsible for this”.

There is an obvious connection between these words and the Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his closest aids, whose links to offshore companies had been exposed.

There is also a global dimension to this, as the exposures Galizia worked on involved the who’s who list of multinational corporations and political leaders. Even the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been named as one of them.

It makes perfect sense to allege that there is a war going on between the people in general and the greed of a small and exclusive group, amassing fortunes at the expense of everyone else.  A war that is becoming more open and brutal.

Rights of citizens are being trampled

One of the Maltese police officers who is supposed to be investigating the murder, a sergeant called Ramon Misfsud, wrote about it on his own Facebook account: “Everyone gets what they deserve, cow dung! Feeling happy”. There is not going to be much of an investigation from this quarter.

Although the sergeant has been suspended, this is not a great deal under the circumstances,  and it suggests that power structures provide impunity to wrongdoers, encourage corruption and punish those who make a stand against it.

This is why it is so important that other carry on the work of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Centrelink outsources calling system to Serco

by Adam Carlton

Centerlink’s call services were outsourced to British multinational services company Serco last week, on a three-year pilot contract worth $51.7 million.

The Community and Public Sector Union condemned it immediately and called the privatisation an “absolute disaster”.

National secretary, Nadine Flood said:

“This deal hatched by the Turnbull Government is an absolute disaster for Centrelink and the thousands of vulnerable Australians who rely on the agency. Serco is a tax-avoiding multinational parasite, plain and simple, that profits from downgrading public services and underpaying the people who provide them. Everything they touch sees services suffer.”

“Trusting the highly sensitive needs and information handled by Centrelink staff to a private operator is scary in itself and this situation is even worse. We’re deeply concerned at the prospect of Centrelink clients being dealt with by a company that runs private prisons and Australia’s immigration detention centres.”

“Centrelink services have already been run into the ground as the Turnbull Government has slashed more than 5,000 permanent jobs from the Department of Human Services. The number of unanswered call has climbed rapidly as the Government has continued cutting, with more than 42 million calls going unanswered just last financial year alone.”

There is serious concern about the lack of transparency in the tendering process that has landed a lucrative contract into the hands of a company that already has business arrangements with the government and this has added to speculation about handing over government resources to mates.

Serco has a history of connection to corporate donations to the Liberal Party.

The Turnbull government has been accused of deliberately setting up a process do discourage people from going to Centrelink and if this is the case, privatisation is not going to change much at all.

A price has been paid by the Turnbull government in terms of its reputation and there is sense about that the Turnbull government is keen to create a buffer  that can be used to redirect criticism.

By bringing in Serco, the Turnbull government has set itself up to be accused of a cynical move to set a buffer between itself and Centrelink services. If this is the case, the only difference that can be expected is for the minister and his colleagues to deny responsibility for what has been called in some quarters a human rights abuse.

Last week’s claim by  Human Services minister Alan Tudge that handing over the task to Serco will resolve the problems is unconvincing.

Serco staff are not likely to have the expertise to handle callers’ needs. Even if they do, there is a clear financial incentive to prioritise minimising the number on payments, cut costs not to improve the quality of service. After all, the company may want to move from the pilot to an ongoing contract in three years.

A good indicator that there is unlikely to be any change for the better, is that the data matching system associated with the  “robo debt” scandal, will continue to operate.

Nor does the culling of jobs in the department provide confidence that there will be an improvement to services.

Another concern is the involvement of Serco is that it will have access to vest amounts of personal information and there is little confidence that this information will be properly respected, when it becomes a valuable commodity to be traded, even in the face of the existence of privacy legislation.  We have seen this in the case of internet service providers and the government has not provided any specific safeguards in relation to Centrelink services.

Serco has been accused of using prisoners in the detention centres it operates as a source of cheap labour and the cruel treatment of detainees.

It is the human toll that matters most and the disturbing list below, from the Anti-Poverty Network SA,  gives a good idea of what is going on in the United Kingdom, where Serco is contracted to provide services to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), along with cyber company Atos and security provider G4S. The saddest part about it is that it sounds so familiar. People are being driven to desperation and some are dying in Australia too.

Bringing Serco into the picture will mean that it becomes part  of an ongoing and worsening problem.


Content warning – death and suicide
  • Terry McGarvey, 48. Dangerously ill from polycythemia, Terry asked for an ambulance to be called during his Work Capability Assessment. He knew that he wasn’t well enough to attend his WCA but feared that his benefits would be stopped if he did not. He died the following day.
  • Elaine Lowe, 53. Suffering from COPD and fearful of losing her benefits. In desperation, Elaine chose to commit suicide.
  • Mark Wood, 44. Found fit for work by Atos, against his Doctors advice and assertions that he had complex mental health problems. Starved to death after benefits stopped, weighing only 5st 8lb when he died.
  • Paul Reekie, 48, the Leith based Poet and Author. Paul suffered from severe depression and committed suicide after the DWP stopped his benefits due to an Atos ‘fit for work’ decision.
  • Leanne Chambers, 30. Leanne suffered depression for many years which took a turn for the worst when she was called in for a WCA. Leanne committed suicide soon after.
  • Karen Sherlock, 44. Karen suffered from multiple health issues but was found fit for work by Atos and denied her lifeline benefits. She fought a long battle to get placed into the support group of ESA and died the following month of a heart attack.
  • Carl Payne, 42. Fearing the loss of his lifeline benefits due to welfare reform, this Father of two chose to take his own life.
  • Tim Salter, 53. Blind and suffering from Agoraphobia. Tim was found fit for work by Atos and committed suicide soon after.
  • Edward Jacques, 47 years old and suffering from HIV and Hepatitis C. Edward had a history of severe depression and self-harm. He took a fatal overdose after Atos found him fit for work and stopped his benefits.
  • Linda Wootton, 49 years old. A double heart and lung transplant patient who died just nine days after the government found her fit for work, their refusal letter arriving as she lay desperately ill in her hospital bed.
  • Steven Cawthra, 55. His benefits stopped by the DWP and with rising debts, Steven saw suicide as the only way out of a desperate situation.
  • Elenore Tatton, 39 years old. Died just weeks after the government found her fit for work via an Atos decision.
  • John Walker, 57. John found himself saddled with debt because of the bedroom tax, and took his own life as a result.
  • Brian McArdle, 57 years old. Found fit for work by Atos, Brian suffered a fatal heart attack the day after his disability benefits were stopped.
  • Stephen Hill, 53. Died of a heart attack one month after being found fit for work, even though he was waiting for major heart surgery.
  • Jacqueline Harris, 53. A former Nurse who could hardly walk was found fit for work by Atos and her benefits withdrawn. in desperation, she took her own life.
  • David Barr, 28. Suffering from severe mental difficulties. David threw himself from a bridge after being found fit for work by Atos and failing his appeal.
  • David Groves, 56. Died of a massive heart attack the night before taking his work capability assessment. His widow went on to claim that it was the stress and worry that eventually killed him.
  • Nicholas Peter Barker, 51. Nicholas shot himself after being told his benefits were being stopped. He was unable to work after a brain haemorrhage left him paralysed down one side.
  • Mark and Helen Mullins, 48 and 59 years old. This couple were forced to live on £57.50 a week and make 12 mile trips each week to get free vegetables to make soup. Mark and Helen both committed suicide.
  • Richard Sanderson, 44. Unable to find a job and with his housing benefit cut forcing him to move, but with nowhere to go. Richard chose to commit suicide.
  • Martin Rust, 36 years old. A schizophrenic man who killed himself just two months after the government found him fit to work via an Atos medical.
  • Craig Monk, 43. A vulnerable gentleman and a partial amputee who slipped so far into poverty and destitution that he hanged himself.
  • Colin Traynor, 29. Colin, a sufferer of epilepsy was stripped of his benefits following an Atos medical. He appealed against it. Five weeks after his death his family found he had won his appeal.
  • Elaine Christian, 57 years old. Worried about her work capability assessment, Elaine was subsequently found at Holderness drain, drowned and with ten self inflicted wrist wounds.
  • Christelle and Kayjah Pardoe, 32 years and 5 month old. Pregnant, her benefits stopped, Christelle, clutching her baby son jumped from a third floor balcony.
  • Mark Scott, 46. With his DLA and housing benefit stopped after an Atos medical, and sinking into deep depression, Mark died six weeks later.
  • Cecilia Burns, 51. Found fit for work by the government whilst undergoing treatment for breast cancer, Cecila died just a few weeks after she won her appeal against the Atos decision.
  • Chris Cann, 57 years old. Chris was found dead in his home just months after being told that he had to undergo a medical assessment to prove he could not work.
  • Peter Hodgson, 49. Called in to Job Centre Plus to see if he was suitable for volunteer work. Peter had suffered a stroke, a brain haemorrhage and had a surgically fused leg. His appointment letter arrived a few days after he took his own life.
  • Paul Willcoxsin, 33 years old. Paul suffered with mental health problems and was becoming increasingly worried about government cuts. He committed suicide by hanging himself.
  • Stephanie Bottrill, 53. After paying £80 a month for bedroom tax, Stephanie could not afford heating in the winter and lived on tinned custard. In desperation, she chose to walk out into the road in front of a lorry.
  • Larry Newman suffered from a degenerative lung condition, his weight dropping from 10 to 7 stone. Atos duly awarded him zero points, he died just three months after submitting his appeal.
  • Paul Turner, 52 years old. After suffering a heart attack, Paul was ordered to find a job in February. In April he died from ischaemic heart disease.
  • Christopher Charles Harkness, 39. After finding out that the funding for his care home was being withdrawn, this man who suffered with mental health issues, took his own life.
  • Sandra Louise Moon, 57. Suffering from a degenerative back condition, depression and increasingly worried about losing her incapacity benefit. Sandra committed suicide by taking an overdose.
  • Lee Robinson, 39 years old. Lee took his own life after his housing benefit and council tax were taken away from him.
  • David Coupe, 57. A Cancer sufferer found fit for work by Atos in 2012. David lost his sight, then his hearing, then his mobility, and then his life.
  • Michael McNicholas, 34. Severely depressed and a recovering alcoholic. Michael committed suicide after being called in for a Work Capability Assessment by Atos.
  • Victor Cuff, 59 and suffering from severe depression. Victor hanged himself after the DWP stopped his benefits.
  • Charles Barden, 74. Charles committed suicide by hanging due to fears that the Bedroom Tax would leave him destitute and unable to cope.
  • Ian Caress, 43. Suffered multiple health issues and deteriorating eyesight. Ian was found fit for work by Atos, he died ten months later having lost so much weight that his family said that he resembled a concentration camp victim.
  • Iain Hodge, 30. Suffering from the life threatening illness, Hughes Syndrome, Iain was found fit for work by Atos and had benefits stopped. Iain took his own life shortly after.
  • Wayne Grew, 37. Severely depressed due to government cuts and the fear of losing his job, Wayne committed suicide by hanging.
  • Kevin Bennett, 40. Kevin, a sufferer of schizophrenia and mental illness became so depressed after his JSA was stopped that he became a virtual recluse. Kevin was found dead in his flat several months later.
  • David Elwyn Hughs Harries, 48. A disabled man who could no longer cope after his parents died, could find no help from the government via benefits. David took an overdose as a way out of his solitude.
  • Denis Jones, 58. A disabled man crushed by the pressures of government cuts, in particular the Bedroom Tax, and unable to survive by himself. Denis was found dead in his flat.
  • Shaun Pilkington, 58. Unable to cope any more, Shaun shot himself dead after receiving a letter from the DWP informing him that his ESA was being stopped following an Atos medical.
  • Paul, 51. Died in a freezing cold flat after his ESA was stopped. Paul appealed the decision and won on the day that he lost his battle to live.
  • Chris MaGuire, 61. Deeply depressed and incapable of work, Chris was summoned by Atos for a Work Capability Assessment and deemed fit for work. On appeal, a judge overturned the Atos decision and ordered them to leave him alone for at least a year, which they did not do. In desperation, Chris took his own life, unable to cope any more.
  • Peter Duut, a Dutch national with terminal cancer living in the UK for many years found that he was not entitled to benefits unless he was active in the labour market. Peter died leaving his wife destitute, and unable to pay for his funeral.
  • George Scollen, age unknown. Took his own life after the government closed the Remploy factory he had worked in for 40 years.
  • Julian Little, 47. Wheelchair bound and suffering from kidney failure, Julian faced the harsh restrictions of the Bedroom Tax and the loss of his essential dialysis room. He died shortly after being ordered to downgrade.
  • Miss DE, early 50’s. Suffering from mental illness, this lady committed suicide less than a month after an Atos assessor gave her zero points and declared her fit for work.
  • Robert Barlow, 47. Suffering from a brain tumour, a heart defect and awaiting a transplant, Robert was deemed fit for work by Atos and his benefits were withdrawn. He died penniless less than two years later.
  • Carl Joseph Foster-Brown, 58. As a direct consequence of the wholly unjustifiable actions of the Job centre and DWP, this man took his own life.
  • Martin Hadfield, 20 years old. Disillusioned with the lack of jobs available in this country but too proud to claim benefits. Utterly demoralised, Martin took his own life by hanging himself.
  • Annette Francis, 30. A mum-of-one suffering from severe mental illness, Anne was found dead after her disability benefits were ceased.
  • Ian Jordan, 60. His benefits slashed after Atos and the DWP declared Ian, a sufferer of Barratt’s Oesophagus, fit for work, caused him to run up massive debts in order to survive. Ian was found dead in his flat after taking an overdose.
  • Janet McCall, 53. Terminally ill with pulmonary fibrosis and declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Atos and the DWP, this lady died 5 months after her benefits were stopped.
  • Stuart Holley, 23. A man driven to suicide by the DWP’s incessant pressure and threat of sanctions for not being able to find a job.
  • Graham Shawcross, 63. A sufferer of the debilitating disease, Addison’s. Died of a heart attack due to the stress of an Atos ‘Fit for Work’ decision.
  • David Clapson, 59 years old. A diabetic ex-soldier deprived of the means to survive by the DWP and the governments harsh welfare reforms, David died all but penniless, starving and alone, his electricity run out.
  • Chris Smith, 59. Declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Atos as he lay dying of Cancer in his hospital bed.
  • Nathan Hartwell, 36, died of heart failure after an 18-month battle with the ­Department for Works and Pensions.
  • Michael Connolly, 60. A Father of One, increasingly worried about finances after his benefits were cut. Committed suicide by taking 13 times the fatal dose of prescription medicine on the 30th October – His Birthday.
  • Jan Mandeville, 52, A lady suffering from Fibromyalgia, driven to the point of mental and physical breakdown by this governments welfare reforms. Jan was found dead in her home after battling the DWP for ESA and DLA.
  • Trevor Drakard, 50 years old. A shy and reserved, severe epileptic who suffered regular and terrifying fits almost his entire life, hounded to suicide by the DWP who threatened to stop his life-line benefits.
  • Peter Kelleher, 44. Found in his flat with a ligature around his neck and in a state of decomposition after the pressure of mounting debt and no benefit at all became too much to bear.
  • Mark Cotton, 54. A Double amputee that relied upon paid care to get around was reassessed by the DWP, only to receive a telephone call 4 days later to inform him that his care allowance was to be slashed from 9 hours per week, to 3. Mark was found dead in his home 48 hours later having committed suicide.
  • Malcolm Burge, 66. A retired gardener who killed himself after being hounded for £800 after changes to his benefits left him unable to cope.
  • Julia Kelly, 39. Suffering with chronic back pain and hounded constantly by the DWP, Julia committed suicide after receiving a letter demanding that she pay back over £4000.
  • Benjamin Del McDonald, 34. A doting Father of three children suffering from depression due to removal of his lifeline benefits, Benjamin committed suicide by hanging.
  • Mark William Jacka, 26. Stressed to the point of suicide, Mark was found hanged at his home the day after a visit to his local Job Centre to apply for JSA.
  • David O’Mar, 58. Suffering from Pneumonia in a hospital bed. Found ‘Fit for Work’ by the DWP only to die two weeks later.
  • Glenn Harris, 55. A sufferer of Lupus, depression and unable to work. Glenn became increasingly worried about his benefits being stopped, and took his life by partially decapitating himself.
  • Aaron Lane, 31 years old. A talented musician battling mental health problems who took his own life after he was ruled by the DWP as fit to work.
  • Moira Drury, 61 years old. Suffering from limited mobility and mini-strokes, epilepsy and depression. Her daughter later reported that she believed that a seven-month delay in processing her benefit claim hastened her death.
  • Gordon Lang, 62 years old, A marine veteran who fought for his country, died from cancer whilst battling the DWP over the loss of his benefits.
  • David Waite, 60 years old. A sufferer of many problems ranging from brain damage, neck pain, diabetes and depression. Died following the loss of his benefits.
  • David Brown, 18 years of age. Took his own life after Job Centre staff belittled him and threatened to sanction his Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • James Harrison, 55. Seriously ill with a lung and heart condition, depression and anxiety. Died just months following a DWP request to his GP not to give him any more sick notes.
  • Lawrence Bond, 56. Spent his last day alive in a Job Centre being told he was ‘Fit for Work’, before dying of a heart attack on the way home.
  • Susan Margaret Roberts, 68. After being turned down for PIP following the DWP’s controversial Work Capability Assessment, this lady, a sufferer of Chronic Fibromyalgia, took her own life.”



IMF acknowledges fall in wages growth but offers no solution

By Joe Montero

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest economic outlook report, notes that industrialised economies are experiencing slow wage growth and Australia is at the head of the pack.

Under the heading Seeking sustainable growth: short-term recovery, long-term challenges, the latest report has downsized its prediction for Australia’s economic growth to 2.2 percent this year. The unemployment rate, even by the underestimating measure used,  is expected to stay the same over the coming period.

The focus is on the absence of wages growth. The IMF suggests that the reasons are higher unemployment, the rise in underemployment, declining productivity growth and what is defined as lower inflation expectations in general, but not so much for Australia.

While the connection with a lower inflation expectation is unclear at best and may be taken with a pinch of salt, what is undeniable, is that underemployment is a major driver. The IMF is right to suggest this and has a point, to an extent at least, in pointing to an association between wages and underemployment.

This is no mystery to most Australians, who do not need an IMF report to tell them this is the way it is.

To an extent was mentioned, because the IMF overlooks the simple reality that underemployment, or the casualisation of labour by another name, is really a form of unemployment.  So, when viewed in this context, the relationship between wages and unemployment remains the same, except that it has changed the way it looks.

The IMF report wrongly holds that the old nexus between unemployment and wage rates no longer holds. The problem  is that is that the agency is locked into a world view, backed by economic theory that has limited connection to the real world, which blocks the capacity to adapt to anything else.

What is important is not the number of jobs on the books, but the number of hours worked, along with the relative positions of the employer and employee to exert their interests. The report does recognise the that the average number of hours worked is falling in Australia and other industrialised countries. the problem is that is goes no further.

Unacknowledged, is the failure of  more than three decades of neoliberalism, which has involved an active drive to push down wages. The IMF has been one of its leading advocates.

Successive Australian governments have been zealous in applying  neoliberalism and continue to be so today.

The IMF’s suggested solution to stagnated wages is that in an era of highly flexible employment, governments needs to protect and extend minimum wages and change the approach to unemployment benefits, to acknowledge that the era of full time unemployment has gone.

Measures like these will improve the safety net for the most vulnerable and are justifiable on this basis. But they will not solve the problem.

The biggest weakness in the report is that it in no way challenges the existence and growth of underemployment. The stock argument remains, and that is that the best way to improve the jobs market is to increase productivity. There is not even a hint of steering away from this.

Increasing productivity means more quantity of goods and services created in a given period of time. Contrary to the claim sometimes made, Australia, like other industrialised countries, has a high level of productivity.

This has been brought about by a combination of high skills levels and the application of new technologies. The form that rising productivity has taken has been the replacement of labour by these new technologies and the associated re-organisation in the way work is done.

An outcome of this has been to feed an ongoing increase in the relative oversupply of labour. This is what unemployment is.

Employers finding that they have relatively greater strength to impose their will, have not backed off taking advantage of the opportunity. And they have been supported by government to wage an assault, which takes the shape of turning full time jobs into lower paid and often causalised work, provided by labour hire firms.

The government has moved in and helped by slashing jobs in the public sector and has set up the Fair Work Commission to strengthen the hand of the employers. The recent decision to cut penalty rates is a case in point.

While increasing productivity there has been a fall in the cost of doing business for those that can operate on a large enough scale, there is a paradox, in that it has at the same time, particularly in the higher tech areas,  has caused a fall in prices, while those in relatively lower tech and more labour intensive areas, have been squeezed by higher costs and an inability to compete without raising prices

Falling prices have led to a lower rate of return per unit, a rate of return on investment, wilting investment in the real economy and the economic stagnation.

Responding to a systemic problem, employers are using higher real unemployment as a tool to offload the cost of running the business onto the wage earner.

The second paradox is that while it might look good on the short-term balance sheet of individual businesses, the longer-term effect, if it occurs on as big enough scale across the economy, is that it will inevitably shrink the available market.

We are already seeing a trend to lower consumer spending. And this contraction of the market comes around to hit the bottom line, induce further economic stagnation, if not contraction. Life is made more difficult for the employers that pushed in this direction and it is made even more difficult for those on which the burden had been imposed.

For as long as agencies like the IMF and governments like those that Australia continue to ignore these realities and fail to act appropriately, they will continue to be part of the problem.

A solution to the problem is not easy because it is systemic and correcting this requires operating the economy in a way where it is not driven by the major employers and takes the form of working together and rewarding for effort.

At the very least, there is a need for significant government intervention to slow the rot, taking the form of simultaneously enforcing acceptable wages and conditions of employment and applying a plan to grow a new economy that will provide a new supply of job opportunities.

Tax Office admits major corporate tax avoidance


The Australian tax Office has now put a figure on the amount of tax avoidance being carried out by major corporations and multinationals.

Major corporations are defined as those with a gross income of over $250 million a year. They failed to pay out a whopping $2.5 billion in the 2014-15 financial year. The Tax office also says this has been the pattern over some years.

The consequence is that Australians miss out on government services that could otherwise be financed by this money.

It is even worse. The amount estimated is well under what it really is, because only some types of non-compliance have been considered.

Oxfam Australia’s Economic Policy Advisor Joy Kyriacou said $2.5 billion was a conservative estimate. “The ATO can only report on what large companies are bound to tell it, not on taxes which multinationals are dodging through legal tax avoidance”.

Treasurer Scott Morrison’s 9 own this year’s May statement, admitted that the scale of tax evasion is significantly greater, at more than $7 billion.

Estimates by the The Tax Office are also reduced because of the practice of cutting deals, rather than prosecute corporations that have avoided paying tax. Only amounts to new deals are counted.

This is not good enough. The expectation is that the actual debt would be followed up diligently and the whole truth getting out there is important, to show what has to be done in order to put an end to corporate tax evasion, which on the scale that it is occurring in Australia, must be having a major impact on Australian society and the economy.

If money that is syphoned out overseas (acceptable under the present letter of the law) is taken into account, it would add at least another  $6 billion a year, to the amount of lost money. In comparison, the government’s budget deficit is $33 billion.Recovering the taxes not paid would clean the slate in a few years. And this is far from the whole picture of  financial benefits corporations get from government.

Yet is the budget deficit that provides the excuse for bullying through Centrelink, where the value of benefits were cut last year by $5 billion. A broad range of services important to the whole Australia community also continue to be cut.  There is absolutely no doubt this is one of the reasons for growing inequality. It is unfair.

The government’s failure to take effective action on this, while going on with the cuts, is the height of hypocrisy, because what is really being done, is that fat cats are being bankrolled at the expense of everyone else.

At the same time, the government denies itself the funds it needs to play its potential role as a player in the economy, as a supplier of resources and a stimulative consumption. The consequence is less economic activity and this flows through to impact on the whole of society. It doesn’t stop here. Tax avoidance on the scale that is occurring in Australia, must significantly distort investment patterns and this in itself, leads to more problems.


Official site of the May Day Committee (Malbourne)