July 12th 2003

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Will Telstra sale complete Liberals' takeover of Nationals?

EDITORIAL: The states' gambling addiction

WEST PAPUA: Rising US concern over Indonesian army killings

AGRICULTURE: Factory closure linked to stalled sugar reforms

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Counter-culture / Houses divided against themselves / Oil theories

DEFLATION: Is the world economy sailing into unchartered territory?

Partition of Kashmir? (letter)

Something rotten ... (letter)

Senate 'obstruction' (letter)

WORLD ECONOMY : The market is unpredictable

INTERVIEW: Cross-fertilisation the key to a vibrant world

SOUTH AUSTRALIA : Sex Education course leaves parents fuming

FAMILY: Tax splitting comes in from the cold

BOOKS: The West and the Rest, by Roger Scruton

Books promotion page

Something rotten ... (letter)

by Ken O'Hara

News Weekly, July 12, 2003

With Budget taxes and disbursements affecting us all, surely we should expect our politicians to dish it up a bit more honestly.

For starters, they refer to their "tax cuts" as if it were their money they are giving away, when it is really only returning minuscule amounts from too much tax already paid.

Then there is the absurd claim that "every Australian will benefit" - but how can students, the unemployed, welfare recipients, non-waged housewives, or drought-stricken farmers possibly benefit.

And then there is the nauseating self-praise about doing this, rather than directing these funds to where they are really needed: drought-stricken farmers, whose relief has already been cut, dental services, doctors, nurses and financially-starved hospitals, teachers and under-resourced schools.

And there wasn't a single word on the massive Goods and Services Tax, proclaimed in previous budgets as the key to reforming Australia's taxation system. What is going on - how much is it raising, and how is it being spent?

Similarly, not a word about the million of our people unemployed or under-employed, with no money income, producing nothing and paying no direct tax, but necessarily sustained from overall taxation revenue. (Nothing on that from Simon Crean, either.)

Similar distortions of our real needs occurred when John Howard assured us that troop commitments to the Middle East were only for acclimatisation, and took us into the Iraq war, as if that little nation was our greatest enemy.

To paraphrase the words of Shakespeare, "There's something rotten in the state of this wide brown land today."

Ken O'Hara
Gerringong, NSW

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