Greed!

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Just two people in Australia own more wealth than the bottom 20% of the country. Yes, Gina Rhinehart and Harry Triguboff between them have $16.1 billion dollars. That’s sixteen thousand million dollars! That’s more than 4.8 million Australians put together have.

This is the situation, while the federal Liberal conservative government goes after the poorest people through Centrelink*, sending false, threatening letters saying they will set the debt collectors on them unless they pay up immediately. In many cases, Centrelink has got its facts wrong! In some cases of wrong addresses, the first thing the people know is the debt collector’s appearance on their doorstep.

At the same time, one third of Australia’s biggest companies, including BHP Billiton, “The Great Australian”, pay no tax at all. They manage to structure their affairs so that they pay zero tax in this country.

It is also well known that once you achieve a certain level of income, somewhere above $250,000 per year, paying income tax is optional. In other words, you can afford to pay clever accountants to arrange your affairs so as to avoid paying tax completely. Most wealthy people in Australia are paying zero tax. Many others avoid most of their tax obligations, thinking it’s clever to do so, while at the same time complaining when they don’t get the government support they think they deserve.

Sounds fair, doesn’t it? It is NOT!

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It’s time to rise up and fight this. Fight it by bombarding your local federal member of parliament with emails and phone calls of anger and protest*. Fight it by joining GetUp. Fight it by joining a union. Fight it by joining in demonstrations when they’re being held. Fight it in any way you can. This situation is obscene.

Low income sick people are desperate. People are sleeping in the streets, homeless. Young people, denied unemployment benefits for up to six months, are turning to crime and selling drugs in order to make some money.

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The answer is that the tax laws have to be tightened so much that it becomes impossible to avoid or evade tax. Jail has to become commonplace for tax avoiders. That includes accountants.

But while ever we have a multi-millionaire as prime minister, who himself arranges his affairs via tax havens to avoid paying his share, what hope is there?

I advocate violence, I’m afraid. We have no other options. Tax avoiders and evaders must be made to live in fear, either of jail or violence. There’s no other way.

The government has a huge debt and a huge budget deficit each year. Competent financial commentators have pointed out many times that if Australian companies were just made to pay the tax they rightly incur in this country, that debt and deficit would be wiped out at a stroke. Instead, the government attacks the poorest and lowest income people. This is the Liberal Party, folks, that corrupt organisation. Google Parakeelia.

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* See The Guardian’s article today “Centrelink staff told not to fix mistakes in debt notices – whistleblower”. It’s incredible, but it’s true, independently verified. Even if errors are found in Centrelink assessments, staff are being told they are not to be corrected – it’s up to the person who’s received the demand notices to find the errors and prove they are wrong. Meanwhile the debt collectors are told to go ahead.

This is hardly believable, except that it’s true. A government department, led by that wonderful Fuhrer Hank Jongen is deliberately trying to fraudulently extract money from low income and unemployed people, and aged pensioners. How low can this nasty Liberal government sink?

These are the five fraudulent things Centrelink is doing:

  1. Doubling Income: A person’s entire income from the same employer is doubled up or certain parts of their income are duplicated, like leave and termination payments.
  2. Non-Assessable Income: Items are included as income that should not be counted, like expense reimbursements and some paid parental leave payments.
  3. Fictitious Payments: The system is generating debts based on payments that Centrelink never made. It’s even possible to have a debt claim larger than a person’s total Centrelink payment.
  4. False Recovery Fees: Recovery fees are regularly being applied when they shouldn’t and can be much larger than the set fee of 10%.
  5. Corrupted Review: Compliance officers are directed not to fix these errors, even when they have the evidence, and their work is rejected when they do. Even on appeal, errors will only be corrected if the person specifically identifies them, which can be nearly impossible.Email your MP using the link in the article, please! We must fight this.

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This is not so much a coincidence as a surprising revelation. While I was in Bali a couple of weeks ago I bought a nasal decongestant spray, Bayer brand but made in Indonesia, called Afrin. I’d never heard of it before.

Watching an episode of The Big Bang last night, the wine tasting episode, the cast are commenting on the bouquet of the wine, when Leonard says, “All I can smell is my Afrin.” (He’s got sinus problems.) I never knew what that meant.

So now I know, Afrin is a common brand, sold in the USA, not just Indonesia. I can hardly detect any smell from it.

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Another funny revelation: for the past year or more I’ve noticed a name of a modem near me in the list on my wi-fi connection. It’s “DicksOutForHarambe”. Isn’t that a strange name for a modem? Someone has imagination around here, but I wondered what it meant.

I learnt the other day that Harambe was the name of the gorilla in the US zoo which was shot and killed because it snatched a child who had climbed into its enclosure.

Why “DicksOut” I have no idea. It’s certainly a unique name, anyway.

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I’m writing this at 6.15am and the damn dogs next door are barking their heads off already! They bark from dawn until late into the night. There’s hardly a 20 second period without barking. This is driving me nuts! The owners are out all day and often until late at night. Not once have I ever heard them trying to quieten their dogs.

A friend put me onto a City of Vincent idea, an anonymous card to put in their letterbox saying very politely that there’s a problem. It’s a downloadable pdf file to print out.

I can’t be the only one angered by this – I’m on the west side of their house while the dogs are on the east side. The neighbours on that side must get it worse than me. I think I should go and knock on their doors and perhaps get some group support.

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