I miss them so much!
The ignorance of the White Australian
Nothing could make my blood boil more than reading Paul Sheehan’s article in the SMH which again displayed the horrifying ignorance that seems to beset most of white Australia. In a scathing article he states that he is glad that the protesters actions have potentially put to death some of the proposed changes to the referendum that will give Aboriginals special privelege within the constitution:
Upon reading it one cannot help but get angry at Paul Sheehan’s insidiuously racist tone. His conclusion that the action of some 200 protesters (whether right or wrong) is reflective of all indigenous people and should be a basis or an influence for deciding the merits of constitutional change that favors aboriginals is disgusting and patronising. His conclusion feeds into the negative stereotype of all aboriginals as unruly, violent and worst of all need looking after by white people. At no point would laws concerning white people be changed or decided on the basis of the actions of a small group of violent or unruly white people (eg the Cronulla riots).
On the merits of the legislation itself Paul seems to support the hollow argument that equality can only be achieved when there is equality of all races without benefit to one. Yet such an argument seems to nicely ignore the historical context and structural inequalities in which these constitutional changes would operate in. It ignores the special place that aboriginies have in the history of this nation. It ignores that the Aboriginies have been the victim of over 200 years of systematic rape and victimisation that has destroyed all familial and communal bonds while allowing the white man to prosper in Australia. It ignores the fact that despite our prosperity that most indigenous people don’t have access to healthcare, education, electricity and other infrastructure that the rest of us have access to which makes their ability to prosper difficult if not downright impossible. Aboriginies deserve special attention simply because the structural inequalities in place because of our horrifying past are so great that its not suprising that there is a huge disparity between aboriginals and the rest of the nation. The national dialogue should be one that is ashamed of the situation not revelling in vilifying Aboriginals and feeding into horrible stereotypes.
The Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT), the less contentious younger sibling of the Carbon Tax, is a vital piece of legislation in shoring up Australia’s future after the mining boom subsides. It attempts to address the two-speed economy and recognises the fact that the mining boom will not last forever.
The MRRT is a watered-down version of the Rudd Government’s proposed Resources Super Profits Tax (RSPT). The RSPT proposal itself was one of the key recommendations of the Henry Taxation Review in 2009.
Following the mining industry’s intense scare campaign against the RSPT, Rudd was replaced with Gillard who sought a compromise to end the ALP’s war with the big miners. Announced in July 2010, the MRRT is a very watered down version of the RSPT.
The justification for the MRRT is the idea of ‘economic rent’. Economic Rent is a concept derived by classical economists, including the one and only Karl Marx, and involves the payment for a resource where the availability of the resource is insensitive to the size of the payment received for its use. Thus rents are an excellent source of taxation as the tax does not have any capacity to distort economic activity.
Rudd’s attempt to implement the RSPT demonstrated just how easily politicians can collapse in the face of immense industry lobbying.
The mining industry’s large-scale anti-RSPT campaign brought Rudd to his lowest approval rating and would precipitate in his removal as Labor leader.
Interestingly, support for a resources rent tax has always hovered around 60-70%. The failure of the RSPT showed just how vocal any minority can be.
The MRRT is an important step in preparing Australia for a post-mining boom economy. Unless we secure the economic benefits to invest in infrastructure for the future, Australia will recognise an empty town that was bustling with the discovery of oil and bust when it was all gone.
Thanks so much for this. The role of the RSPT in Kevin Rudd’s downfall seems to have been conveniently forgotten. Whenever people claimed that Australia didn’t need an Occupy movement, I remind them of this incident.
(click on the above link to read entire article, I highly recommend it).
Warning Australian Politics ahead:
This was me watching 4 Corners tonight on the overthrow of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as head of the Labour Party (and hence, PM) and replacement with Julia Gillard.
Believe me, I could say a lot of things right now, but I won’t.