Contributed by Jim Hayes
Pauline Hanson is once again saying she is opposing the government’s company tax cuts, unless there is an agreement to “go after multinationals.”
She says the cut must not apply to companies with more than $50 million in annual turnover.
There is sound reason for setting the bar at this amount. It would allow some relief to small businesses doing it hard in the present environment.
Whether the maverick leader of One Nation will stick to it is anyone’s guess. She does have a propensity to change her mind mid stride. But so long as she sticks to it, she is doing something right.
She says she wants a crack down on multinational tax avoidance and companies that use overseas call centres to be denied the benefit.
There is no doubt that this package will resonate with many Australians.
It will also appeal to One Nation’s membership and base, and is strategically sensible for Hanson. After one more public brawl and Senate defection, the party’s fracturing has gathered pace, and needs something to pull it together to stop the unraveling.
Hanson has also done herself considerable damage by coming across as autocratic and incapable of listening to others. Her latest stance on this issue provides an opportunity to let her look like she is listening.
Regardless of any of this, opposition to Turnbull’s push for the corporate tax cut to 25 percent is right, in terms of fairness and the needs of the economy. Corporate tax dodging is an even bigger issue, because it robs the Australian community of a great deal of capital that could be put to work, to make Australia a better place.
If One Nation continues to hold firm on this, it will mean the government is not likely to get the cut through the Senate. This would be a positive development.
But we should not rely on it. The government’s corporate backers are determined to see it through. Immense pressure will be put on One Nation and Pauline Hanson personally, to back down.
And the company tax issue is not a stand-alone matter. It touches the bigger question of whose interests the Australian economy should serve. The trickle-down effect argument is dead and buried. Should the bulk of the benefit go to a handful of billionaires, or to the great majority of the population?
This also brings up the role of government. Should it play an important role in in the allocation of resources and distribution of income?
The priorities should be the creation of jobs and and building an economy that rewards all fairly.
For years now, we have been told that the government must cut back on what it provides, because it does not have the funds. Ensuring that big corporations pay their share can go a long way towards resolving this problem.