Give our parliamentarians the guts to legislate!

June 26, 2010 at 7:05 am (Uncategorized) (, )

I’m not an economist, nor a political scientist, but my understanding of democracies is that parliaments are elected to govern and legislate by using the legislative tools given to them by the voters in free elections. 

Elected governments, I would think, after appropriate political debate would be able to come up with policies that are deemed to be for the good of their people, and initiate parliamentary legislative processes. Surely this does not always compel them to open their proposals to endless community discussion, particularly in matters of taxation.

Take the current Australian Government’s proposed new taxes on mining and their approach to facilitate and implement them. 

Why should the provisions of the proposed new taxes be disseminated to the mining companies and the community for endless discussion before the legislation is enacted in parliament? It should be obvious to anyone that if you ask, do you want to be taxed more, individuals and companies will answer no. 

The Labor Party has a majority in the House of Representatives so legislation for the new mining tax would go through without a hitch. Bob Brown, the Leader of the Greens, has indicated that his party would support the government in the Senate and with one or two of the Independents the Bill would go through. 

Ross Gittins, in today’s Herald, June 26th, 2010 (“Model way of conning us all”) ably shows  how both sides of the debate, government and mining companies, present independent economic modeling to support their sides, but the interesting thing is that the same commercial firm prepared the data, KPMG. 

What chance does the public have for an informed debate in an atmosphere charged with vested money interests? The parliament is the place for this and our elected representatives should have the guts to argue for a tax that they believe in. 

Anthony Trollope said years ago: “It is the nature of a political party [to avoid] the consideration of any question which involves a great change.” And I guess the same situation prevails in Australia today.


1 Comment

  1. Antony Ruhan said,

    Often discussion of proposed taxes (and other needed changes of legislation) is needed. This differs from the jockeying for public favour. something which is always divided, that politicians and the media engage in. This superficial debate merely confuses the real issue. If the issue itself is clear, then the government should act on its convictions.

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