Inside the system

Multinationals dodging tax, Abbott to help

APPLE HAS been exposed for paying only $193 million tax since 2002, despite selling $27 billion worth of products in Australia. That’s a microscopic 0.07 per cent of their turnover. The Financial Review estimates Apple shifted around $9 billion offshore to escape tax.

Corporate parasites are dodging tax at historically unprecedented levels, but Abbott’s claims he is “cracking down” on them are a lie.

Other offenders include Google who only coughed up $4.1 million on $1 billion revenue in Australia in 2012. When asked about the company’s tax evasion last year Google boss Eric Schmidt said “We are proudly capitalistic. I’m not confused about this.” This from a company whose unofficial motto is “Don’t be evil”.

Treasurer Joe Hockey made a lot of noise about ending tax evasion by multinationals during the G20 Finance Ministers meeting in February. But the Liberals’ talk of a “co-ordinated international crackdown” on tax evasion is a farce.

Current Tax Office Commissioner Chris Jordan stepped into the role straight out of accountancy firm KPMG, one of the big four international firms that advise the rich on how to best evade taxes. Jordan advised John Howard on the implementation of the regressive GST.

Abbott is also trying to cut $100 million from the Tax Office budget over the next two years, with 900 job cuts by June. These cuts will make it even easier for massive corporations to rort the system.

Abbott’s Australia: Open for the rich, closed to refugees

IF YOU come to Australia with nothing on a refugee boat, you will be locked up indefinitely on Nauru or Manus Island in hellish conditions. If you have $5 million or more to invest on the other hand, you can be waved through on a Significant Investment Visa.

Abbott wants to expand the program further, and has launched a review to consult the finance industry about how to do so. Labor introduced the visa, and issued 26 in the year before they lost office. Since the Coalition came to power more than 116 visas have been granted. In the first month of 2014, Australia received $165 million in complying investments through the programme, massively up from Labor›s monthly peak of $30 million in July last year. As a placard at March in March put it, Abbott wants a country open for business and closed for refugees.

Australia “assists” Bougainville with mining law

Bougainville, A copper and gold rich region in Papua New Guinea, is being “assisted” by Australia in writing its new mining legislation. AusAid has contracted academics with direct links to mining giant Rio Tinto to “help” set the rules that will determine who gets to mine, how and who owns the rights to the resources.

One contracted academic is Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh who joined Marcia Langton as chief investigator in the research project behind her Boyer Lectures. The lecture series was propaganda funded by big miners including Rio Tinto and aimed to paint rampant mining investment as the only way forward for remote Aboriginal communities in Australia.


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