Nature abhors a vacuum and if the chaos of five prime ministers in Australia over the past eight years hasn’t resulted in its worst effects: petrol at the pump skyrocketing during the globe’s lowest crude prices, guns proliferating in its capital cities, domestic violence at pandemic levels, and extremist Islam claiming a toehold—then the shying away from the Australia Tax is crippling the once lucky country even more.
The Australia Tax isn’t exactly a tax per se. Rather it’s a penalty. One that Australians face for living in a country young free and girt by sea.
It means that on top of any burdens imposed by a rapidly devaluing local dollar countries doing business with Australia are free to double, if not triple their prices for goods reaching our shores.
Yet, now the Australian government wishes to increase the country’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) by a further half, toying with a flat rate 15%.
Let me give you an example of what this means for Australians, focusing on books. We can all agree that reading equates to knowledge.
So the other day I went looking for a book on Napoleon. The current Victorian conservative party president, Michael Kroger, will appreciate that, once being among the country’s most prolific collectors of Napoleonic memorabilia.
Well, there’s a great new two-volume set called “Bonaparte” by Patrice Gueniffey. Volume 1, hardcover, currently retails at Amazon for USD $28.78. Given the exchange rate as of writing, that would be AUD $40.15. That’s ridiculous in itself. However, why wait? It’s available at local bookstores in Melbourne at AUD $99.00. Say what?
That’s not a typo. Taking away the current GST, that’s an Australia Tax of AUD $49.85 or 124%.
Apply the newly proposed GST of 15% and you get whopping price of AUD $103.50, resulting in a penalty for knowledge in this country of $63.35 or 158%.
And the Australian government is doing nothing at all about it.
As a citizen I don’t mind paying tax; had the GST originally followed through with its promised massive cuts to income tax, I’d be even happier. But taxing books—knowledge—in the first place, is idiotic: not negating the Australia Tax on knowledge is purely negligent.
Just ask Charlie Brown. His new, spectacular tribute compilation pictured above, “Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts”, by Chip Kidd, is $22 US Dollars at Amazon. I picked it up today from my local Aussie bookstore for a cool $50, GST included.
Still that’s Australia in the 21st Century: a sunburnt stupid country. Oh good grief.
© 2015 Adam Parker. You’ve just read a Parkerpinion.
Main picture: “The Art of Peanuts”. Author’s collection.