Wednesday, 11 April 2012

There may be a Constitutional challenge

to the so-called "carbon tax" that the Federal Government is intending to introduce in July. At that time there will also be a "compensation" package for some people - but not others.
The so called compensation is one of those confidence tricks beloved of governments of all descriptions. They like to tell you that they are giving you something (with your money of course) so that you will think fondly of them and, if you live in a "democracy", you will then vote for them.
      Many people are fooled by such things. It is not surprising because the little "gifts" often come cleverly packaged.
      It must therefore be disturbing for the government to read the small pieces which keep creeping into the paper about the hitherto hidden costs of this tax.  Are these things the government was hoping to keep quiet - or did they just fail to think of them at all?
       They did not have a mandate for the tax, indeed promised not to introduce one. It has been pushed through with unseemly haste - the price a minority had to pay the Greens and the "independents" in order to form government. Had the Opposition succeeded in dealing with these two groups they would have faced similar problems.
        But they may now face much worse problems. Charities are going to be hit hard by the tax. Today's piece in our state newspaper is about the concern of one of the biggest charitable groups, the Salvation Army. They believe, probably rightly so, that there will be an increase in the amount of rubbish dumped at their bins because the cost of "going to the dump" is going to increase.
        Charities already have a problem with dumping. I regularly pedal past the local charity shop and, at weekends particularly, people will leave things outside. This is despite notices asking people not to do it. All too often one of the regular workers will have to make time to go and haul things inside. All too often what is dumped is not something that can be sold. The charity then has to pay to dump it.
         We have given things to that charity from time to time. If it is clothing I make sure it is washed and ironed or otherwise clean. If it is something else, like the very heavy stoneware dinnerset we were once given but had never used, I make sure it is clean and likely to be of some value to someone. I ask myself the question, "Is it good enough to sell?" If it is not then I believe it should go out in the rubbish. We do not throw much away.
          The Salvation Army believes increased "dumping" could cost them upwards of another $600,000 a year - perhaps twice or more than that. There is also the hazard of having rubbish lying around collection bins. It is a problem now. And yes, it will probably grow worse.
          Add an increase in all sorts of other charges, such as electricity and transport, as the cost of the carbon tax flows through from the big polluters which are hit by it and it would seem we have a recipe for inflation. Nothing has been done to get people's behaviour to change. Even the attempt at "wealth redistribution" will have failed - indeed it may end up hurting low income earners even more.
         If a Constitutional challenge goes ahead it will be on complex grounds that may not succeed. There are issues of "states' rights" and "external affairs" which are likely to come up. I am glad I am not a Constitutional lawyer.
          What puzzles me though is how we got ourselves into this mess because it is a mess. There will, no doubt, be more difficulties raised between now and the introduction of the tax. The government desperate to have it in place. It is depending on it for revenue. They desperately need to be able to say the budget is "in surplus". It will not be but, like the "compensation" they plan on handing out, it may look as if it is. That is all that really matters to the government.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I Ms Wong is now claiming that charities will be "compensated" too - is this a one-off confidence trick or will it be ongoing? After all, people are not going to stop dumping.
This is a disastrous piece of legislation. They simply have not recognised the consequences.