Flat White

Sally McManus finds her inner capitalist

26 May 2018

7:41 AM

26 May 2018

7:41 AM

It would probably be hard-pressed to think of anyone you know who voluntarily paid more taxes than they’re required. And would you really want to know someone like that, anyhow?

Normal people know thousands of other ways to better spend their hard-earned money than giving a donation to their government. There are thousands of charities, one could invest in their community, pay off debt, buy a car, buy a candy bar, or even invest in their super.

That is why the H.R. Nicholls Society congratulates ACTU boss Sally McManus for finding ways to spend her own money better than the government could. We wish she would go one step further and let union members and the businesses they menace be given the same luxury.

A report just days ago in The Australian concerning Sally McManus’s link to investment partner Ben Gray’s “AustralianSuper-backed $4.1 billion bid for Healthscope” that involves complex offshore tax structures.

This is disheartening. Not that she and AustralianSuper are trying to keep more of their members’ money, but that while Sally McManus demands “evil” corporations pay their fair share, she finds ways to lower her share.

While Sally McManus could come up with excuses and demand an investigation, if she intended to help her members and all Australians like she says, then she would join in demanding lower taxes and lower government spending across the board.

Australian companies, those who create valuable services and goods, pay one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world at 30 per cent. Large corporations (or well-connected union officials) have teams of accountants and lawyers to find legal avenues to lower their tax burdens.

What is striking is that paying these accountants and attorneys is far cheaper than just paying their taxes.

One could see this and demand the government hire an expensive panel to investigate these inevitable claims. Or another viewpoint would be to determine what tax rate eliminates the incentive to find expensive loopholes altogether.

High taxes on individuals and businesses favour the well-connected and wealthy. Unless you are a part of the status quo you will not be able to afford to compete. Keeping large companies large, and the small companies ever trying to make ends meet.

How the report could be interpreted is that, like Sally McManus, individuals and businesses know how to better spend their money than the government does.

We wish Ms McManus and her super fund well as they determine the best use of their money. It would be kind of her to grant union members, the other 90 per cent of the workforce, and productive businesses with the same tax relief.

If we are to get serious about industrial relations reform and improve every Australian’s standard of living, then we need to be afforded the same luxury Sally McManus and big business receives with their connections.

Let Australians keep more of their money and invest in what they find valuable, like starting new companies, building new homes, or millions of other better choices than paying more taxes.

Losing productive and meaningful jobs are the cost all Australians are paying for high taxes and a government that cannot spend within its means.

Greg Pulscher is executive director of the H.R. Nicholls Society.

Illustration: Sky News Australia capture.

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