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16 April 2012


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Didn't the WA premier say that he'd support a carbon Tax challenge,or words to that effect,if another premier started the challenge?



To commence, I will explain that I am very much against the Carbon Tax - however, disseminating propaganda in relation to its constitutional invalidity is not an effective way to generate political support to repeal the legislation. Indeed, a HCA challenge will only serve to validate the legislation and produce a conspicuous "win" for Labor from the public's perspective.

Bryan Pape (the lawyer providing the advice) was the same lawyer that levied the failed challenge against the stimulus package. Notwithstanding on one point out of the various points he claimed the stimulus package's invalidity he managed to convince 3 out of the 7 High Court Justices, that one point was one with a reasonable bases.

Unfortunately, all grounds espoused by Pape in the letter are, at best, specious. I will deal with them below:

1. Pape claims that the Act offends the law against "tacking" under s55. This essentially prevents the government from tacking laws with respect to other subject matters onto a taxation bill. Pape might have had a reasonable claim, were we to revert to the law in Re Dymond. However, Re Dymond was overturned recently by the HCA in Pape and a broader view was adopted. The Act may deal with matters which are auxiliary or incidental to the assessment, collection, imposition and distribution of the tax. Consequently, as this Act establishes only an administrative regime for imposing the Carbon Tax, it is very unlikely that it will offend s55.

2. The second claim is perhaps the second most futile of all of the alleged bases. It is well accepted that merely because a tax does not raise revenue, does not deprive it from having the capacity of a tax. If there is a compulsory exaction of money from a public authority for a public purpose, which does not amount to an arbitrary exaction, fee for service or penalty, then this will amount to a tax. The fact it is revenue neutral (or at least purports to be - it is doubtful that it is) is in fact wholly irrelevant. The mere fact it is capable of having multiple characterisations (e.g., as a law for the environment) does not deprive it of the character of a "tax" - therefore, this ground is mistaken.

3. In relation to it not being a law with respect to trading corporations - it does not have to be, it is valid under the taxation power. In any event, the corporations power has a very broad reach and will ensure that the law is valid insofar as it applies to corporations. As the tax is a "bottom-up" tax (i.e., imposed on corporations which is passed on to consumers) the tax is only directed towards the corporations. The incidental effect of it being passed on to consumers does not change the fact it is a law with respect to trading corporations.

4. The external affairs power is interpreted very broadly. It is true that the law must be reasonably capable of being regarded as adapted and proportional to the specified international obligation. However, one need not meticulously comply with the standards ascribed in the international obligation. Signatory nations must have the power to adapt the law to their individual circumstances (see Ex parte Pool; the IR Case, Tasmanian Dam Case etc) and, in some cases, may extend beyond the prescriptions of the international obligations (see Ex parte Poole). Furthermore, even if it is not supported on the international obligations dimensions of the power, it will be supported if the matter is of international concern (IR Case) - climate change is clearly a matter of international concern. Therefore, it is likely to be valid on this basis.

5. Last, and certainly the very least, the argument that it offends s114 is virtually laughable. This prevents the Commonwealth from imposing taxation on "State" property. It seems that the State must be claiming ownership of Carbon Emissions for this to occur. As there is no practical exercise of ownership, no attempt to harness Carbon Emissions, and at best it is transient within the State's atmosphere, it is suggested that this is not really the property of the State. At best, the property is abandoned on being released into the atmosphere and leaving the State's jurisdiction. At worst, it is no more than a transient entity passing through the jurisdiction of the State.

Accordingly, it is suggested that Pape's grounds are specious. Commencing vexatious High Court actions would be a waste of public funds, of no utility and only serve to reinforce the Labor Government and the tax. If the Liberals truly intend to remove the Carbon Tax, do it through concerted political action, the same way that it was brought into existence, to establish a democratic mandate on its removal that will resound into the future, similarly to the response to the Work Choices Act.


In the art of war, Al-Qaeda will use any opportunity to getanere a strategy or call it propaganda to turn a situation into an apparent advantage. One could argue the same point using an opposite method of increasing military presence and striking a devastating blow while Al Qaeda figure out where they stand. However, I agree that cultural influences and examining the past can shed light on an effective strategy and that occupation in any country increases hostility towards the foreign nation. Withdrawal is only a part solution, would Al Qaeda resort back to old antics after a withdrawal?

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Wow, that is some serious hryepbole! First, these slight changes in the economics of oil will simply give taxpayers the money they have deserved for a long time.Second, this in no way will eliminate the domestic oil and gas industry , that is simply inaccurate.Third, If renewables get the same economic push now that oil got back in its heyday, then we could be solar powered in no time flat. Even if we simply put the royalty money straight to buying panels to power gov't buildings.


If we pumped that amuont of money into subsidizing renewables we'd be able to give up most of our addiction to dirty fuel (oil, coal, nuclear). AND the payoff would be eventually mega-cheap energy, cleaner air, water and land. If the current oil spill disaster in the gulf of Mexico doesn't spell this out in gigantic neon letters, for us, we'll never get it.


Suter: I wasn't comparing the rensaos taxes go up and the rensaos the price of gasoline goes up. I was only commenting on people's usual reaction when they do go up.Again, my point is that even if we get the size of government under control, costs are still going to rise, and people need to relax when they have to pay a little more for the things they want from their government.Of course we should all demand accountability for how our tax dollars are being spent. However, we also get what we pay for. Trains, airports, municipal buildings, etc., in this country are, by and large, dirty and poorly maintained -- and we seem to be OK with that. If we want to keep paying low taxes (the lowest since WWII), then we'll continue to have crumbling, sub-standard public works.


I happen to agree with your tax sntmeaetts, but the real issue is when you pay taxes and do not get much. I think that trubles everyone.Of course it is an issue of they got something, but i did not many times (or something different),Gas prices or any comodity can not be put in this since 99% of the issue with them is people doing the speculation thing and getting "hollow" money on the rest of us jokers.Interesting word verification - did you choose it? Budget

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Hey Grim,I usually haven't had time laelty to investigate the recent Fairtax arguments so I'm going off of memory. You seem to be fairly knowledgeable about the subject so I was wondering if you could clear up a few questions I have.1. What are the workable examples that a consumption tax produces economic growth? The only countries I know of are some of the Balkan states and Iraq. Both adopted a consuption tax at the same time new markets were already being opened.2. How does the FairTax not devalue Baby Boomer's exsisting retirement savings?3. Who will enforce a consumption tax? It seems likely that a tax-free black market would emerge. We would need some kind of governtment service that tracks internal revenues.

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Eurozone system is a moeatnry union with no member state having currency sovereignty. hey bill,arnt the national ncb's(national central banks) responsible for euro issuance. couldnt they just give the finger to the ecb(european central bank) mandate and mastreicht and keep issuing euro's, and break their deficit rules.its happened allready hasnt it,i mean whats the worst that could happen, they could get kicked out,they should be so lucky As an aside, it is true that US is losing ground in global terms and I agree with Johnson on that score. But the US budget deficit is not the reason for the loss of traction the geo political dog wags the economic tail,ever since the yanks kicked out the british, they have lurched from one foreign policy disaster to another,if you ever want a good laugh, read up on william walker, the 1850 s answer to george bush and don rumsfeldour global economic future hopefully wont be de railed by some miss guided william walker resq figures who have little or no understanding of history.as for their future rivals the chinese, well they have played this game before and lost. last time around it was with the british and now its the yanks.exchanging opium or even worse someone elses currency for the product of ones hard work, is bus ride to hell me thinks for them eventually. lets hope the chinese have outgrown their curse, where just about every dynastic change in the middle kingdom has brought with it a civil warhow long will the current mob last, i wonder. its 60 years last august and counting , the yanks got to 80 plus years since nationahood, before they had their little internal spathistory is cyclical, everything old is new again.


Good point, though I think you're a bit hard on Simon Johnson, who's wreittn a lot of sensible stuff about perverse incentives in the banking crisis. I think you oversimplify a bit, though it doesn't hurt your conclusion. Most of this is from Krugman, BTW.First, way before the US would be unable to sell its bonds, it would have to raise interest rates on those bonds. But those interests rates are very low historically, so we're clearly not pushing the envelope too far yet.Of course you're right, the Fed can always print money to buy up T bills and just keep them. It could literally eliminate the entire Federal deficit in one day. Of course, doing this over and over will eventually lead to inflation, where the US$ can't be used to buy resources from outside of the US, and even in the US, prices would rise significantly. But again, we're nowhere near that place today.Nice explanation about why tax cuts are a worse way to stimulate the economy compared to direct government spending. But tax cuts that trigger hiring may well actually help more, since once someone's been hired, the employer has some incentive to avoid wasting the training and integration costs by laying them off again.Anyway, this is a perfect time for the US to spend more there's high unemployment, very low inflation, and no trouble selling treasury securities (low rates).


BillI am not sure that it is undesirable for a soegvrien currency issue monetary system to issue bonds at the time of issuing more currency.If the US did not issue bonds would this make the dollar less desirable to hold because it could not be converted into a zero risk return thus making it less competitive to other currency and weaker? I understand that bonds are a form of corporate welfare, but when you are trying to sell something (fiat currency in this case) you sometimes have to offer a free toaster (or interest) to keep up with the guy down the street.On the other hand there will always be greater demand for risk free return or bonds if more currency is issued so the idea that the bond vigilantes will rise if the US spends more doesn't make any sense unless they can find someone to pay them for holding their dollars with no chance of default (don't give them Bill's account number)Best of holiday wishes to all.


Bill,While I take comfort in rednaig your analysis and shredding of the neo-liberal economic myths, sadly these myths continue to drive the economic decisions and actions of our government. So while the reduction in my payroll tax will give a little extra spending cash and we know that this will not limit the U.S. government to spend on social security this point of view is ignored or dismissed as rubbish by the media and political class. And so, our deficit terrorist president & his allies in both deficit terrorist political parties will move forward to gut social security based on their false claims of insolvency & the masses will concur due to the manufacturing of consent. So while the reason given will be totally mythical, the myth will be accepted as truth. The result is an attempt to gut social security based on insolvency claims when the truth is the U.S. government can never be insolvent.


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