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Turnbull's gold medal in bullshit

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Louisa L.

It's an Olympic year. If there was a  medal for frequency of changed tax proposals, Malcolm Turnbull would win gold.

Every major corporate organisation from the Business Council of Australia down had been calling for the GST rate to be increased, expanded to include all currently exempt items, or both.

But Turnbull is no fool. He knew those policies spelled immediate electoral doom. He also knew that there were policies far closer to corporate hearts, like crushing the most militant workers' fighting organisation, the CFMEU, so he dropped their favoured tax policy - for now.

So Mr Turnbull dodged and weaved with taxation possibilities until the day before COAG (Council of Australian Governments).

From then on it was all show. He knew the states would never agree to levy taxation for school and hospital funding. Even in the short term, some states would have struggled to serve their people's needs.

Never mind that it's 74 years since these vestiges of colonial rule, the divided and conquered states and territories, were able to levy income taxes. With global corporations running the show, it's unsurprising that their current man Turnbull, would prefer a weakened Australia allowing corporations to deal with so-called autonomous states and territories individually.

Four billion in debt loaded onto Australian kids
It's also been a long-held and oft expressed desire of Coalition education ministers to dump funding of public schools onto the states, while maintaining federal control over private school funding.

Breaking the nexus between public and private school funding would have meant the law needed to change in only one jurisdiction to allow for-profit schools into the country. Currently for-profit schools are illegal, and NSW even strengthened its law in November 2014.

Angelo Gavrielatos, Project Director with Education International, recently warned that Gems, the world's largest for-profit school operator had been meeting stakeholders in Australia.

Mr Gavrielatos said that countries' legislative frameworks decided the entry points of global edu-businesses, and that Australia's strong legislative framework meant they would use assessment at their entry point. This is still the case, but full entry of for-profit schools remains, like the GST, on the corporate wish list.

They've already taken over the VET sector, where the word 'education' has been replaced by 'training'. This is symbolises the gutting of a rich curriculum and its replacement by a narrow range of skills testing.

By May 2015 governments had funded private companies to load Australian kids up with $4 billion of debts. Many companies have taken the money and run, leaving young students with no qualifications for lifetime debts.

The Grattan Institute, a corporate think tank, suggests forcing kids to start repaying these debts when they earn just $40,000 a year.

Listening to his mates
Since COAG, Prime Minister Turnbull and Treasurer Morrison have been crowing and chest-beating like big time winners.

“The states have lost their chance... They were too gutless to do what they ask us heroes to do”...and on and nauseatingly on they go.

The plan was to use COAG as a smokescreen to cut health and education funding. Corporations begrudge every cent spent on public health and education. If they can't make the people pay through a GST or some other method, they're happy to cut funding instead.

The big four accounting firms, Ernst & Young, PwC, Deloite and KPMG, assist multinationals to minimise tax, while simultaneously advising the government on tax policy.

Three of them, along with mega tax-dodger Google, also help fund the Grattan Institute, which churns out 'research'. Unsurprisingly, Grattan's education report was used to justify dumping Gonski.

Their narrow study doesn't compare to the 7000 submissions that David Gonski's team received. Many submissions came from researchers with far stronger educational backgrounds than Grattan's. David Gonski's team also spent 18 months seeing first hand the true state of Australian schools.

Prime Minister Turnbull dumped the fair Gonski school funding model that supports every child, but gives most to those with the greatest needs.

“We're not wedded to... the 'full Gonski', whatever that means,” he said. But he's gone so far even Grattan's people are attacking his decision.

Turnbull would rather cut our kids' futures than tax his corporate mates.

Tax should be paid where profits are made
Oh, and somewhere along the line Turnbull dumped personal income tax cuts. But he'll manage to significantly cut the current 30% corporate tax rate. We all know the biggest corporations don't pay anywhere near that much. If they did, they could fund schools and hospitals from their spare change.

Corporate tax-dodgers say, 'Tax the poor.'
The Tax Justice Network, an international organisation operating in Australia, says, 'Tax should be paid where profits are made.' Its spot on!

So what's next in the Olympic policy-go-round? Keep watching this space.


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