AUSTRALIA ALL OVER – IN EVERY RESPECT

Hearing Gary Shearston sing “She’s a Classic” on Ian McNamara’s Australia All Over this morning reminded me of the Australian folk music revival at the outset of the 1960s in which Shearston loomed large.

Mates of mine formed a group particularly influenced by the Ivy League-shirted Kingston Trio at the time. They were raw but very good.

“Macca” himself was in good form this morning, regretting that strong public dissent at China and others buying up large slabs of Australia isn’t matched by any real concern from the Fairfax or Murdoch press – or the major political parties.

He interviewed Clare McShane from Oatlands, a small country town between Launceston and Hobart in Tasmania who is struggling to continue manufacturing quality woolen textiles within Australia’s rapidly diminishing industrial sector.

Macca also had Lyn from Ausbuy on the program—“Are you concerned about the sale of our land to foreign countries and companies …?” She encouraged people to buy products made in Australia and enjoined Claire from Oatlands to join Ausbuy.

I could identify with all these plaints, because I’ve been concerned about Australia going down the toilet for a long time myself.

I’m not just concerned with foreigners buying up Australia, however.  I’m bothered by all of us buying Australia up.

It’s unnecessary.

We should rent it, because we’re paying too dearly for it.  Buying our land instead of renting it means we pay high land prices and high taxation.  This makes us uncompetitive, so our industry, like that of the US, is shipped offshore to where land prices and taxes—and, yes Gina, $2 a day wages—are cheaper.

I don’t think any of the contributors to Macca’s program have cottoned onto the fact that it’s our taxation and landholding regimes that are doing us all in.

Manfully, Ken Henry’s inquiry into Australia’s Future Tax System suggested as much – but nobody listened. It’s too hard to convince people of  the fact that a properly applied land tax is an alternative to high land prices and high taxes.

None of us like paying a land tax because we all like to see our property prices (and debt levels) go up, and don’t connect this with our manufacturing being shifted offshore.

Macca knows this is what’s wrong, because I sent him two copies of Real Estate 4 Ransom.  But it’s difficult to tell people who believe land tax is bad that it’s not, because a rampant real estate industry has done a job on us all.

For example, Enzo Raimondo of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria keeps repeating that a land tax would not make land prices more affordable for future generations.

Yes, Enzo, and black is white.

Although I see you’ve been able to influence the government and CBA-funded Grattan Institute.  It now also wants the Goods and Services Tax to be increased.  [Sigh!]