VALE, PHILIP DAY

There was a nice obituary for eminent Australian and former Land Values Research Group colleague, Dr Philip Day in Brisbane’s Courier-Mail last week.

Phil was a town planner who, having “seen the cat”, worked unassumingly but tenaciously for the principle of drawing revenues from the use of land instead of from the taxation of labour and capital.

Amongst other places, including academic journals, Phil committed his thoughts in this respect to two books, “LAND: The elusive quest for social justice, taxation reform and a sustainable planetary environment” (Australian Academic Press, Brisbane, 1995) and “Hijacked Inheritance: the Triumph of Dollar Darwinism” (CopyRight Publishing, Brisbane, 2005).

Phil was also a member of The Lord Mayor’s Committee of Inquiry into Valuation and Rating for the City of Brisbane in 1989. The committee was chaired by Sir Gordon Chalk KBE, and it fell to Phil to write the report enunciating its findings. The abovementioned Courier-Mail obituary has it quite correct: “To this day it stands as a landmark exposition of city financing.”

Phil also wrote an excellent paper for the Land Value Research Group (co-signed by The Hon. Rae Else-Mitchell, JD Tucker and me) on the occasion of the ACCI/ACOSS National Tax Reform Summit held at The National Press Club in Canberra on 4-5 October 1996. Phil and I attended the conference, caused a stir about land tax, but didn’t quite win the day.

In his spare time that particular weekend, Phil was kind enough to conduct me on a tour across Canberra’s gracious lawns to show off her more majestic public buildings, regaling me in his rich deep baritone of the history and details of each – his intimate knowledge gained from involvement in the 1950s as a public servant in Canberra and a member of the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council.

Phil Day is another late-great member of the Land Values Research Group who has done us proud.  These include Sir Alfred Kemsley, Sir Ronald East, Allan Hutchinson, Rae Else-Mitchell, Sir Allen Fairhall and Clyde Cameron.  May Australia come to secure the aspiration these people had in common.