We’ll see tonight whether the Australian budget is as tough as promoted and expected.

The ABC’s “Q and A” had an interesting budget-eve discussion last night, “Loopholes and Heavy Lifting“, Tony Jones’ panel comprising finance expert Satyajit Das, Liberal member of parliament Sharman Stone, Journalist and Commentator David Marr, Australian Industry Group chief Innes Willox, and Labor member of parliament Alannah MacTiernan.

The words ”land tax” even slipped momentarily out of the lips of the AIG’s Innes Willox, but in the following context, unfortunately: the Goods and Services Tax should be extended to get rid of payroll tax, stamp duty and land tax.  [Sigh!]  I supposed misguided industry boffins can be expected to want a tax it can claim back–so that it only falls on the rest of us–but how exactly do you manage to square two of the most damning taxes with a land tax, Innes, which has been shown to be the most efficient of all revenue bases? Good trick!

Now for the budget which is being sold as repairing Labor’s legacy. But there aint much hope of Australia improving its sluggish productivity sans an overhaul of the tax system along the lines of Ken Henry’s thoroughgoing review of the tax system.  Yep, “The Henry Tax Review” …. remember that?

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