John Howard: Robbing the poor to give to the rich. No GST!

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John the bag snatcher. Remember the 1980s image of Maggie Thatcher stealing from a working woman’s Bag? John Howard’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) is about to turn our bags inside out. A 10% consumption tax will be levied on just about everything, and the lower our income, the more we get slugged. Women will feed it most. We’re concentrated on the welfare queues and in the lowest paid jobs. We’re also the primary consumers of essential services and daily necessities.

Gee, thanks! Howard promises compensation for the cost of the GST, but it’s a con. A single-income family with 3 children gets a $770 annual “tax cut.” This household will spend $7,500 on food alone, attracting a GST of $750. Nett gain, before any other expenses – 38 cents per week! Pensioners are to a 4% increase, but the cost of the GST may be as high as 6%, when automatic rent and utility charge increases are factored in.

More corporate welfare. Business is largely GST-exempt, and 52% of the income tax cuts will go to the top 21% of income earners. Kerry Packer earns $300 million per year, and pays negligible tax! The giant News Corporation pays 6%. If the richest individuals and companies paid only what the law says they should, then the poor could enjoy real cuts in personal taxation and a massive restoration of public services. Instead, the new tax regime transfers $10 billion in taxes from workers and pensioners to the wealthy.

The good news is . . . we can stop it! The majority of voters already said in October that they don’t want the GST. We need to back this up by organising against it, the way British workers did against Thatcher’s poll tax. And they won! For Howard’s tax package to work, he and his tycoon mates need cooperation of workers in certain key industrial areas. As the bulk of the workforce that produces goods and services – and administers the critical financial areas – women have enormous industrial clout. We can make it unworkable.

  • No GST or other consumption taxes! Remove all regressive taxes and implement a steeply progressive income tax, beginning at average weekly earnings.
  • Stop the rorts! End tax concession to big business. Make companies pay their taxes.
  • Fund schools, hospitals, public transport, public housing, childcare, social security, community services and environmental projects by withdrawing all corporate welfare.
  • Make education free by taxing industry, which benefits from the education system.
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