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Thanks Norah R

A propos de the question in my last post, Norah Rothwell, a frequent correspondent from Oz, has sent me an explanation. The best (and easiest) thing for me to do is to quote her in full, so here goes.

As I understand it the levy will not apply to anyone who received an initial disaster relief payout from the government of $1000 per adult and/or $400 per child. This wasn’t means tested and was rorted by many in my opinion. Over 250,000 Queenslanders have collected the payment. This could be for a house totally flooded (deserving) or for being cut off from or unable to leave their homes for 24 hours (not so deserving). The same payment for both. Anyway back to your query. The government will be able to access information on people who have received these payments via their tax file numbers and government agencies. I wonder if the cost of administering this levy will not outweigh the income derived. As well there is a lot of anxiety here in Queensland as to how the donations to the relief fund will be distributed. A means test is being considered and many who dug deep to donate are not happy with this. But the fund is only half of what was collected at the time of the horrific fires in Victoria and the numbers affected more than double so it is a problem. I have no objection to a one off levy but who is to stay it may not become a permanent one. I don’t have a lot of faith in the words of a politician.’

Thanks, Norah. I’m as cautious about you are. Democratic politicians the world over are always in the same position; that is, facing an election, some sooner, some later. They know they can’t please all of the people all of the time, and they know that some of those people will vote for them or against them regardless, because they always have, so the trick is to persuade enough of the people in the middle, for enough of the time. To that end they will do what they perceive to be the most popular thing. That usually involves giving people money, not taking it from them. They may not quite believe in their own policies, but they do believe in themselves and that their own election is in their nation’s best interests, so they’re quite happy to fudge around the edges. The only thing I know about Julia Gillard is that she didn’t hesitate to put a knife in the back of her predecessor, in whose government she served. We’ve had recent experience of that in Britain, so on that basis alone, I wouldn’t be trusting her for a minute.

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