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australian capatalism


            On the 13th August 1998, the Prime Minister, The Hon John Howard MP held a press conference at Parliament House to launch the Federal Government's tax plan for Australia's future. The plan incorporates significant historic changes to the Australian taxation system, which are to be guided by five key principles. The key principle of the Federal Government's tax reform proposal that is creating speculation and debate is the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax, commonly known as GST. This consumption tax has come under intense public and political scrutiny and questions have been raised as to the economic fairness of this proposal. According to Macionis and Plummer (1997, p.420) "capitalist economies produce a higher overall standard of living but also generate greater income disparity." The inequity of Australia's current economy is evident from the media release issued by the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) 4pm Wednesday 17 March 1999 in response to the taxation statistics that were released the same day. Michael Raper, President of ACOSS stated that the taxation statistics revealed the gross inequalities in the distribution of wealth in Australian society today with "The top 10% of Australians owning 52% of the nation's wealth, while the bottom half owns a paltry 3%." On balance, does a capitalist economy promote a fair distribution of wealth and social power? I say not. Political support is gained by appealing to members of society with promises to act in their interests, more often directing this appeal to those individuals with wealth, social power and influence. The multi-million dollar advertising campaigns supporting the Federal Government's tax reform package and in particular the proposal of the Goods and Services Tax is funded by big businesses. The same big businesses that will benefit from the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax and that will benefit from the 30% cap on the Capital Gains Tax, an option being considered that can only strengthen the big businesses social power and capitalist ventures within Australian society.


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