John Howard must be getting a little irritated by Sophie Panopolous. The co-convenor of the backbench tax and welfare reform group doesn’t seem to spend too much time developing ideas, as the economic rationalist ginger group of the Fraser years did, but rather constantly sings the same note… that people in the top tax bracket pay too much tax (with occasional sorties into industrial relations)… This time the spin is that talented people might all disappear overseas. Darned unpatriotic of these latte-sipping, chardonnay-swilling cosmopolitans. Dare I suggest that Ms Panopolous is just enjoying the publicity?
With the Auditor-General finding that “the Federal Government collected $203.5 billion in taxes in the 2003-04 financial year after rejecting an argument that the GST was a state tax”, and the tax take at over 25% of GDP since 2000-2001 (compared to 20.3% under Whitlam), John Howard seems rather to be following the advice attributed to Emmanuel Shinwell, a Minister in the postwar UK Labour government.