Australia

Should Childless People pay more tax

This is a story that has been circulating lately and thinking about the story it does make sense at face value. The argument is that if people don’t have children as a community they should help support those that do in order to secure the next generation. Now if you read the story you may be inclined to say to yourself ‘yep that makes sense’. 

However it does rely on you having a very narrow view on society without looking at the possible outcomes. One thing we know is that when Australia enticed people to have children with a baby bonus (marketing as a helping start) there were people out there who chose to have babies to get their hands on the money. Well this scheme utilises a similar amount of money but through tax savings. The only difference is it encourages people who are working and can benefit from the savings. 

Now Australia has also promoted a maternity leave program that would mean tax payers would pay you six months pay up to I think $75K if that’s what you were earning before taking leave. 

Now for me there are several things wrong with all these scheme’s. That is that is discriminatory against people who decide to not have children or those who cannot have children. It also encourages people to have children, which includes those who really shouldn’t be having them. If this idea is to help populate then import productive labour. I don’t have a problem with immigration and if Australians don’t want to have children then don’t try and bribe them, leave people alone and increase skilled labour migration. 

The other thing wrong with this is that Tony Abbott want’s Australian’s to breed but at the same time he want’s them back in the workforce as quickly as possible after giving birth. So all of his plan’s on paid parental leave just seem ludicrous. There are already family tax benefits available to families which are paid for by all tax payers. Paid parental leave schemes are paid for by all tax payers. I would say that those who don’t have children already pay enough. I see it simply, having children is a choice so then it should be paid for by those choosing to have children. I would much rather see everyone treated equally and no extra benefits to families. However fairly take that money that is already being given to families and spend it in the community or in health and education which can benefit all. 

I may decide to have children or I may not, but if I do I understand the commitment and cost that is associated with that. Most women I know think that the planned parental leave scheme of Tony Abbott’s is crazy but as human’s they will take the money. Of course this will happen. But I would much rather see this money be spent on the NDIS (for those outside of Australia, that is the new National Disability Insurance Scheme, to ensure those with a disability are cared for.). 

Now to be fair, the ‘childless people should pay more tax’ scheme isn’t probable and originated in a speech in the U.S. But I get I needed to have my say. 

When it comes specifically to children if the Australian government wants to improve the number of children in Australia, then look at alternatives. the rate of adoption has continuously declined because of the introduction of Foster Care and the decline of available children. Last financial year there were only 339 adoptions of which 38% were from overseas which means only 210 were local. So one, make it easier Australia wide for the transition of Foster Care kids to move into adoption and make it much easier for Australian’s to adopt from overseas. After all, globally there is no lack of children who are in need of adoption so if the Feds are serious then make it happen. I have to problem with my tax dollars being used to assist people who genuinely want to have children secure a overseas child. Having a child is a privilege not a right so if someone is genuine then help them. 

Same Sex Marriage

This country is kind of embarrassing, but I think historically people will look back and think what a bunch of idiots our politicians were. What am I talking about, well simply Marriage Equality. 

As those in Australia know, the A.C.T voted at a state level to introduce Same Sex Marriage. Obviously the Feds didn’t like it and so decided to take the State to court. Now the hearing has been held however they have reserved their decision until Dec12. This means that as of this morning there is a five day window where Same Sex Marriage can occur in that State. So at 12:01am the first Same Sex Marriage took place. Now there is a chance the A.C.T will not win the court battle but if nothing else it will send a clear message that this is going to happen. 

My belief is that no matter which way the case goes, it will make our PM look like a fool. Obviously if the Feds don’t win, they will be frantically needing to bring the Federal law into line, after all you can’t have one state doing one thing and the others doing another. But it will certainly make him look like a fool. 

On the other side if he wins he will look like a homophobe and bigot and will have to tread carefully. He can’t gloat although I wouldn’t be surprised, otherwise it will make him look bad. I’d like to remind my readers at this point that actually the majority of the country is in favour of same sex marriage. So it’s not even the country holding out but rather the politicians, probably because they are scared of the Christian Lobby’s. 

The only way he can come out of this relatively unscathed should the hearing result be in his favour, is if he uses it as a platform to say that he believes that it is a Federal law and move on a conscience vote for all members of parliament. If he does this he will look proactive and it could work for him. Unfortunately to this point he has refused his own party the option of a conscience vote but rather forced them to tow the party line. 

Either way it is interesting and I look forward to seeing how it all plays out. In the meantime it is beautiful to see same sex marriages starting to take place and even if it's only for a short time it shows how beautiful life can be. 

Australian Tipping Culture

There has been a lot of discussion in the Australian media over the last few days or so in regard to whether Australia should adopt an American style ‘tipping’ culture. In America there it is expected that you will tip at least 15% at least in hospitality. To adopt this practice in Australia would be a backward step as far as I am concerned. 

Firstly, in America well paid hospitality staff can receive about $300pw if you look at about a 38 hr week as a salary however it’s more likely to be around $120. In Australia the minimum wage in hospitality is more than $600 for an adult. I have seen plenty of comments from people in hospitality in Australia saying they need more and should be tipped. I would expect comments like that. However I have also seen many Australian hospitality workers commenting that they don’t want tipping and feel that they are paid adequately. 

My issue is with the concept of tipping. Really if you look at it tipping in America is treated like a tax. You go out to dinner, look at the menu and automatically add at least 15% to work out the price just so you don’t get caught. It’s listed as a tip but you don’t really get a choice. However because of the low pays you are certainly likely to get better service because the staff are looking for more. I have no problem in this scenario paying the extra. The other factor that you need to take into account is that food in the U.S is far cheaper. Ok, we know that American’s pay a lot less for food but the restaurant owner also can afford to decrease process because they are not burdened with the higher wage bill. 

However in Australia food is expensive and I like the fact that our hospitality staff are paid a fair minimum wage. There needs to be a standard. I would hate to see workers in this country have their base wages cut as this is their security. In saying this the standard of service in this country is appalling probably because they are paid a set wage, so they don’t have to put in the effort. 

The wise hospitality workers out there know that Australian’s will voluntarily tip if they can afford it and get great service. Personally I always carry extra cash when eating out just in case I get great service and although its rare to get good service it does happen. I will give a tip for great service even if the food wasn’t great because the service is important. Unfortunately the quality of food is also lacking across the board in this country. There is some great food to be had however it’s hit and miss a lot of the time. I will get back to the odd food review but really that’s a different issue. 

As far as I’m concerned I would hate to see compulsory tipping in this country because it’s only a substitute for paying acceptable wages. I like having the choice to tip and will continue to do so. To all the hospitality workers in Australia, if you give great service you will get tips but don’t expect them. We are not in the US and really you will be worse off if you were. Appreciate when you receive tips and know that if you receive a tip it’s because the patron appreciates and is impressed with your service levels. 

Just a Snapshot

According to Australian Marriage Equality this countries politicians are far behind in their support of marriage equality. According to their website in the House of Representatives there are 96 opposed and 51 in support of marriage equality. The target for support is 76.  

In the senate 43 oppose and 31 support. Target is 39. Now really this is an improvement and gets better all the time. It's just sad that this countries politicians are this narrow minded. The one thing to hold onto is that it will happen eventually, it's only a matter of time.   

the Australian Christian Lobby is trying to get a Bill through that will override the ACT marriage laws should they pass. Then this will end up in the high court and as the Liberals have said could lead to annulment of the marriages. It's amazing that people work so hard to make others lives more difficult. I have to wonder sometimes whether that shows a void in their own lives that they have to put so much effort into others lives. It's also good to know that this issue is seen elsewhere in the world with Cyndi Lauper adding her ongoing support to the cause:

 

Cyndi Lauper has sent a message to Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott to consider the rights of people like his sister when it comes to marriage equality.

Lauper’s tweeted; “Hey on behalf of the LGBT community here in Australia I hope Marriage equality happens now. Tony Abbott think of your sister’s civil rights”.

Lauper has been an outspoken activist for the LGBT movement and has performed for numerous LGBT charities and events throughout the world.

She started campaigning for equal rights in support of her lesbian sister Ellen.

The song True Colors has become an anthem of acceptance and inspiration in the gay community.

Lauper left Australia yesterday after performing her final concert in Wollongong.

 

 

 

The Village is Falling - Mandate

Ok, I'm really starting to get annoyed. Since the Coalition won the election last weekend Tony Abbott has said that it gives them a mandate. And arrogantly Malcolm Turnbull recently responded to a petition of 200,000 people urging the government to rethink it's NBN plan in the direction of the fibre to home model by saying "wasn't there an election recently at which nbn policy was a key issue?". What an arrogant ass. In addition cracks are already starting to form in our relationship with Indonesia. 

It concerns me that a government gets into power and consider that if people didn't want everything they said, they wouldn't have voted for them. This is an arrogant response and any government that gets into power needs to go back and gauge the people's feelings on each of the issues. Maybe the majority of people do believe that the Carbon Tax should go and maybe the majority of people don't want a future proof NBN but I know that the NBN wasn't the biggest issue on the table. Unfortunately for the Coalition they were more than likely voted in not because the Australian people loved them but rather they had lost faith in the Labor party. A wise Coalition would take that information and start to dissect the policies they have and start to look at what the people think. If they listened to people on individual issues rather than taking everything as a mandate they may have a chance at gaining the respect of the nation. 

After all we know that the majority of Australian's actually wanted the NBN. We know the majority of Australian's want Gay Marriage. We know the majority of Australian's don't really believe in the paid parental leave scheme however are happy to take the money lol. It was a blatant vote buying initiative. 

Comments like those of Abbott and Turnbull are just proof that they have learned nothing. There is too much ego and it's obvious by these actions that these so called leaders really don't care about anything other than themselves. If they really cared about this country they would realise that the people matter and it's not always about the next photo opportunity or press conference. No voter agrees with everything you say and it wasn't your policies that won you the election it was just that people were pissed off at the other player in the game. Wake up and realise you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to change what people think about politics and make a difference.