Blogotariat

Oz Blog News Commentary

So Prime Minister Turnbull has been bitiching again about the ABC's reporting

February 22, 2018 - 00:15 -- Admin

On 14 February 2018 ABC News’ economic journalist Emma Alberici wrote:It's also disingenuous to talk about a 30 per cent rate when so few companies pay anything like that thanks to tax legislation that allows them to avoid paying corporate tax. Exclusive analysis released by ABC today reveals one in five of Australia's top companies has paid zero tax for the past three years.On that same day the House of Representatives Hansard recorded these mentions:Mr THISTLETHWAITE (Kingsford Smith) (10:12): ………All of these hardworking Australians would be thrilled to know—very pleased to know—that the ABC has uncovered that about one in five Australian companies pay no company tax whatsoever in this country. Yes, that's right: 380 of Australia's largest companies pay absolutely no income tax at all—a big doughnut; a big fat zero. They include airlines, banks, financial service companies, mining, energy, clothing, steel, and telecommunications companies. There's even a condom manufacturer. That's rather appropriate, given what they've just done to the Australian taxpayer in paying no tax at all during the course of the last couple of years…..Mr THISTLETHWAITE (Kingsford Smith) (13:49): As mums and dads pack up the kids, send them off to school and head off to work; as pensioners struggle to put the air-conditioner on because of rising electricity costs; and as students face increases in their fees because of cuts to TAFE and cuts to funding for education—these hard-working Australians, as they head off to jobs and study today, would be pleased to know that the ABC has uncovered that one in five Australian companies pay absolutely no company tax in this country. That's right, 380 of Australia's largest companies paid absolutely zero company tax over the course of the last three years. They include airlines, energy companies, mining companies, clothing companies, banks, insurance companies and a manufacturer of condoms—which is highly appropriate, given the rogering that they've just given Australian hardworking taxpayers by paying no tax. Now, given that these companies pay no corporate tax, what is the response of the Turnbull government? The response of the Turnbull government is to give them a tax cut. These companies are struggling so much that we're going to give them a tax cut! Yes, that's right: 380 of the largest companies that pay no tax will get a tax cut, despite the fact that they're increasing taxes for Australian workers by putting up the Medicare levy. We won't cop it. Labor will oppose these tax cuts and we'll stand up for average, hard-working, battling Australians……Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth—Prime Minister) (14:03): I thank the honourable member for her question. The government is supporting and delivering lower business taxes because we know they will result in more investment and more jobs. Company tax is ultimately a tax on workers. When nearly nine in 10 Australians work for private business, surely it is obvious that it's in the national interest to support the companies that employ the overwhelming majority of Australians. But, instead of supporting policies that will create jobs and grow wages, the opposition is busy peddling the myth that business does not care about the level of tax and doesn't in fact pay tax. I'm not sure where the $68 billion of company tax receipts came from, but, according to the Labor Party, companies don't pay tax. The Labor Party wants to increase taxes; the government wants to reduce them. But we do not believe that paying tax is optional. Every Australian and every business that makes a profit in Australia must pay their fair share of tax. You'd think that was common sense, but not for the opposition. Like everything the opposition leader does, he calls for action one minute and then opposes it the next. He called for action against multinational tax avoidance and then he voted against some of the toughest anti-avoidance laws in the world. If this isn't clear enough for the members opposite, we'd be happy to arrange a briefing with officials from the Australian Taxation Office. We have introduced and, no thanks to the Labor Party, passed through the parliament some of the toughest multinational tax avoidance laws in the world. At that briefing from the ATO, I am sure that those distinguished officials will be able to provide a tutorial on the difference between revenue and profit because members opposite either don't understand the difference or they're now calling for businesses to be taxed on revenue—not profit— even if the business makes a loss. We saw that they were busily retweeting the article—one of the most confused and poorly researched articles I've seen on this topic on the ABC's website. Of course, the ABC is an enterprise that understands profit and loss. Opposition members interjecting— Mr TURNBULL: It does! It understands taxes; they're recipients of them. They receive them—taxpayers' funds. They understand the difference: the hard work of investing and struggling and losing money one year and then being able to offset it against profit the next—or not. No, the ABC has the same understanding of the commercial world as does the opposition. (Time expired)The Australian Financial Review scenting blood after the prime minister’s criticism went to print with this disingenuous take on 15 February 2018:Both premises fatally expose their author's innumeracy. The first is demonstrably false. Freely available data produced by the Australian Taxation Office show that 32 of Australia's 50 largest companies paid $19.33 billion in company tax in FY16 (FY17 figures are not yet available). The other 18 paid nothing. Why? They lost money, or were carrying over previous losses.I’m sure North Coast Voices readers will quickly notice that Alberici was citing statistics for a baseline of around 1,900 companies and the ‘Fin Review’ columnist was citing a baseline of 50 companies - so of course the number of companies paying no tax to the number of companies paying tax is going to differ between the two baselines.Reading the full text there does not appear to be any factuall inaccuracies in the Alberici article being complained about.Meanwhile ABC News withdrew the online version of the economic analysis and updated Alberici’s companion article in order to provide further information and context.The companion article still contains those same statistics:Analysis by the ABC reveals Qantas is not alone — about 380, or one in five, of Australia's largest companies have paid no tax for at least the past three years.However, these opening lines written by Alberici in the article “There's no case for a corporate tax cut when one in five of Australia's top companies don't pay it” on 14 February are now missing in action as this analysis gently sinks to the bottom of the Internet:There is no compelling evidence that giving the country's biggest companies a tax cut sees that money passed on to workers in the form of higher wages.Treasury modelling relies on theories that belie the reality that's playing out around the world.Since the peak of the commodities boom in 2011-12, profit margins have risen to levels not seen since the early 2000s but wages growth has been slower than at any time since the 1960s.The Guardian reported on 16 February that:Guardian Australia understands ABC News management has been in crisis meetings for two days after the prime minister attacked the articles in question time and then wrote formal letters of complaint to management.I suspect that what Turnbull took umbrage to in the first place was the fact that one article took a stronger position on why corporate tax cuts were not good for the economy or wages growth and, therefore were unlikely to benefit workers and their families and, the other article which is still online did not address this aspect of government taxation policy.So he set out to shoot the message down and be damned to the fate of the messenger.Of course in attempting this Turnbull created a Steisand Effect With A Twist - ensuring that the full text of “There's no case for a corporate tax cut when one in five of Australia's top companies don't pay it” has been copied onto websites he can't bully and the article's analysis is still being discussed by voters.BACKGROUNDDo your job or quit ABC, Turnbull tells board members - The Australianhttps://www.theaustralian.com.au/...abc-turnbull.../story-fna045gd-12268... 26, 2018 - COMMUNICATIONS Minister Malcolm Turnbull says ABC board members who do not want to get involved in ensuring news content on the public broadcaster is accurate and impartial should get off the board. Revealing he receives hundreds of complaints about the ABC each week, MrTurnbull said “the ..Q&A: Malcolm Turnbull phones ABC boss Mark Scott to complain about crude Tony Abbott tweet26 August 2015Malcolm Turnbull slams ABC boss Mark Scott over Indonesian spy ...https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/...turnbull...abc.../ff6ad001ced93bb9c...... Dec 2, 2013 - THE minister in charge of the ABC, Malcolm Turnbull, rang the broadcasters boss Mark Scott last week to tell him he had made an “error of judgment” in teaming with the Guardian to run revelations that the Indonesian presidents phone was bugged.Watch: Turnbull implies he complained to ABC about "failed" NBN ...https://delimiter.com.au/.../watch-turnbull-implies-complained-abc-faile... 4, 2016 - Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull appears to have implied that he made the samecomplaint to ABC management that he has previously made in public before the 2013 Federal Election, stating that the broadcaster had "failed" to provide balanced coverage of the competing National Broadband Network ...Australian Tax Office, 2015-16 Report of Entity Tax InformationURL: https://data.gov.au/dataset/c2524c87-cea4-4636-acac-599a82048a26/resource/b84c2b8d-c595-4219-987d-fc1add7f00f0/download/2015-16-corporate-report-of-entity-tax-information.xlsxThis report contains the total income, taxable income and tax payable of over 2000 corporate tax entities for the 2015-16 year. This report also includes separate lists of entities whose information was not available by the cut-off date to produce the Report of Entity Tax Information for 2013-14 and 2014-15.