Responding to reports in The Australian newspaper today that the Treasurer has labelled some of the poorest people in Australia as the nation’s “taxed-nots”, Oxfam chief executive Dr Helen Szoke said:
“It is alarming that the Australian Government plans to demonise the country’s poor as the ‘taxed-nots’, when one in three large companies reported on by the Australian Tax Office in 2014 paid no tax.
“Large multinational companies are the real ‘taxed-nots’ in Australia. Our recent research found tax dodging practices by multinationals deprived the nation’s public coffers of as much as $6 billion in 2014 alone.
“Surely the big companies which are avoiding their fair share of the tax burden are a better target for the Australian Government in any bid to increase revenue.
“Australia is the nation of the fair go, but Government policies that demonise the poor rather than tackling the urgent problem of rising inequality will only serve to erode this cherished national Aussie value.”
Dr Szoke said there is a widening gap between the rich and poor in Australia and this is a problem that must be addressed by the Government, not exacerbated by it.
“The latest data from leading firm Credit Suisse shows that today, the richest 10% of Australians owns more wealth than all other Australians combined, while the richest 1% own more wealth than the poorest 60%,” Dr Szoke said.
“If you take income alone, between 1988 and 2011, the wealthiest 10% of Australians captured 30% of all income growth, while the poorest – the people the Australian Government appears to be taking aim at today – received only a 3% share of income growth over the same time.
“What this tells you is that income growth is not being shared fairly by all – and the idea that there is room in Australia to take more money from the poorest to feed the nation’s coffers is simply false.
“Australia needs its government to create unity, not division, and to urgently ensure that policy settings are geared towards fair, inclusive growth for all.”
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