You know the scattergun, throw as much mud as possible in the last week when the Greens can’t effectively counter it and some will almost certainly stick tactic I’ve been confident was coming? Well, here we go.
This is the most negative spin Christian Kerr, in the Murdoch press, could come up with on a carefully selected subset of the Greens’ policies (followed by my retort):
- The Greens want “free gender reassignment surgery for those born with an “intersex condition”” – by which he means they argue that the professionally-advised treatment for a medically-recognised psychological condition should be covered by Medicare. But it sounds so much more “outlandish” when you put it his way.
- The Greens want “support for trials of state-supplied heroin on prescription” – you mean methadone clinics? You mean treating heroin addiction as the medical problem that everyone who works in the field agrees that it is, rather than turning into a criminal problem that affects all of us in the wider community, as the present approach does?
- The Greens “want to increase the company tax rate to 33 per cent.” Why’s that so “non-mainstream”? We ordinary taxpayers pay considerably more than that, and we don’t get the special privileges of corporations.
- “They want a new personal income tax bracket of 50 per cent.” For those earning more than a million a year, and only on that income above one million a year. But of course, leaving out that critical detail makes it sound much more scary, which is the aim.
- “They also want to bring back death duties through what they call an estate tax.” I am calling them “death duties” because that sounds much scarier than the simple proposition that estates being handed to someone who hasn’t earned them should be, like any other income, taxed in order to fund services.
- “The party wants a so-called Tobin tax on foreign currency transactions – a levy of a 100th of 1 per cent – even though such a step will increase the cost of finance and flow on to mortgage interest rates, small business loans and industry borrowings.” Yup, by a huge amount. To pay a single dollar in tax you’d have to be transferring $10,000. A dollar on $10,000! Why, that’d almost be a noticeable fraction of the charges the finance companies impose!
- “The Greens also want to see family trusts taxed as companies” – why shouldn’t they be?
- “road congestion taxes” – that’s the stick, but the carrot is better public transport.
- “the reduction or elimination of personal and business tax concessions, such as the fringe benefits tax treatment of company cars.” – but these are some of the benefits that separate us from poor people who don’t have expensive accountants!
- “They also want the tariff on imported four-wheel-drive vehicles increased to 10 per cent for non-primary producers.” – instead of the situation for years under Howard where road-hogging, inefficient 4WDs actually get preferable treatment.
- “The Greens have made much of their support for the original resource super-profits tax throughout the election campaign, despite its impact on the strength of the dollar, the stockmarket and the retirement savings of millions of Australians whose superannuation funds have holdings in the mining industry.” Despite the utter bullshit peddled by the mining industry and its supporters in the media and Liberal Party, you mean.
And that’s all they’ve got, for today at least. And whilst it would appeal, no doubt, to hardline rightwingers who wouldn’t vote for the Greens in a pink fit, I doubt it would deter any Greens voters at all.
I wonder what the rest of the week will bring?
PS Something else to add to the contradictory lines: the Greens are all taxes and punishing the wealthy just out of spite/the Greens are outrageous spendthrifts who have no means of paying for the public services they advocate. If we portray them as either all spending or all taxes, then we can make them look alternately irresponsible or penny-pinching, even though when put together those attacks make no sense.