“ELDER STATESMAN” RUNNING SEMINARS IN RETIREMENT HOME!
Godfrey Dunkley, who has been seriously ill for some weeks, began running seminars on political economy in his retirement home. The first drew 16, and the second 8, listeners. Members hope that the numbers rebound next time, and that Godfrey’s health does not deteriorate.
He is a former president of the International Union www.theiu.org , the worldwide conference of followers of Henry George’s discoveries of making a fairer society through redirecting the capital gains in land to the general public, instead of allowing those unearned profits to enrich “the few”.
Readers may remember that a few months ago Mr and Mrs Dunkley hosted a few Georgist Education Association members to play a bilingual game of Monopoly, modified to show some of the features of the original Landlords’ Game that preceded Monopoly.
POLITICAL BLOG – COUNCIL AMALGAMATIONS, and DETAINED CHILDREN
In Western Australia the Barnett Coalition government has at last accepted defeat on the Local Government Amalgamations that it wanted for Perth after the people have spoken decisively against the move. The Councils are expected to bear the campaign costs running into millions of dollars for the ill-fated outcome. The Georgist Education Association had made submissions largely opposing the amalgamations for the brevity of prior community consultations. Much more effort needed to be given to a conversation with the public than was allowed.
On 12th February 2015 a Channel Seven news item featured a big concern of the Association, the number of vacant blocks in the Metropolitan Area. There are over 12,000 applications awaiting Public rental housing in WA and a substantial number of people including families are classed as homeless. In addition a large number of privately-owned vacant blocks, being used as bank accounts by speculators, are contributing to the problem. The Department of Housing said that many of their blocks located in regional areas are unsuitable for development. The problem of vacant blocks in Perth with its housing shortage has been vigorously asserted by this association, and has been included in more than two public lectures/seminars in the past year.
In Federal Parliament we have had the Prime Minister Tony Abbott damning the Human Rights Report on Children in Detention. He says the report is blatantly politically partisan. When it is the duty of the Commission to report clear evidence of sexual and common assaults and severe deprivations to detained children it is inappropriate for a personal attack to be made on the Commissioner.
We also saw Tony Abbott make a further gaffe, for which he has apologised, only days after surviving a vote by the Liberal government members on his fitness for the Office of Prime Minister. This was after asserting that he has learned the past lessons and can change - it gives concern that the leopard can ever change its spots. Meanwhile Australians await positive evidence of Good Government, of caring for the nation’s true interests and social justice, a matter of continuing concern in the Association. - Stuart Dunstan, Secretary
THE INTERNATIONAL UNION and THE PROGRESS REPORT
For overseas insights into social justice and taxation reform, read the Internet websites www.theiu.org and www.progress.org/banneker-center. There are others; it is educational to use search engines to find them.
HOUSING “BUBBLE” IS CAUSED BY NEGATIVE GEARING, DEBT,
AND OUTSIDE INVESTMENT
From 1936 the Tax Act quarantined investment losses from other forms of income. The Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating changed that in 1985. He tried to unwind it, but vested property interests said that new housing would be reduced and rents would increase. Neither of these is correct. – See “Ignore the banks, the Australian housing bubble is real,” by Ian Verrender (ABC’s business editor), Economic Reform Australia Review, http://era-blog.com , Vol. 6 No. 6, Nov-Dec 2014, pages 9-12.
UPSIDE-DOWN WORLD OF OPINION-MOULDERS
On 5 February the Association held public talks on the upside-down thinking of opinion-moulders, politicians, etc. President John Massam gave the title talk, pointing out that the stock exchange is thought to be “advancing” if the price of shares goes up. (Share prices are inflated by banks and stockbrokers giving people credit to buy shares.)
A “healthy housing market” is one where the prices have gone through the roof (pun intended), inflated by negative gearing and overseas investment. A person wanting to invest in shares or buy a property does not believe these inflated prices are “healthy.” And Secretary Stuart Dunstan read a paper which exposed the errors of today’s dominant economic theories.
OPEN LETTER TO THE AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER and THE TREASURER
Dear Sir, It has been noted that steps are being taken to place CITIZEN restrictions on a number of Australians who go to Syria and Iraq to fight with the Islamic State military. It is correct to do so as it is not in Australia’s interests to have these people potentially causing problems here after fighting in a terrorist war zone.
There are other classes of citizens who may be less overt in their criminal actions, who similarly cause problems to governments. I refer specifically to the big-time Taxation Dodgers on whom the Taxation office would have serious concerns over several years. They are a big enemy of Australia. In essence these people that are easily identified get around the laws with ill intent, giving selfish consideration to themselves and none to their own country (that needs them to help balance the budget). They expect other citizens to fill the financial gap and yet receive all of the rights of citizenship of Australia.
The outcome is that taxes are being paid to foreign states enabling the Australian government to be cheated of its legitimate income. There are currently some steps being taken to discourage use of overseas Tax Havens, but what about restricting people’s rights of Citizenship? After all they care little about their citizens’ responsibilities, do harm to the State, and do not deserve much. It may help to prevent some activities, and the resulting upsurge in Australia's government income would be of assistance.
Citizens throughout Australia are rightly concerned about the extent of their Taxation obligations; accordingly would you give serious consideration to bringing in personal Taxation avoidance reforms that would have overall approval throughout the country?
- Stuart Dunstan, Secretary, Georgist Education Association, Perth.
LATE TREASURER AND SECRETARY EILEEN BENNETT HONOURED
Mrs Eileen Bennett (29 Apr 1927 – 28 Jan 2015) was honoured by some members of the Georgist Education Association at her funeral service on Tuesday, 3rd February at Booragoon.
She had been a long-term assistant to the late secretary Graham Hart, and was treasurer and later secretary before retiring, after which she was made an Honorary Life Member. The eulogies included one on behalf of the Association, given by President John Massam. Among those present were Secretary Stuart Dunstan, Vice-president Owen Loneragan, former Treasurer Keith Massam, ex-member and former Secretary Mrs Ethel Birt, Eileen’s long-time friend Bob Tweed, and other non-members Peter Wright and Marjorie Bass.
Brief letters to the editor of about 100 words are requested. Please use simple language.
A Perth rally will be held on Wednesday 4 March, at Parliament House, Harvest Terrace, 12.30pm onwards, during a National Day of Action to fight attacks on producers’ rights, living standards, and rising costs.
ECONOMIC THEORY WRECKING EUROPE
Professor Steve Keen writes that the mad economic idea at the core of the Stability and Growth Pact of the European Union was devised by the American economist Robert Barro, who called it “Ricardian Equivalence” (Barro 1989). This theory opposed governments running deficits.
So, private debt has been overlooked. In France the private debt in France was 140 per cent of Gross Domestic Product when the recent economic crisis began. The public debt was 63% of GDP. (see Economic Reform Australia Review, Nov-Dec 2014, pages 14-18.) ERA’s website is at www.era.org.au .