It has been a crazy few weeks and I have not had a chance to keep up with the various things that have been happening!
Rather than going back to try and catch up, I thought I would list some of the highlights and links… so here goes:
The 2010 budget
Being mid-May, it is budget time. I know it is hard to get excited by the budget and the numbers and everything, but it is really important for us to understand the priorities of our Government for the year ahead: are they serious about the long-term health of Australia and our global obligations or are they simply aiming to get re-elected.
Importantly, the Opposition also get to a chance to respond – so we can see if they are a viable government-in-waiting.
I was interested to see if the Rudd Government had totally backed away from their environmental commitments. My analysis is here and as you will see, there is not much hope here. The Rudd Government seems to have gone backwards on the environment, and I think that can explain, in large part, the loss of trust that we have in Kevin Rudd as a Prime Minister.
Rent resource tax
The Government actually made some major announcements before the budget – including a ‘resources super profit tax’. This is an additional tax on mining profits that are considered above ‘normal profits’.
I personally think that such a tax is important: mining companies make billions of dollars for extracting resources that technically belong to all of us. We should all be compensated because these are one-off payments. The problem I had with the announcement is that it did not go far enough.
What we need to see is a longer-term plan to ensure that the profits benefit not only us, but future generations. In the piece I wrote with Lee Rhiannon for ABC’s Drum available here this is exactly what we argue for. Check it out, for we show how in Norway this is what the government has done and they have $400 billion in reserves from it!