McQueen, Humphrey: From Eureka stockades

McQueen, Humphrey

From Eureka stockades: Eureka Dinner, Adelaide, 15 November 2014‘, Chris White Online, 20 November 2014

Notes the development of conservative Legislative Councils after Eureka and parallels with modern politics. Also recalls that the miners’ objections in 1854 to the miners’ licence were fuelled by lack of taxation on squatters and merchants.

The official historian for the mining and other corporates, and sometime President of the Melbourne Club, Geoffrey Blainey has run the line that the rebels were the forebears of resistance to higher taxes on mining corporations. The fact is that the rebels are the forerunners of those of us who want a super profits tax to make the profit-takers pay more.

Goes on to discuss transfer pricing, the medicare levy and proposed co-payment, John Howard’s 2014 Remembrance Day speech, and equality before the law.

Equality of sacrifice was the Tory slogan during the Great Depression. Every worker had to give up ten percent of their income. A labourer lost £25 pounds out of an annual income of £250. An Arbitration Court judge lost the equivalent of the laborer’s total yearly earnings to be left with a mere £2,250.

Proposes a range of tax reforms.

Those of us who are imbued with the spirit of Eureka remain ready to pay our taxes when they buy civilisation, when they fund libraries, women’s refuges, swimming pools and immunisation. But we can’t go along with [Oliver Wendell] Holmes’s carefree acceptance that taxes are a good thing “whether the money is well or ill spent”. We must oppose taxes when they are spent on barbarism, not civilisation.

Taxes funded the police and troopers who bayonetted the wounded at Eureka, taxes paid for the slaughter of the original owners of this land, taxes funded conscription for ecocide against the peoples of Indo-China, and today they underwrite the Building and Construction Commission.

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