Unstuffy Ideas from Oz



2. Some Socially Helpful Taxes

  • Graduated Advertising Tax
  • Antisocial Advertising
  • Attack Dogs
  • Private Tanks & City Bullbars
  • Business-name Changes
  • By-By Election Costs
  • LanguageAbuse
  • Parliamentary Misbehavior
  • Politicians' Broken Promises
  • Plastic Bags
  • Speed Permits
  • Women Screaming on TV and film
  • Violent acts in TV shows & trailers


A graduated advertising tax would mean that the big advertisers would pay more than the small firms, who would get more chance to increase their business. At present small firms, however good their product, get no chance to compete with the vast sums spent by the huge businesses, which often have international advertising they can bring in.


can be highly taxed whenever they carry messages to steal, lie, cheat, destroy or humiliate or harm others. A surprising number do. Firms should realise that 'snatching' commercials encourage shoplifting.


Taxes on owning attack-breed and mixed-attack-breeds of dogs. This is not the same as dogs bred as guard-dogs, but for those bred, bought and kept for attack.

TAX PRIVATE-TANKS (four-wheel drives) and BULLBARS driven by city residents in the capital cities.

TAXED On both new and second-hand sales. Country residents exempt, including when in the city (special badges or registration signs are possible ways of indicating country residence.) This tax is to encourage those rich enough to buy four-wheel drives for the country to have little runabouts or motor-scooters for city travel. This will avoid the growing problems of traffic space, parking, dangers to other vehicles, and preventing other drivers from daring to have smaller cars and motor- scooters themselves, because drivers of private 4-wheel-drives, unlike commercial vehicles, cannot see the smaller vehicles under their noses. It is recognised that this tax could be avoided by the dishonest, but see notes about social attitudes to taxation.


Action is needed about the many ways in which unscrupulous businesses and rich people can avoid tax, including the way it is possible to have multiplicity of companies and trade under changing names, so that it requires extremely expensive law cases to try to unravel them. Some cleaning up of this area would also help their creditors, trying to chase up what they are owed.

When Government departments change their names, the tax could be paid personally by the Minister who approves the change.


High tax on pensions of politicians who resign before their term is up without serious health or tragic reasons, to pay for the by- elections they cause. Pension would be reduced to Old Age pension rates until the tax was paid off.

LANGUAGE ABUSE TAXES could be given a one-year trial.

This is not censorship. Talk up and pay up.

  1. $100 tax for every term of personal abuse uttered in Parliament chambers, based on the Hansard verbatim record, not the later censored version. Journalists could check this out and publish the figures.
  2. $100 tax for each use of the terms sh- and f- in the press, books or broadcast media by persons over 18, except in their primary meanings. This could help to label the vulgar use as childish, for kids and teenagers, and encourage more imaginative Australian swearing. Nothing's wrong with good strong bloody anyway.
    Unimaginative swearing is usually a substitute for thinking and often a prelude to violence and so should be discouraged. There is no argument that drama must be 'realistic' by publicising these words, because no drama is really realistic. Authors could be inventors of variety in swear-words, and lead the way. Swearing Tax could be collected in a similar way to payments for use of copyright material.

Parliamentary Misbehaviour Fines. Large fines imposed on the spot by the Speaker on Parliamentarians continuing to interject or abuse after a warning. This tax would either raise the standard of Parliamentary debate or enrich the revenue.


'Promise deposits' paid by elected Parliamentary candidates on every election promise, together with further fines, are forfeited if promises are broken. This will help to put a brake on wild promises.


to encourage shoppers to re-use or to use baskets - or stringbags, if shops are wary of shoplifters.


on all fear screams by women on media, since they are psychosexually rousing, encourage macho and rapist sexual attitudes and desires, and are bad stereotypes and models for women and girls.


Speed and breathalyser fines should be recognised by the public as having a legitimate purpose in making revenue, as well as to reduce death and injury.


on television, video and computer games (c/f performance royalties) with double taxes on violence in trailers, since these are gratuitous, having no claim to be required by the whole work of art, are seen by a mass audience willy-nilly, including more children and susceptible teenagers, and are more likely to influence 'unthinking' violent responses in real life since the trailers give no context, reason or justification for the violence.


None of the ideas proposed here are any sillier than a lot of what goes on in government and economics already. Novelty should be no argument against constructive innovation. 


Adults making their estimates of payable tax should also estimate how much value to them personally were the services they paid for. A checklist could be provided - water supply, infrastructure, defence, health, transport, education, government, justice, environment, public order and protection, emergency services and relief etc.
If people realised that what they needed to buy for quality of life did not stop at their front door, so that their egos could stretch beyond, then we would be less tolerant of 'private affluence and public squalor'.

Taxes that Harm and Should be Stopped

Many taxes are not useful. They can hurt business or hurt the poor, even though they raise money. They can encourage government to condone the spread of social evils like tobacco because the tax money is so useful.

  • BANK ACCOUNT CHARGES FOR SMALL SAVERS. Charges on bank accounts and transactions within Australia hinder commerce, and are also socially unjust and socially undesirable when they hit small accounts. This prevents small people accumulating capital for new enterprises, and discourages saving as a habit.
  • GOODS AND SERVICES TAXES are a shift away from the great ideal of Western culture, that government should be in the interests of the people, not just benefit shareholders. This apparently easy expedient to collect tax has consequences and temptations, in reducing what most people can afford, and when taxing essentials including health and education.Increasing sales taxes on necessities means that middle-income and poor groups pay an effectively higher rate of tax than the rich.
    It also penalises Australian producers who pay fair wages (not 50 cents a week as in some overseas countries) which make their costs higher than imports, so the sales tax on Australian products is also higher than that on imported goods - so more Australian firms go broke, and there are more unemployed.
  • SALES TAXES that put Australian products at a greater disadvantage compared to imports,when they are levied at stages of production. Australian products tend to cost more, mainly because workers are not yet paid as little and do not have a standard of living as low as workers for many of our major overseas competitors. They therefore pay a higher sales tax than imports. They will therefore be still more expensive relative to imports. The current coalition plans for a GST contain so many fiddly bits, with tax credits, exemptions, make-ups and so on that it will be very frustrating to administer and oversee, for government as well as for the commercial businesses which must collect it.
  • PAYROLL TAXES discourage employment of fulltime staff. It increases unemployment, and means those in work must often work excessive hours, or are not officially employed, being on piecework or part-time. It is far better to tax company profits.
  • PRODUCTIVITY TAXES can complicate Australian production and tie small businesses in knots.
  • RE-RAKE TAXES Raking back what was given out. Taxes on grants, pensions etc paid by one branch of government add to administrative costs and make the grant less useful.
  • TAXING GOVERNMENT ORGANISATIONS Taxes on government organisations. Some of the anomalies of robbing Peter to pay Peter are administratively wasteful.