Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Attempt to shut down Christian campaigner backfires

In response to the shutdown, Christians dig deep to protect religious freedom

Donations are pouring in at $1,000 per minute for Israel Folau after the Australian Christian Lobby set up a new fundraising page for his legal battle against Rugby Australia.

The page, hosted on the lobby's website, has already been given more than $400,000 just hours after the star player's GoFundMe campaign was shut down.

Between 6am and 7am on Tuesday, the amount donated had doubled from around $40,000. By 10am it had reached around $400,000.

The new campaign was set up by ACL Managing director Martyn Iles who said his group will donate $100,000.

Hundreds of supporters, angry with GoFundMe, said they had doubled or tripled their donations this time around. 'We gave twice what we were going to give,' said one. 'I have now donated more than double the amount I had previously donated,' added another.

'Israel's case is our case if we want to live free and embrace our beliefs without fear of being marginalised or discriminated against,' Iles said.

He writes on the page: 'Recently the online fundraising platform GoFundMe shut down Israel Folau's legal defence fund and turned away hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.

'On behalf of the Australian Christian Lobby, I have spoken to Israel Folau to let him know that ACL will be donating $100,000 to his legal defence, because it's right and it sets an important legal precedent.

'I have also offered to host his online appeal for funds here on our website and he has accepted our offer.

'All gifts you give on this web page will be deposited into a trust account to pay for Israel Folau's legal case.  'So, please give generously today to help Israel Folau stand for your religious freedom.'

The ACL, based in Canberra, has 135,000 members and aims to influence politics with Christian beliefs.

It comes after it was revealed GoFundMe shut down Folau's page while allowing a preacher to raise money to fund legal costs over anti-LGBTI comments.

Canadian Christian preacher David Lynn, who was arrested for allegedly making 'disparaging' comments has raised more than $50,000 on his still active page.

Folau launched his appeal for $3million on Tuesday and had raised more than $750,000 within six days. But the fundraising platform said on Monday it was pulling the campaign and refunding thousands of donors.

More than 95,000 people signed an online petition calling on GoFundMe to take down the page, noting its purpose was against the website's terms and conditions.

'After a routine period of evaluation, we have concluded that this campaign violates our terms of service,' GoFundMe Australia's regional manager Nicola Britton said in a statement.

'As a company, we are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTIQ+ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity.

'While we welcome GoFundMe's engaging in diverse civil debate, we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion,' she said. 


Let’s not fall for this myth of generational injustice

Intergenerational injustice is a myth. Labor unwisely used the theme of supposed intergenerational injustice as part of its losing campaign strategy, arguably prompted by the misleading and ongoing campaign waged by the left-leaning Grattan Institute.

Grattan maintains that unfairness in the treatment of the generations arising from features of the tax and transfer system must be tackled. Note here that this outfit supports the introduction of inheritance taxes.

Before discussing the empirical aspects of the debate about ­intergenerational injustice, it’s worth thinking about how societies work when there isn’t a big central government taxing citizens and redistributing income and benefits.

The social compact runs along these lines: parents and often grandparents are involved in the rearing of children; parents are expected to work to provide for their children and their parents; one way or another, older folk who can no longer work are looked after.

None of this is regarded as unfair; it’s the way it is and should be. Indeed, in many developing countries couples deliberately have large families to ensure there will be enough children with resources to look after them in old age.

So what do we mean by intergenerational injustice? The Grattan view is that people on the same income should be taxed in exactly the same way irrespective of their age.

It doesn’t matter to the researchers that the income of young people is overwhelmingly sourced from wages and salaries whereas retirees’ incomes are mainly made up of returns to ­assets that have been accumulated, often from post-tax income or from compulsory super­annuation.

Two features of the tax system that the Grattan Institute thinks should be scrapped immediately are the seniors and pensioners tax offset and the higher income threshold for exemption to the Medicare levy that applies to senior citizens. These measures offer a modest degree of tax relief for people of pensionable age who continue to work.

But here’s the thing: they cost the budget only about $700 million a year, which is peanuts given that the federal budget now involves annual expenditure of close to $500 billion. Age Pension payments alone cost more than $48bn. Moreover, encouraging people to keep working is sensible policy.

Labor, unsurprisingly, was not particularly interested in attacking these minor features of the tax system. It was going after the big stuff — abolishing cash refunds for franking credits, slashing negative gearing, increasing the rate of capital gains tax, increasing the tax on super­annuation — but the effects would have been felt overwhelmingly by older people with ­assets.

For Labor that was a plus, but the electorate didn’t see it that way.

Another aspect of the debate about intergenerational injustice that is often raised relates to the different wealth positions of young versus old people.

It has always been the case that more wealth is held by older people as a consequence of their years of work, saving and investing.

Young people are investing in their education, establishing a family, hopefully buying a house — in other words, they are not saving. It is only after these ­expenses start to diminish that people can save for their retirement, although compulsory superannuation has partly foisted this task on the young as well.

In this context, it is often mentioned that young people are now finding it increasingly difficult to buy a house and it has been predicted that some people may never become homeowners.

In reality, the changes in the rate of home ownership have not been as dramatic as some of the media would make out.

Overall, the rate of home ownership has fallen from 71 per cent in the mid-1960s to about 65 per cent now. There have been some bigger falls for certain age groups: 45 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds now own a home compared with just more than 60 per cent 25 years ago.

For those aged between 35 and 44, the rate of ownership has fallen from 75 per cent to just more than 60 per cent. Even so, home ownership rates have fallen for all age groups bar for those aged over 65.

While it is true that the house price-to-income ratio has risen sharply during the past two decades, the cost of servicing a debt of a given size is significantly lower than was the case when the parents of many young adults were buying houses.

The biggest barrier to home purchase now is accumulating a deposit of a sufficient size to get into the market.

This is where the bank of mum and dad becomes useful. It has been estimated this bank is now among the top 10 home loan providers. It’s hard to see how this phenomenon squares with the idea of a generational clash.

The bigger point here is that it is not a useful exercise to tot up what benefits and taxes different generations receive and pay and how this has changed across time. To say that fewer older people now pay net tax than was the case 20 years ago is to say nothing: it was always relatively trivial and it still is.

Moreover, to impose a higher tax burden on retirees runs the serious risk of retirees, both now and in the future, organising their affairs to qualify for the Age Pension — a very expensive outcome for the federal government.

The parents of young adults may not have paid university fees — but note that a much smaller proportion undertook higher education than is the case today — but there were no childcare subsidies or family tax benefits.

Mortgage-holders had to endure interest rates close to 20 per cent even though houses were much more affordable.

And retirees now face pitiful returns on their savings. It’s kind of six of one, a half-dozen of the other.

To intergenerational injustice, I say bunkum. And good luck to any political party that plans to eliminate legitimate and well-established concessions for retired folk unable to work and adjust their portfolios.


PM Morrison wants to bust over-regulation

From his recent Perth, WA, speech to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry

To provoke the much needed  ‘animal spirits’ in our economy we must also remove regulatory and bureaucratic barriers to businesses investing and creating more jobs.

Congestion is not just on our roads and in our cities.

We also need to bust regulatory congestion, removing obstacles to business investment.

When we came to power in 2013, our Government launched its ‘Cutting Red Tape’ Initiative.

Working across every government department in Canberra, we set ourselves the goal of reducing the burden of regulation on the economy by $1 billion each and every year.

And we succeeded.  Between September 2013 and December 2016, this initiative yielded red tape savings of $5.8 billion.

Removing what governments identify as excessive or outdated regulation is one thing. Whether we are really focusing on the barriers that matter to business in getting investments and projects off the ground is another.

Take the WA mining industry for example. In 1966, the late Sir Arvi Parbo took the Kambalda nickel mine near Kalgoorlie from discovery to operation in 18 months.

By contrast, the Roy Hill iron ore mine took around 10 years to complete around 4,000 approvals. Delays to the project meant delays to over 5,000 construction jobs and 2,000 ongoing jobs.

This in a region where iron ore mining has been taking place for decades and is relatively low risk.

There is a clear need to improve approvals timeframes and reduce regulatory costs, but in many cases regulators are making things worse.

Look at the WA Environment Protection Authority and the uncertainty it has created over new emissions requirements for the resources sector. Business will also make valid criticisms of many Commonwealth agencies and departments.

That’s why I’ve asked my colleague Ben Morton – as Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister – to work with me, the Treasurer and other Ministers, to tackle the full suite of barriers to investment in key industries and activities.

This will be a renewed focus on regulatory reform but from a different angle.

Rather than setting targets for departments or government agencies, we’ll be asking the wider question from the perspective of a business looking, say, to open a mine, commercialise a new biomedical innovation, or even start a home-based, family business.

By focusing on regulation from the viewpoint of business, we will identify the regulations and bureaucratic processes that impose the largest costs on key sectors of the economy and the biggest hurdles to letting those investments flow.

What are the barriers, blockages and bottlenecks?  How do we get things moving?

I urge the business people in this room and around Australia to engage with this process.

Step one is to get a picture of the regulatory anatomies that apply to key sectoral investments. Step two is to identify the blockages. Step three is to remove them, like cholesterol in the arteries.

While reducing taxes has had a major impact in the United States, it was actually the Trump Administration’s commitment to cutting red tape and transforming the regulatory mind set of the bureaucracy that delivered their first wave of improvement in their economy.  You can be assured I have begun this term by making it clear to our public service chiefs that I am expecting a new mindset when it comes to getting investments off the drawing board.


Ads highlight CSR concerns

In the past two weeks, we have witnessed full page newspaper ads proclaiming that a slew of big companies “support the Uluru Statement from the Heart”. This followed the announcement of support for Recognition by 21 investment banks, super funds and accounting firms.

This renewed bout of corporate politicking was clearly planned in anticipation of an election victory by the Labor party, which had pledged to fast-track a constitutional referendum on a Voice to Parliament.

In the wake of the Morrison government’s re-election, big business — like many commentators and pundits — have found themselves on the wrong side of history … and found out just how tin their political ear is.

The election result offers a timely opportunity for those operating within the corporate bubble to reconsider what is being done by companies in the name of CSR.

I hope my book encourages such a reconsideration through the critique it offers of the current — highly political — approach to ‘social responsibility’ that is being enthusiastically embraced at the highest levels of business.

What the election result has demonstrated is the validity of the insider vs outsider thesis about modern politics.

The Quiet Australians’ rejection of Labor’s embrace of identity politics and progressive ideology has exposed the cultural divide between so-called inner city elites and ordinary Australians in the outer suburbs and regions holding mainstream views.

What the election result also ought to burst is the insider bubble —the propensity for corporate elites to live, work, and socialise with like-minded elites and not question self-reinforcing progressive agendas.

Bursting the bubble surrounding CSR exposes the contradiction that lies at heart of the CSR philosophy.

The standard argument for CSR is that that in order to earn a ‘social license’ to operate, companies must fulfil a range of social obligations beyond their traditional profit-making role, by considering the social impacts of their activities on the interests of broader groups of stakeholders in the community.

The book turns around the reputational and branding arguments for CSR to make the case against CSR by pointing out what the election result has now made even more obvious.

This is that corporate involvement in divisive social questions on which there is no community consensus among shareholders, stakeholders, employees and customers, can have negative brand and reputational consequences for companies that risk acquiring reputations for being ‘being political’.

The book, therefore, argues that because CSR politicking can be bad for business, corporate leaders should be encouraged to take a more hardheaded approach.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

1 comment:

Paul said...

It appears that the principle of the Right-to-say-it still stands among the real people. If Rugby Australia loses this then so many heads will roll it will look like a big, dumb rock-slide.