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Vinnies brands tax system 'Robin Hood in reverse'

Commenting on the current parliament's consideration of tax cuts, St Vincent de Paul National spokesperson Terry McCarthy has said most Australians would agree that it is not fair to to give generously to the rich while taking from the poor.

He asked: "Is it fair to use public money to give a de facto wage rise to high-income earners while downward pressure is maintained on lower-income earners and income security is diminished?"

He said the proposed tax cuts would favour high income-earners, while low income families are faced with ever deteriorating public services, which they have no choice but to rely on to survive.

"There are some who claim that we are a high taxing nation," he said. "We are not. We are the 4th lowest taxing country among the OECD industrialised countries."

"There are some who claim that we can be proud of our record on reducing poverty and disadvantage," he continued. "We cannot."

Me McCarthy said Australia is the fifth lowest OECD country in terms of the percentage of GDP invested in social security transfers.

"The Australian way" of a 'fair go' has long gone", he said. "Current obsessions with playing Robin Hood in reverse have no place in Australia. Under Nottingham-like policies that redistribute our national wealth in favour of those who are already wealthy, 3.5 million Australians continue to struggle in households that earn under $400 a week.

"The so-called good news on unemployment in Australia masks the bad news that in addition to the 530,000 who are officially unemployed, there are 610,000 who need more work hours to live adequately, and another 800,000 who are simply not counted as unemployed but who want to work."

As Chair of the St Vincent de Paul Society's National Social Justice Committee, Mr McCarthy challenged those who support lower taxes on the prosperous to look closely at the bitter fruits of these policies in the United States.

:Let them build more prisons, and bigger cardboard boxes for those who are most disadvantaged," he said. "Then let them think again."

"Whatever Happened to Robin Hood? (St Vincent de Paul Society 10/2/05)

St Vincent de Paul Society

Vinnies campaign hits Liberal raw nerve (CathNews 8/10/04)
Vinnies' Budget plea to Costello to think of poor (CathNews 11/5/04)
Vinnies sees tax cuts as WMDs for society (CathNews 30/4/04)

St Vincent de Paul: Back-to-school budget blues (Catholic Weekly 13/2/05)
Homeless face mental care crisis (Sydney Morning Herald 12/2/05)
St Vinnies looking for doorknock appeal volunteers (ABC News 9/2/05)

14 Feb 2005