Adrian Gattenhof, Mullumbimby
American spoilt brat Zuckerberg may have done adults around the world a great favour with his screamy kicky tanty. He’s laid bare the ravenous reality behind the smiley mask of the tech giants – and other transnational corporations. They use every means to maximise profits and minimise any contribution to the communities that make them billions. Pirates of the Caribbean hiding their loot in tax havens.
We had friends before Facebook and healthier communities before anti-social media joined the neoliberal corporate agenda of atomising society, and impoverishing investigative journalism and the whole public realm. Morrison’s legislation requiring them to contribute to journalism is welcome but tepid. Little wars against well-armed bullies fail, or achieve little; they buy us off with ‘chump change’.
The solution is to go big and go hard. Turnbull, Rudd, and others have said the aim should be to force them to pay tax. Exactly. A favourite corporate scam is to ‘book’ (that is, bullshit) payments from Australian advertisers as occurring in tax havens. Tax lawyers, accountants, and lobbyists pour in as corporate shock troops to intimidate governments into submission. The answer is to cut the Gordian knot, and for the Liberal/Labor party to act unanimously in the community interest.
A substantial revenue tax should replace income tax for companies deemed evaders. The ATO would force their Australian revenue streams to go first, not to the company, but to the ATO. There it would be taxed at, say, thirty per cent, the rest would go to the company – no income tax return required. Evader corporations need a hard kick in the wallet to learn respect for the communities they now pillage.