COMMENT | John Sandeman
Tuesday 10 May 2016
The man in the Q&A audience with the untidy hair and wearing a hoodie turned out to be the star of the show last night.
“Duncan Storrar wasn’t about to be patronised, and he wasn’t about to be bullied,” is how Fairfax’s Neil McMahon puts it.
“I’ve got a disability and a low education, that means I’ve spent my whole life working for minimum wage. You’re gonna lift the tax-free threshold for rich people,”asked Storer.
“If you lift my tax-free threshold, that changes my life,” he went on. “That means that I get to say to my little girls, ‘Daddy’s not broke this weekend. We can go to the pictures’. Rich people don’t even notice their tax-free threshold lift. Why don’t I get it? Why do they get it?”
Federal Minister Kelly O’Dwyer assured Storrar that the Federal Government’s tax measures are all about balance, which was not the best answer this high-performing minister has ever given. High earners with a lot of super would be giving something up, too. Storrar responded, “To rich people it is a Coke and a milkshake or whatever.
“To me it changes my children’s life … People who make $80,000 a year … well, they don’t even notice it, love. We notice that sort of stuff.”
But it was Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox who let the Coalition down the most.
“Duncan, I’ll be harsh in my message,” Willox began with the voice of a fast bowler aiming at a wicket (but not realising he was about to bowl a full-toss) “If you’re on the minimum wage and with a family, you would not pay much tax, if any at all.
“Would you? You would not pay much tax.”
The audience gasped as the nature of the put-down by the man in the expensive suit became apparent.
But the reply was game. “I pay tax every time I go to the supermarket. Every time I hop in my car.”
Willox then bowled a no ball. “So we have a situation here where not everyone can win out of every budget every time,” he said.
“It’s not how the system works and the government has made a choice here – I’ll talk on their behalf even though I’m not a member of the government – they have actually made a choice to create a situation where we can create jobs for Duncan’s children, where we can create investment that doesn’t come into the country now, to provide for growth.”
This interchange brought to mind Luke 1:55-56 and the King James has it best:
“He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.”