JOHN MENADUE. It is class warfare alright

The government is hoping to let its business mates back up their trucks to the Treasury for a windfall grab of $65 billion in company tax reductions.  At the same time, the Government’s Welfare Reform Bill contains, as Ross Gittins has pointed out, seventeen measures that will adversely affect the lives of thousands of the unemployed, single parents and women and children escaping domestic violence.

 Malcolm Turnbull and his mates are winning the class war.  But to disguise their activities they blame the victims and their advocates who protest about unfair treatment.

 These are classic examples of what the billionaire investor, Warren Buffett, said in describing class war in the US.  ‘There’s class war all right, but it’s my class, the rich class that’s making war and we’re winning’.

Malcolm Turnbull and his rich banker and other mates are waging class war in Australia in cooperation with a pliant Murdoch media.  And they are winning . To disguise their greed they accuse those who seek justice of being instigators of class war and political agitators.

This heist of reduced company taxes is only part of a class war that the rich and powerful, along with their lobbyists, have been initiating and winning in Australia.

There is a long list of examples of successful class warfare in Australia .

  • There is massive tax avoidance, particularly for the benefit of large multinational companies whose benefit for Australia is grossly exaggerated.
  • The Coalition successfully protected miners and polluters from the Mineral Resources Rent Tax and the Carbon Tax.
  • Through negative gearing and capital gains concessions, older and wealthy property owners in Australia benefit at the expense of the young and people on low incomes. According to the Grattan Institute governments provide over $36 billion p.a. in benefits to the predominantly wealthy through exemptions from land and capital gains tax and other concessions.
  • The government facilitates superannuation arrangements that have become a vehicle for massive tax avoidance. Thanks to the time-bombs that Peter Costello planted, many people who have low or no taxable incomes are very wealthy and own a lot of property.  According to Treasury, over $30 billion p.a. is the cost of numerous superannuation concessions.
  • Fearful of a Royal Commission, the banks, with their enormous profits and obscene executive salaries, were defended to the last by the Turnbull government. The terms of the Royal Commission were calculated to cause as little embarrassment to the banks as possible.  But even this won’t hide the malfeasance of the banks.
  • There are incessant government campaigns against penalty rates, minimum wages and the role of trade unions.
  • As part of its class warfare, the government has skewed education funding to favour wealthy schools at the expense of disadvantaged children across the country.
  • In furtherance of its campaign to help the privileged, the government promotes a $12 billion p.a. taxpayer subsidy for private health insurance.

Class warfare is blatant in many fields.

Yet the government with the support of News Corporation has the gall to blame those seeking fairness and social justice of engaging in class war.

They have picked up the fake story-line of John Howard who criticized his political opponents of   ‘political envy‘ in wanting to redress injustice in the community.

Both Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison loudly accuse the ALP and its supporters of waging class warfare whenever those who seek social justice have the temerity to raise their voice.

Blaming the victims is an old and tried tactic

Michael Stutchbury in the Australian Financial Review, in defending the 2016 Budget, dismissed the critics as participating in a ‘faux class struggle’.  Peter van Onselem in The Australian accused Bill Shorten of conducting an ‘ugly class war’.  Loyal-as-ever to Rupert Murdoch, Dennis Shanahan and Paul Kelly  both claimed that ‘Labor runs a class warfare campaign’.

Only this month  the Herald Sun and The Australian called Bill Shorten’s proposed reform of dividend imputation  a ‘class war’ But they did not describe Malcolm Turnbull’s company tax cut in the same way.

To defend their power and privilege, the wealthy revert time and time again to attacking the disadvantaged or those that support them.  The status quo which the elites represent must be defended at all costs by attacking any attempt to improve the lot of the less privileged.

This attack on those who seek social justice is a deliberate attempt to avoid the truth that Warren Buffett speaks of.   The wealthy in the US and Australia are initiating and winning the class war.


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9 Responses to JOHN MENADUE. It is class warfare alright

  1. Rosemary O'Grady says:

    The English words ‘poor’ & ‘poverty’ derive – at least in part, from roots in the (French) word for (English) – ‘power’. There’s a clue there- if we can follow the thread.

  2. mark elliott says:

    great reading but the real problem is so obvious that we can’t see it for looking.that great apathetic blob called the aus voting public, who year after year after year vote for these parties knowing full well what will result.history tells us that we will vote with absolute conservatism always, the labour party only becoming reasonably successful when they became a mirror image of the libs.murdoch is so successful because he prints exactly what most want to hear.we wring our hands and ask for new parties but the real problem is us.if a new party were to be formed i suggest it is called the fuck you jack i’m alright will be hugely successful!!!

  3. Roy Drew says:

    Crumbs off the table and call it like it is …a crust if you are lucky serf

  4. Rob Stewart says:

    Excellent article John. I do also agree with Paul’s point about Labor though, it’s now totally complicit and will only argue for the fair go while in opposition. When/if Shorten becomes CEO of Australia inc, he will do as the top end of town requires of him. There might be a small, temporary, differentiating “win” for “battlers” conceded here and there but the long run agenda is the same. The 1% want the lot.

    Turnbull has now delved so low, he is beyond description. However, he seems at his best and most furious when exposing Shorten’s hypocrisy.

    A third party isn’t really going to solve matters. I am always shocked, not by how much business pays to buy out both sides of politics, but by how little it actually has to pay. Two for the price of one or three for the price of two – it’s still dirt cheap. The entire monetised political system, with neoliberalism’s open borders, will never serve democratic ends. In fact, I think notional liberal parties, like Labor here or the democrats in the US, are better placed to kick the rungs out from the middle class and working classes, than conservative parties.

    One final thing. David mentions debunked “trickle down”. Of course it’s fantasy and lies but there’s another thing about it – the very words themselves! These are derogatory, arrogant, class based words to begin with. Even if it did work, why should a mere “trickle” ever, ever have been accepted in the first place? In going along with the trickle down agenda, liberal parties everywhere conceded defeat and capitulation to capital everywhere.

    • paul frijters says:


      don’t you find it defeatist to say that democratic renewal (ie new parties) is not where the main hope lies?

      Southern Europe, and particularly Italy shows where Australia might move towards as well. Protest parties of various types spring up, and some started as very radical anti-everything (with the Italian comedian Beppe Grillo touring around the country hosting “F-off” events!) and others more centrist good-government parties (Cuidanos in Spain). Both are now major political forces.

      It’s a bit harder in Australia under the first-past-the-post system, which leads to an incumbent dominant party in most electorates, but on the other hand the full preference map system allows people to vote for different parties whilst picking the same winner from the two major ones, which allows renewal more easily.

  5. paul frijters says:

    Hi John,

    agreed, of course, though you should not paint Labour as any less complicit. When it comes to super, pharma, universities, PPPs, property, defence, NBN, and the denuding of the public service, Labour is a key culprit. I think it fair to say that the vast majority of the population have been abandoned by both mayor parties. And, given how easily that population was misled in the recent elections in Tasmania and Queensland, it’s easy to see why they think they can get away with it. Alas, they can get away with it.

    Have you thought about helping form a new political party?

    Costello’s mistake was known at the time, with the Treasury officials despairing at the long-term disaster that he had foisted upon the tax system, and the lack of competent economists and others pushing back. I wrote in 2007 about this policy “Australia has just implemented this policy, making Peter Costello at a stroke an economic incompetent. I fear that Oz economists will be spending decades trying to undo ‘Peter’s Prank’.”

    • Hello Paul, I think there are vital ways in which the ALP is less complicit – but, yes, could be much more so. Our pressure needs to be intelligent and constant. Their failure to condemn the vile off-shore detention “policies” – other than the brave, excellent Senator, Lisa Singh – or to effectively campaign about homelessness and domestic violence is inexcusable. Sally McManus is speaking up very effectively on work issues and the Murdoch press will hound her until and beyond the next election. Should John be forming a new political party? Oh wouldn’t that be wonderful if all the courageous, life-loving dissenters could get together beyond pressuring the existing parties… I have sometimes said we should have a party called “Children’s Future Party” so that EVERY decision was made thinking not of ourselves only but of the world we are creating and leaving. Will that happen? Perhaps not. But it is certainly a principle I would love more of us to declare, espouse, live. (How the RW press would adore to belittle such idealism…even while wanting only the expensive “best” for their own children…even while ignoring the greatest gift we can give is safety, freedom from prejudice and war, freedom from violence and poverty: a protected, regenerating planet; dignity for all.)

  6. Scott MacWilliam says:

    A belated recognition. Must really be open now.
    `The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles’.

  7. David Heath says:

    The whole intention of this ‘corporate largesse’ is to prime the pump at the top and allow ‘trickle down’ economics to permit the money to flow to where it will be best used.

    Time and again, the trickle down theory has been debunked by experts with a lot more knowledge than our current crop of politicians, yet they will insist on believing their guts rather than the experts.

    However, as I see it, about the only place that trickle-down really works is in the urinals of the executive washrooms.

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