After a bitter dispute between ABC management and their star chief economics correspondent, Emma Alberici, the ABC today reposted her ‘analysis’ of the Turnbull government’s plan for big corporate tax cuts.
ABC informants told The New Daily that lawyers had to be called in as the former Lateline presenter fought for her credibility, her reputation and her career after ABC News director Gaven Morris ordered her critical article on the claimed wage flow-on benefits of corporate tax cuts to be removed from the ABC website last Friday.
Mr Morris has repeatedly denied that his action amounted to censorship after political pressure was applied by the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, the Treasurer, Scott Morrison, and the Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield. He has said changes to an associated news article and the removal of the original Alberici ‘analysis’ were entirely internal and spontaneous stemming from concerns about Ms Alberici’s compliance with ABC editorial policies differentiating analysis from opinion.
Significantly an agreed form of words on today’s re-posted and clearly marked “analysis” piece, and reportedly negotiated by the ABC’s lawyers with Ms Alberici’s lawyers said:
Editor’s note: This analysis has been revised and updated by our chief economics correspondent. Passages that could be interpreted as opinion have been removed. Our editorial processes have also been reviewed. Emma Alberici is the ABC’s chief economics correspondent and is a respected and senior Australian journalist.
The statement reaffirming “respect” for Ms Alberici was believed to have been agreed following the journalist’s distress that she had been “thrown under a bus” by ABC management which removed the article initially without explanation.
Only after publicity did the ABC explain that the article was withdrawn for editorial compliance reasons. In the 24 hour news cycle the article has now been updated to coincide with the Prime Minister’s arrival in Washington for talks with President Donald Trump who recently persuaded Congress to lower corporate tax rates with a similar debate raging in the US about alleged employee benefits.
“Principal beneficiaries are foreign shareholders”
The latest Alberici analysis questions more forcefully the claims made by Treasurer Scott Morrison that by lowering the Australian corporate tax rate from 30% to 25% there would be a direct flow-on to wage growth. Wage growth has been flatlining in recent years as company profits have been at historic highs. The tax cuts here are assessed to cost the budget $65billion in lost revenue over 10 years but with a beneficial stimulatory effect on investment and economic growth which currently is sluggish. The tax cuts are said to be affordable even though the budget is in deficit and that tax cuts would not threaten Australia’s hard-earned AAA credit rating. The Prime Minister has said the Coalition is prepared to make lowering the corporate tax rate a major issue for the next election. Tax rates competitive with other trading countries would lead to enhanced investment in Australia, greater productivity and consequential higher demand for labour, forcing up wages throughout the economy.
But Ms Alberici, the ABC’s chief economics correspondent, in her latest ABC- approved analysis, came to a different concluded view, after re-posting info-data showing dividend imputation and legally applied carry-forward tax losses had already lowered the effective corporate tax rate in Australia:
“Cutting the company tax rate … doesn’t result in a higher after-tax return on investment to Australian shareholders in Australian businesses. The principal beneficiaries of a cut in Australia’s corporate tax rate are overwhelmingly foreign companies and foreign shareholders in Australian companies”
She writes that in the US, Mr Turnbull would find a country with close to full employment and rising wages. But this had been achieved ahead of President Trump’s tax cut, “showing there is a lot more to jobs and growth than the corporate tax rate”.
Quentin Dempster, a former ABC journalist, is contributing editor of The New Daily. This article was originally posted on thenewdaily.com.au website.
A link to the new Alberici article: