Charity is no substitute for justice

March 22, 2019

One of the stranger reactions to franking credit reform was Prime Minister Morrison’s claim it ‘undermines the incredible work done by charities across Australia, including the fight against cancer’, backing up Cancer Council Queensland’s assertion that ‘Two of our major donors … have advised CCQ that they are unlikely to be in a position to donate if this policy is introduced.’ CCQ has since withdrawn its submission on this issue but the government continues to correlate franking credit reform with the erosion of philanthropy.

For the record I support the proposed reform of franking credits. It is not, as some mischievously claim, a tax. It is the removal of a tax rebate that is currently provided to some wealthy retirees even though they are not actually paying the tax they are getting the rebate on! It’s already confusing but it doesn’t help when the waters are muddied with outright falsehoods. This is well explained by my Per Capita colleagues Emma Dawson and Tim Lyons in a recent opinion piece.

What I want to reflect on here though is the reasonable question as to whether the purported impact on philanthropy cited above should, in general terms, be a consideration when weighing up public policy.

John Falzon in Eureka Street