Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 04:30 | SYDNEY
Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 04:30 | SYDNEY

Taxing tyranny


Malcolm Cook

14 May 2008 15:13

In the pages of coverage of the first Australian Labor Government budget in 12 years, one small tax increase has largely been overlooked, and yet it seems to contradict the rhetoric of the new government more than most and exacerbate Australian insularity by adding to our 'tyranny of distance.'

The new government is proud to call Australia the most Asia-literate Western country, has pushed for more recognition of the Australian diaspora, wants a more internationally engaged and open Australia, wants to fight inflation, and is all for 'working families'. Yet, the budget mandates an increase in the airport departure tax of $9 per international flight, lifting it from $38 to $47. And this when the budget surplus is estimated to be over $20 billion.

It is not as if Australian flyers (flying is the only real way for Australians to see any of the rest of the world) are not already socked with a variety of travel taxes, fees, surcharges etc that quickly mount up and already make international travel particularly tough on the vaunted 'working family'. By increasing this tax, the government is dissuading a more open, engaged and Asia-literate Australia, making it more costly to develop links to our diaspora. It is also acting against the 'war on inflation' by making it harder for Australians to spend overseas.

Photo by flickr user Soapstar D'lux, used under a Creative Commons licence.