Humour Opinion

Stage three tax cuts abandon the working-class

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Cartoon by Mark David/@markdavidcartoons

A debate ensues about the outstanding stage three tax cuts, writes John Longhurst.

THE TWO schooners landed with a plonk in front of Bazza and he looked up at a red-faced Mick:

“I’m bloody cranky, Bazza, bloody cranky.”

Mick took a generous sip and Bazza’s mouth half opened and his eyes widened.

Mick raised his index finger: “it’s just not on, Bazza. They reckon electricity prices will be up by 35per cent next year, I can’t get an appointment to see the doctor for ages and to top it all off, I hit another bloody pothole this week, and that’s cost me a fortune.”

Bazza motioned to speak.

“Now, don’t try and justify any of this, Bazza. I’ve given your mates in the government a decent go and, and now they are also trying to sneak around these promised tax cuts. I tell you, its just not on.”

Mick finally took a seat.

A long pause.

“Opportunity cost, Mick, opportunity cost. My economics teacher at school was big on opportunity cost.”

Mick took another generous sip:

“What the bloody hell are you on about, Bazza. It’s just been an opportunity for your mates to cost me time and money.”

Bazza took a sip and rubbed his chin:

Well, Mick, just as there is a cost in doing something, there is often a greater cost in doing nothing. Take electricity prices. For decades now, we have been moving away from fossil fuels in terms of power generation. Anyone that can afford solar panels is investing in the future. The major power companies won’t invest in new coal fired power stations and the existing ones are being run down.


Apart from the environmental benefits, it’s really the economics of cheaper renewables that is driving the change. Now, I am no expert on power generation and supply but there is a whole lot of new technology and infrastructure that is now needed to facilitate the transition.

“Yeah, yeah, but, Bazza.”

He replied:

“No bloody buts, Mick, it seems to me the last ones to come on board has been the government. Such a transition needs leadership. Instead of leading the way over the past decades and preparing for the change, we are now playing catch up. The opportunity cost of doing nothing is what we are going to now pay for.”

Another long pause.

“Crikey, Bazza, you’re stressing me out, no wonder I need to see a doctor, if only I could get an appointment.”

They both took sips.

“Well, Mick, on that note, the same principle applies.”

Mick screwed up his face.

There is an opportunity cost with the promised tax cuts and government expenditure in general. Reducing taxation and spending up big on things like submarines means there is less money for the very services that everyone wants more of, health is a good example. And by the way, the opportunity cost of not fixing the roads is you paying for car repairs. All pretty simple, Mick.

Mick shook his head, finished his schooner and waved it in front of Bazza.

“Well, Mick, there is an opportunity cost in me shouting another beer. Let me explain.”

Mick joined friends at another bar table.

John Longhurst is a former industrial advocate and political adviser. He currently works as an English and History teacher on the South Coast of NSW.

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