"Bye Bye Baby." Bay City Rollers
In 1941, when ANZACS were dying on the battlefield in the heat of WWII, a tax on wages, paid by employers, was first introduced by the Federal Government. The Pay-roll Tax Act was effected by two Acts of Parliament, conceived to fund obligations to pay child endowment at the rate of five shillings a week to the carer of more than one child under the age of 16. That's right, WWII, endowment and shillings. Switch your imagination to black & white and imagine reel to reel footage of the announcement of this, oh so, modern tax. I'm sure this momentous occasion will be available in the archives. Humbug. In the 1970's, the power to tax payrolls was transferred to the States and Territories. Around the same time, teen idol boy band, the 'Bay City Rollers' burst on the scene. They were bigger than The Beatles! They signalled a new era of confidence and enthusiasm, particularly out of their native home town of Edinburgh. The world was changing, fashion was changing, music was changing and society was changing. Can you smell the teen spirit? Politicians rammed their heads in the sand. They didn't like the music. They didn't like the fashion. They don't like change and 'we won't be reforming our tax system!'. Once ascended as an Act of Parliament, that tax is here to stay. There is a tapestry of taxes that are weaved through our economy over our brief history as a nation and I challenge you to find one that has been repealed. Anyone? Once a tax, always a tax.
Nearly 8 decades on, we still pay this tax. Despite the fact that the ‘5 shillings a week‘ doesn’t go to war widows with fatherless children. The many millions of dollars reaped from employers goes to general revenue. A tax on a tax. A tax on employing people. A tax on creating an economy. A cost to us who have been trying to create an economy since our Scottish friends were chart toppers. Mind boggling. How do you sleep at night?
ScoMo, please deliver us from this evil. Lead us to salvation. WWII is over, don't you know?
Bye Bye Pay-roll tax. I'm sick of the tune.