Robin Hood, the people’s hero dressed in green, made a stand against the government of the day, made up of shady individuals like King John and the Sheriff of Nottingham.
They were always on the prowl, looking to fill their coffers by hitting up those who were most vulnerable and least able to afford it with so-called taxes. Why? Because it was too hard and too politically dangerous for them to make demands of the wealthy and powerful. And because it helped keep the poor in their place.
Maybe the tale of Robin Hood is a bit of folklore, but folklore is often a reflection of real life and how the people feel about scourges of inequity and injustice. Whether it is the Shire of Nottingham or the Shire of Yass Valley, it should be a concern for us all when some of the most vulnerable people in the community are suffering at the hands of bad government.
The mining tax, designed to extract a reasonable share of the mining boom for the Australian nation, has collected less money for the federal Labor government coffers than the amount stripped from sole parents who are now forced to survive on Newstart, which is basically the dole. Yes, the dole. That’s around $35 a day for food, housing, transport, power bills, and the costs of finding a job. The Newstart payment is 45 per cent of the minimum wage and the single rate is more than $133 a week below the poverty line. You would have to conclude that Labor’s commitment to supporting Australian families doesn’t apply to every Australian family.
The mining tax was supposed to fetch $2 billion from the mining magnates, the rich and powerful barons of today, for the government to spend on the Australian nation and people. Due to loopholes and concessions to the mining companies, the tax has raised just a fraction of that, $126 million, or around 15 per cent of what was originally intended.
By contrast, the federal government will be saving itself and its coffers around $700 million at the expense of sole parents, some of the most vulnerable in our community.
An elected Abbott federal Coalition government would totally remove any demands from the mining magnates to pay any such tax. On the other hand, they plan to remove around 12,000 public servant jobs with the inevitable reduction of services to people in the community, particularly those who are most in need.
Figure that one out. And if you can work out who are the Robin Hoods of today, give them all the support you can.