A Liberal MP from Sydney sparked a heated debate after posting a clip about the famous tax explosion of Australian media magnate Kerry Packer.
On LinkedIn, Northern Beaches MP Jason Falinski welcomed Mr. Packer’s speech and said, “Looking back at the 1980s when business leaders, well, led.”
The video came from a 1991 Senate investigation of the print media into Mr. Packer’s Australian Consolidated Press tax affairs.
“I do not evade taxes in any way,” said the publishing magnate when he was known to be reluctant to be questioned.
“Now of course I’m reducing my taxes.
“And if anyone in this country doesn’t cut their taxes, they want their heads read.
“Because I can tell you as a government that you are not spending so well that we should donate extra.”
Sydney Liberal MP Jason Falinski (pictured) sparked an internet firestorm after posting a clip about Australian media magnate Kerry Packer’s famous tax explosion
After a lengthy legal battle, Mr. Packer won a lawsuit with the tax office in 1998 to reduce his three-year income tax bill from $ 40 million to zero.
But Mr. Falinskis Post had many questions about whether a government MP should embrace tax minimization by the rich.
“So we have a state LNP member who applauds the dead billionaire who pays no taxes?” Business Development Manager Steve Reid replied to the post.
‘Maybe you want to explain why you celebrate Packer for “minimizing” his tax debt?
The MP’s contribution (pictured) generated hundreds of comments and the video was played almost 60,000 times on the business professional network LinkedIn
“Do you think minimizing tax debt through teams of expensive tax attorneys is an appropriate course of action for anyone who can afford the cost?
“Do you think it appropriate for a member of the elected government to celebrate tax minimization by billionaires?
“Do you consider tax laws, which contain several ways to minimize taxes, to be beneficial for our country?
“Why don’t you and your colleagues close the loopholes that allow tax minimization and increase our nation’s tax revenue?
“You support tax minimization by a billionaire. This is clearly not in our nation’s best interests. ‘
The government’s backbencher, Mr Falinksi, dismissed the criticism, adding: “I applaud your outrage on this matter.
“And no doubt there is no limit if you just wonder how much more you paid the government last year on top of what you were legally required to do?”
The video clip was from a 1991 Senate investigation into print media dealing with tax matters for Mr. Packer’s Australian Consolidated Press. (Pictured here is Kerry Packer with Robert Holmes à Court in 1985)
What speaks against tax minimization is that it benefits large corporations and the wealthy who can afford to invest huge sums in corporate tax lawyers.
In the case of Mr. Packer, even if he spent $ 10 million on tax specialists and attorneys in his 1998 legal battle with the Australian Tax Office, he still saved $ 30 million in the end.
However, for Australians with an average annual wage of $ 90,000, the options for minimizing taxes are much more limited and the possible rewards are unlikely to cover the costs involved.
Mr Reid was furious at the MP, branding his response “absurd” and adding, “Wow… still distracting and dishonest. Your question has no relevance.
After a lengthy legal battle seven years later, Kerry Packer, pictured left with his son James, in the middle, won a court battle with the tax office in 1998 to reduce his three-year income tax bill from $ 40 million to zero
“In response to trying to be a small business owner and comparing my ability to minimize taxes and Kerry Packer’s ability to minimize taxes.
“I haven’t hired teams of tax experts, lobbyists and lawyers to make sure I haven’t paid taxes – aren’t you responsible for the Australian people?”
But others stepped in to defend Mr. Packer.
“Your claim is incorrect,” said Chief Operating Officer Michael Locaso.
“He has kept his taxes to a minimum and has not avoided or not paid taxes, as was expressly stated in the committee. Hence, no laws were broken. In this case, very important to note. ‘
Business owner Paul Chaplin also noted that tax minimization had become an industry in its own right as companies continued to find loopholes in complicated laws.
“I love how tax minimization was and is the game of the corporate world, made with smoke and mirrors orchestrated by experts whose sole purpose is to achieve that goal,” he said.
Jason Falinksi’s post pictured had many questions about whether a government MP should stand up for people or businesses that minimize taxes
“Today’s tax system is still extraordinarily complex, multi-layered and for most people incomprehensible, let alone how Kerry and Co. work towards minimizing their tax burden.
‘[It’s] a practice that continues to this day with the full support of the government. ‘
Mr. Packer had a legendary career dominating the Australian media and owned the Nine TV network and ACP magazines after he took over the helm of the family business PBL in 1974.
When he died in 2005 at the age of 68, Nine was the number one channel in Australia and magazine sales were still going strong before his son James sold the media empire to get into gambling through Crown Casinos.
However, community worker David Hammond questioned whether Mr. Packer’s insights and expertise were over-praised simply because he was wealthy.
Kerry Packer (pictured) had a legendary career that dominated the Australian media and owned the Nine TV network and ACP magazines after taking over the helm of the family business PBL in 1974
“At the risk of being unpopular on a business network platform, I find the selfish feeling of superiority in the clip just as disappointing today as it was then,” he said.
“Lots of problems with what he says, but the general sadness is the disinterest in the life of most people in general and disadvantaged people in particular.
“The long held view that a person who has made huge sums of money has also developed a moral framework worthy of leadership is clearly wrong.
“It shows our basic belief that wealth = wisdom. I can’t see anything in this video that suggests wisdom. For me, it encourages self-interest. ‘
The clip also referred to Mr. Packer’s anger over what he believed to be an ever-increasing number of new government laws without repealing any pre-existing regulations.
The argument against tax minimization is that it benefits the privileged rich and large corporations who can afford to invest huge sums in corporate tax lawyers. (In the picture an archive image of the ASX)
He told the Senate Inquiry in 1991, “I didn’t try to sneak around or under the back door. These rules were created in 1986.
“I read the rules and said,“ What can I do? ”And that’s exactly what we did. Why do you want to change the rules again now? ‘
He added, “From when I was 18, 19 years old to now, 10,000 new laws have to be passed and I don’t really think it’s that much better place.
“If you want to pass a new law, why not do it after you’ve repealed an old one? That idea of passing laws every time someone winks is nonsense.”
There was overwhelming support for the feel and passion in Mr. Packer’s now legendary monologue.
Mr. Packer’s thoughts on nanny state resonated with IT manager John Charlton: “Far too much legislation, far too much work just to keep politicians and bureaucrats on the job.”
Chief Risk Manager Nicky Halton agreed, adding, “What a classic clip and lessons for governments today.
“Of course he would not have been given a platform in 2021 to speak like this, he would have been interrupted and overruled!”
A LinkedIn member posted about the irony of a government MP calling for charismatic leaders to return. (Pictured, former Prime Minister John Howard, left, with Kerry Packer)
Site Manager Bart Gerritsen said, “Kerry was a very smart, loyal and fair businessman.
“Kerry (not like most politicians) is not afraid to speak his mind and understand that making all voters happy is a fantasy.”
Business Director Jason Dowling regretted that, decades after Mr. Packer’s outbreak, little had actually changed.
“Yes Jason, but no red or blue state has even remotely heeded these wise words in nearly 35 years,” he wrote.
But Business Development Manager Andrew Sinclair felt that the underlying message had been overlooked by the Sydney MP.
“I disagree with Kerry,” he said.
“But the great irony of this post is that a member of the current political class longs for a time when we are better led by charismatic leaders with original ideas and the ability to plan and implement those ideas.”