Tronson du Coudray's art 'Praise'
History lesson - some have claimed, that former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd lost his Prime Ministership at the hands of Labor factions (the faceless men) partly due to his inability to convey to the Australian people the true worth and value of the mining 'super tax'.
Two years later, in 2009 Labor under Prime Minister Julia Gillard with the support of the independents in the Lower House of Parliament and the Greens in the Senate, had passed a slightly different mining 'super tax' renaming it and spending a great deal of time explaining it to the public.
In this situation the facts speaks for themselves. Rudd, it's claimed, failed to explain it satisfactorily and it helped to drive his popularity down, whereas Gillard took an astonishing amount of time to explain her version of it, and got it through. (Whether the mining tax made enough money is another separate question). Subsequently Liberal Prime Minister Tony Abbott abolished the tax.
Then, we see another tax situation, this time in France. Super film star hero of a thousand names and film roles, the sex symbol of a generation, Gerard Depardieu, whose relocation to a village of tax exiles in Belgium was disclosed a week ago, has told French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault that he will give up his French passport.
Depardien was fed up. He will not pay 85% of his income in tax, when we he can live in the village of Nechin, just across the French border in Belgium, a town that has many rich French residents, all who prefer Belgium's lower income taxes. And moreover Russia has given him citizenship.
This is nothing new. Many of the world's wealthy people have their citizenship relocated to tax friendlier shores and many have large bank deposits in countries that have established banking 'tax havens' where the taxing system is much more to their liking.
The question therefore is, do some Governments pour sackcloth and ashes over their own heads and in effect, lose many wealthy income earners when it could have been avoided, or are the citizens themselves so greedy, they'd find any excuse and do anything at all, to reduce their tax liability.
Tronson du Coudray's art 'Contract'
To the first, there are countless examples of Australian companies who have closed their doors due to the costs associated with operating in Australia and relocated in a country where those overheads are less strenuous to the bottom line.
We might refer to issues such as payroll tax, company tax, tax on motor vehicles and transport, tax on manufacturing and a host of other taxes. In the end, a determination is made, and off shore it goes. In some situations, like motor vehicle manufacturing Government deals are done to keep them in place, but eventually that cannot keep going.
It is said that Australia needs to get smarter in the way in which the nation operates, and often this refers to IT issues and Australia beats well above its weight in these areas. So it is a case of reinventing the nature of running business in Australia and simply waving goodbye to those industries too heavily weighted on the other?
As Australia was so heavily imbued upon the mineral sector, issues such as a super profits mining tax needed to be handled with care, as the mining sector can go elsewhere when costs outweigh the benefits.
Therefore, Governments need to analyse such issues with care, and policies might well be in place to encourage and enhance one sector, (while not discouraging exactly), favours may not be handed out to other sectors demonstrating "a direction".
To the second, that is of wealthy individuals who weight up the taxing options in a global economy, where there are multiple choices where to domicile yourself for taxation purposes. Such people make their own decisions.
There is nothing new in this, people who are of sufficient means do make such choices and their original business country pays the price for exacting too high a price of their wealth makers. Those people are being penalised for showing talent and often an entrepreneurial spirit.
Is this really what we're about? The tall poppy syndrome in Australia functions on the basis that if you have done well, obviously you've cheated to get there. There may well be situations of that nature. On the other hand, ask small business owners who have done well, they'll tell you of their long hours and dedication to the task, of their sacrifices without holidays or sick days.
Tronson du Coudray's art 'Workable'
Missions and missionaries
And what of missionaries, whose motive is neither wealth or long term health, rather to be of service to the Lord in benevolence and the Gospel to whomever they serve. In years past money wasn't available through ATMs. Having accounts across the world was an ongoing administrative issue. Today, ATMs are available (almost) anywhere in the world, as missionaries can get to cities from time to time; where banking is made easier.
After 9/11 when the US introduced the Patriot Act, missions around the world found overseas financial transfers more difficult. I wrote to the then Australian Prime Minister John Howard of this, as my wife Delma and I were engaged in much overseas mission travel and ministry – I was the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years and I saw Mr Howard at the cricket from time to time (John Howard is what they call a cricket tragic). The difficulties for missions were shortly thereafter eased up.
Nothing in this world seems to be cut and dry. There are wheels within wheels and where a situation can be unpicked, onion layer upon onion layer, the real reasons are surprisingly often to do with political ploys and political considerations, rather than anything else.
Mind you, Churches and Missions are not exempt from intrigue and they too have layers of onion upon onion layer. Jesus wept!
Tronson du Coudray's art 'Before Dawn'
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at