New Digital Television Program 8pm AEDT Monday to Thursday

Latest
21.02.22

Rhetoric and reality of Morrison Government miles apart

When they are not fighting one another with meaningless personal attacks or ramping up arguments about China and Russia, hoping the voter thinks one is more suited to the challenge than the other – when all that is not happening, each major party seeks to claim the political territory about growing our manufacturing base.

Remember, we were caught at the outset of Coronavirus, almost completely dependent on the production of our medical needs by foreign countries, in particular China.

This led to claims by both the Coalition and Labor that, in the tomorrow, we will be making this stuff ourselves.

Really?

The Morrison Government is often criticised for the gap that exists between rhetoric and reality.

Well, CSL is Australia’s biggest health company.

It hoped to build a factory in Melbourne to lessen Australia’s dependency on imported mRNA – the technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna jabs.

What has the Government done?

It hasn’t awarded the contract to the Australian CSL, but to Moderna, which was founded in 2010, in scientific terms, that is virtually yesterday; and Moderna is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

CSL, the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, was, by contrast, established in 1916, to service the health needs of Australia at a time when we were isolated by war.

In the years since, CSL has provided Australians with rapid access to 20th century medical advances including insulin and penicillin and vaccines against flu, Polio and other infectious diseases.

Such as been the expansion of CSL, it is regarded as an innovative global leader.

Put simply, this tried and tested Australian entity hoped to build a factory in Melbourne to lessen our dependency on foreign manufacturing and manufacturers, but the Federal Government gives the gig to an American outfit.

The Australian Government seemingly doesn’t want CSL.

The Moderna proposal won the day and now, I presume, foreign interests, knowing the CSL reputation and expertise are making calls containing, no doubt, the simple message, if your own country doesn’t want you, come to us.

The rhetoric and the reality of the Morrison Government seem miles apart.

One other point should be made which has had no debate.

All the pub talk since this virus overwhelmed the world has been based on the simple question, how much are pharmaceutical companies making out of this?

Remember, nothing is “free”.

So, when the Government says all that testing which produced the repetitive recitation of case numbers, all of that, we were told, was “free”; the vaccines were “free”; the RAT tests were “free”.

We know that is not the case.

Pharmaceutical companies have been paid billions, so many billions that the Government won’t tell us how much.

If Government playing Santa Claus to pharmaceutical companies in this way is not enough, the Government is now saying, with what is called “Patentbox” legislation, that it will halve the corporate tax rate on locally commercialised research.

Pharmaceutical companies can’t believe their luck.

A tax rate of 17 per cent on profits on products that are developed and then manufactured in Australia.

Can we stop the printing presses for a moment as government seems to be printing money for pharmaceutical companies?

As a result of government decisions on Coronavirus, the share price for pharmaceutical companies has gone through the roof.

A week ago, the CSL share price went up 8.5 per cent to $263.69, half-yearly earnings of $2.45 billion.

So shareholders are making a windfall out of government decisions; those decisions are funded by the taxpayer and the government then turns around and says that all you wonderful people who have made a fortune out of government edicts on Coronavirus will now only be taxed at 17c in the dollar.

Needless to say, the praise for the Government from the pharmaceutical companies has no ending.

Can we have some debate on this?

Outfits that are already massive beneficiaries of government decisions are now being treated differently on the taxation front.

How many businesses could argue that their endeavours and innovation and outputs are of massive benefit to Australia?

But would they get a concessional tax rate in return of 17c in the dollar?

I think not.

Coronavirus has taken us down roads we have never travelled before and to where we should never travel again.