These are the letters:
Subsidising kickbacks to the enemy - your tax dollars at work
I was appalled to read that the kickbacks paid by AWB to Saddam Hussein's regime could be claimed as tax deductions and that the deduction equates to about $90 million in saved taxes ("Kickbacks tax-deductible", December 21). If AWB had any moral fibre, it would withdraw its request for tax deductibility for the payments. Why should taxpayers have to subsidise AWB's shady activities in Iraq? It is absurd that these payments are allowed to be tax-deductible when child-care payments made by Australian families are not.
Gary McGrath Artarmon
My taxes, with those of other taxpayers, went to help fight the war against the Iraqi government. AWB is getting a tax deduction for assisting the Iraqi government and therefore its war effort against us. Is this what our Government calls a win-win situation?
Brian Carpenter Algester (Qld)
So bribes paid to Saddam Hussein's regime by AWB, which quite possibly ended up funding an insurgency that plants bombs which maim and kill Iraqi children and 19-year-old American soldiers, are ruled tax-deductible by the Tax Office. Your tax dollars at work. Doesn't it make you feel warm inside? Merry Christmas to the Tax Office and the Federal Government which, whenever you think it can sink no lower, always manages to surprise.
Ian Newman Willoughby
If I were to work too long or make too much money or not declare earnings above my disability pension, I would be stripped of income. AWB steals $300 million from starving Iraqi children, gives it to Saddam to buy bombs and bullets and build his wretched palaces and gets to claim it as a tax deduction while the Government reduces pensions and payments for the unemployed.
Marilyn Shepherd Kensington
In any other country, a company such as AWB, which paid $300 million to
the enemy, would be charged with high treason. Here it gets a tax break. Why should taxpayers have to pay for AWB corruption and a negligent Government?
Peter Rutherford Barwon Heads (Vic)
First we have an inquiry set up by the Government to clear itself of wrongdoing over the AWB scandal, with predictable results. Now the Tax Office calls the kickbacks to Saddam legitimate, so AWB can use the corrupt payments as a tax dodge. Poor old Graham Richardson must be feeling a little miffed as the Tax Office pursues him over his tax affairs ("Richardson faces new tax demand", December 21).
Gold Coast (Qld)
With AWB getting such a wonderful Christmas present from the Government, does that mean burglars can claim deductibility for their "tools of trade"?
Michael Arrighi Unanderra
So I guess my point is that as people not versed in tax law - how many pages is the Tax Act now? - it's just not possible to understand how such an outcome can happen. But on the surface it just seems nothing short of insane - leaving aside any notion of fairness, justice, equity or right and wrong.
There's a few regular commenters in the above list, so the list can't be fairly said to represent Howard's "mob". And I suppose you have to take into account that it is the SMH (cue boos and hisses) and so represnts a certain demographic. But everyone's entitled to a view and something that seems as outrageous as this surely can't go unnoticed by government. Can it? Anyone taking bets? (No commos allowed!).
Anyway, here's to a merry Christmas and a happy new year to all of our reader. Stay safe, have fun, don't forget to spread the lovin' and keep chasing those dreams.
VVB will return on 2 January, which happens to be its first anniversary. At which time we will decide what to do with VVB in 2007. Kill it? Let it mutate? Let it grow?
Ah, choices. The single, economically pure and rational answer to all that ails you. Brought to you by...
(*) I like the notion of a "test for obviousness". Because obviously this is just insane.