Sunday, August 31, 2008

Alcopop Back flip

A few weeks back I reported on the Federal Governments’ lame attempts to curb youth binge drinking by increasing the tax on pre-packaged, pre-mixed alcoholic lolly water known as RTDs or Ready To Drink spirits. I was fairly critical of the measures employed because they were never really going to address the real causes of overdoing the drink and because they were merely a thinly veiled effort to be SEEN to be doing something while secretly grabbing for cash.

By way of an update on this situation, here are some recent developments. I should point out here that I have no intention of letting this blog stray from its beery roots and allow it to get all political – just file this under ‘D’ for ‘Dickheads’.

For a bill to pass into law here in Australia, it must be approved by both the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament and it would seem that the current Government, perhaps drunk on its own sense of power, perhaps just being dickheads, raised the alcopop tax months ago and then just kinda ‘assumed’ that the Opposition and the Independent senators would just rubber stamp it retrospectively. Not. Ooops!

So now the Government is faced with a dilemma. Apart from having to stand on a milk crate with their dacks around their ankles singing ‘I Was Wrong’, they now have a lazy $3 million dollars in ill-gotten tax gains from good honest consumers which they are obliged to – wait for it – KEEP! Despite telling all who will fall for crap that the evil Spirit Distillers will receive the lot and never, ever, ever pass it on to their consumers, the Government knows well that the process is entirely different in reality. It is the Governments money and good luck getting it back.

To claim back any tax ‘over paid’ the claimant must make a challenge through the court system. Costly at best and a right pain in the jacksie at worst. Even if the industry could get what they are entitled to, the cost and effort involved in then returning it to the consumer (of course, you all kept ALL your receipts, didn’t you?!) would be near impossible. The Government, in trying to cover up their stuff up, is deflecting blame and responsibility by painting the industry (who said from the start that the initial plan was flawed) as the bad guys!

And further to the figures that I quoted previously showing that sales of full strength spirits had increased as the RTDs sales dipped, the bureaucrats turned in a set of figures of their own which showed this was incorrect – that everything the Government had set out to do, it had achieved and then some – which it now turns out were based on a different set of variables such as different reporting days and using a different time frame from which the figures were taken. Fancy using statistics to disprove your oppositions claims! As Homer Simpson said, “Statistics can be used to disprove anything – 75% of people know THAT!!”

As a post script, the Distilled Spirits Industry has publicly gone on record as saying that not only did it never seek to re-claim any tax windfall had the tax fallen through, but that they formally supported the money being returned into Government programs to educate and tackle the issues associated with youth binge drinking. Take that Kevin, ya ‘cats bum-mouthed, lip-licking, nancy-walking toss pot!*

Prof. Pilsner

*Kevin, for those who don’t know, is Kevin Rudd, or Kevin 07, or K-Rudd the recently elected Prime Minister. He’s probably a really nice bloke and I’m sure his Mummy is very very proud of him.


Tim said...

Ahh, Kevin Rudd. Is it just me or does his hair look like a lego mans hair? a clip on job?
David Koch has a lot to answer for, given that his popularity was only because he appeared regularly on breakfast TV. Could be worse though - we could have Morris Dillemia as PM!

Beer Blokes said...

Yeah, spot on - and not a cool lego man like an astronaut or the fireman but the dodgy lego man who could've been a school principal or a maybe a kiddie-fiddler! Spose you're aware that Morris Iama nanna is in more shit than a Werribee duck at the moment! (Not sure what the Sydney version of the state sewage treatment facility is - Bondi Beach!? Brookvale Oval?!) Nice to know we are providing expats with the real news on Australian politics!

Anonymous said...

Dear Professor,

I'm glad you have picked up the errors that my successor has already made in regards to the tax on spirits. This is another of the reasons why I refused to act on binge drinking in my rather long stay at the helm.
My strategy of deliberating for ridiculous amounts of time on some issues, pontificating for aeons on others and generally doing nothing but raise the pay of myself and my colleagues (Labor too-those ungrateful bastards!) Climate Change, Fuel Shortage pah! My inaction has helped develop a culture of apathy that I'm proud of.
Got to go now I hear there are some Indonesian Muslims trying to paddle to our Northern shores on canoes.
Keep Up The Good Work
Little Johnny (aka Mr Sheen)

Beer Blokes said...

Good to hear from you, LJ,
Glad to see that you are enjoying the musings of the Beer Blokes - you really should contribute a comment or something more often. A lot more often. Feel free to drop by anytime. I must introduce you to Dr Lager - you'd like him. Bit like K-Rudd though - not around much!
Prof. Pilsner