Ron Manners: Tax Rebel from the West (1977)

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Transcript:
I’m sure everybody is going be very interested, because Ron doesn’t really believe in governments, from what I gather. Is this true Ron?

Ron Manners: That’s not quite true. I do believe that the government has certain roles, that they’re there to protect individuals, protect our rights and protect our property. And apart from that, I’d agree nothing much else.

Where things have gone wrong is, of course, they’ve stepped out of bounds and they’re getting involved in all aspects of our lives that should best be left to ourselves.

Such as what?

Ron Manners: I believe in West Australia, they’re involving themselves in frivolities such as the insurance aspects and things like that which I believe that’s just a role for competitive free enterprise. Let them cut each other’s throat and give us the best deal. But there’s no real need for governments to get involved in some of these business enterprises.

Do you think it’s just a way to make revenue for them and try and cut out the free enterprise people?

Ron Manners: I think it really goes beyond the politicians. It goes to the bureaucrats, who are very famous for their empire-building ambitions and this is the way it grows. It’s very hard to bring any discipline upon the bureaucrats, because most of them, are, as we know, unsackable. That’s something that doesn’t apply to any of us, because we’re all very sackable. And, they’re sort of protected game, more or less, and they take advantage of this to a great effect.

Well, you’re saying that, really, government are getting into things that should be free enterprise. What about a socialist government? How do you feel about them?

Ron Manners: Such as we have in Australia?

I mean, in parts of Australia.

Ron Manners: Well, they’re pretty much widespread. We’ve got socialist governments in Canberra. We had one and we have one again. And this is why our money is being virtually destroyed by the printing press actions of them. Once again, there’s no discipline, as there is in other countries, preventing the government from printing money above and beyond what’s matched by our increase in productivity. This is why we have inflation in Australia. Although the politicians like us to believe that it’s greedy unionists or greedy businessmen, it is really only government that creates this inflation.

That’s why our Australian dollar is really the fourth weakest international currency in the world and that’s a terrible thing.

It is, but don’t you think, as well as the government, a lot of the people of Australia are to blame too because of the low productivity. I mean, it’s okay to have high wages and a lot of money. If there is a high productivity, you can do this, but we don’t have a high productivity and that boils down to the average workers as far as I can see.

Ron Manners: It’s the result of government involvement, not the cause.

Whilst inflation is there and high taxation is there, we’ll never really have the rewards going to the right people. The wrong people are getting the prizes, which is terribly unfortunate … and it’s compared with other countries …

I’m on my way overseas. I’m writing an article for an overseas magazine called “The Alienated Australians”. And I have on my list probably about 25 Australians who have moved overseas, mainly businessmen. And they’ve moved overseas because of the oppressive amount of government interference in their lives, they can’t do the best of whatever their particular profession was. And they’ve just left, they just up and left and these are people that Australia cannot afford to lose.

Yep. It’s a great tragedy. And there are more and more of these people just about to bail out, because of all this bureaucratic red tape that an average businessman has to go through.

All right, now I know you believe in the barter system, because I have actually been in the barter system with you. I’ve never met you before, but I have bartered with you from state to state. Do you believe in the barter system? Because it doesn’t have any tax to it either. I don’t suppose you should go in for the barter system, should you, legally?

Ron Manners: Well, it’s a wonderful way of avoiding paying someone something to which they’re really not entitled.

One of the things I’m involved in is a bookshop, and we sell books to people, and these books are designed to help people protect themselves from our protectors. It’s a real crazy thing when the government is there to be our protector and yet we’ve got to take special steps to protect ourselves from the protectors. Barter is one of the ways of doing that.

I don’t really believe in personal income tax. I pay my way well and truly by all the other taxes, the side taxes that I pay through life. I objected to paying personal income tax and, as a result, I’ve not paid it since 1966.

How do you get away with that, may I ask?

Ron Manners: Well, it started off in a lighthearted vein when I got a fairly large tax assessment. I said, “What on Earth are they charging me for?” When you get a bill from a supplier, you question them, if you think it’s too high and that’s what I did. I asked them to justify the scale of charges and for about a year nothing had happened. It must have been a very difficult question.

A year later they sort of sent this other letter, I think they said, well, they started some sort of debate about paying it and then I, it was a fairly long letter, so I just wrote back and said thank you for your unsolicited correspondence, please withdraw my name from your mailing list. And that was fairly lighthearted and it really was at that time I didn’t have time to give them proper answers. Then it went for another year without hearing from them again. And I thought, wonderful.

But then I got another letter that sort of said, it was pretty blunt, but it said, I think, go directly to jail or something.

But still, I got involved in a fairly long philosophical debate about whether one should finance one’s own destruction. When I see most of the tax money being spent by government in doing the opposite to what they’re supposed to be doing, and that’s protecting us.

That’s happened regularly, yes, nobody can dispute that.

Ron Manners: Sooner or later we must protest. And there’s a very widespread tax revolt movement in Australia you might see something bumper stickers around in various states: “Taxes are revolting. Why aren’t you?”

Yeah, I’ve seen that, I’ve seen that.

Ron Manners: And it’s a good message, and we should think on this because.

Yes, but then aren’t you going to have absolute chaos? If everyone refused to pay their taxes

Ron Manners: No, limited government, we are already paying taxes with everything we buy.

Yeah, I’ve got to go along there. I think we’re one of the highest taxed countries in the world, aren’t we?

Ron Manners: You really have got to go overseas to find out how bad it is here. For instance, in January’s edition of Reader’s Digest. In every edition, except the Australian edition, there’s a beautiful article on Australia and just what has happened with excess taxation and reduction of incentives in Australia. But they did not print that in the Australian edition, because we’re very sensitive …

That’s censorship, isn’t it, basically, which is telling us what we’re to read and what we’re not to read about our own country.

Ron Manners: We really are restricted in what we can read.

What are your alternatives? Not talking about tax, but, say, to government. What do you put forward in your opinion, Ron? And also, where do you think Australia is headed if we go on the way we’re going?

Ron Manners: Well, as I said, we’ve got the fourth weakest currency in the world. There’s only three worse international currencies: the Italian Lira, the Pound Sterling, and the Greek Drachma, and then comes the Australian Dollar. All the other currencies are better because there’s no discipline on government. They can get involved, they can do anything, they can spend as much as they like, and they can print unlimited amounts of money. And this is just, if, for instance, 18 months ago you had taken your Australian Dollars and put them into Swiss Francs at no interest 18 months ago. Today, you’d be 45% better off and that is the measure of where we’re going and it’s still going that way. There’s no change.

Well, we’ll have to watch it. I mean, it happened in pre-war Germany, didn’t it, with the printing of the money?

Ron Manners: We’re on the brink of that. Once we get up to around 20% inflation, then there’s only one way to go and that’s hyperinflation.

And unfortunately, the inflation doesn’t seem to be improving in any way, whereas the other countries are mastering it.

Ron Manners: I was asked by a finance journalist in Taiwan 18 months ago. He asked me a question. He said, “Mr Manners, in Australia why does your government pay people not to work?”

It’s very true, too.

Ron Manners: This little oriental guy just was fascinated why we do things like this. They don’t do it and they don’t have inflation and then I said, “You’ve asked me a question. Can I ask you one? Why is it that in Taiwan you don’t have inflation?”

And he said, “It’s fairly simple. We’ve got a Reserve Bank, the same as you have; we’ve got a government, the same as you have; we’ve got a government who makes promises and wants to sort of be popular. And wants to spend your money on being popular. But above the Reserve Bank is a committee of six Chinese businessmen. And if the Reserve Bank, because the government wants to print 20% more money, the Chinese businessmen say, okay, what was our increase in productivity? And the answer might be 3%. And these Chinese businessmen say to the Reserve Bank, you can print 3% more money. Forget about the other 17% of the dreams, because that’s not on.” That’s what we need in Australia. Discipline.

It’s very interesting, isn’t it? I wonder if there are people listening who’d like to have a word with Ron Manners because some of his views are a bit startling and a bit, you almost say, way out. But at the same time, I can see the truth of them.

Ron Manners: It really is not way out, it’s logic.

Yes, it is logical. I think that if we have people call in and if they want to ask you any questions, will you be happy to answer them?

Ron Manners: I’ll do my best.

Jolly good, all right.

Beautiful day 21 degrees in Adelaide with Ken Dicken and Nan Witcomb. Guests this afternoon is Ron Manners and Margaret would like to talk with Ron. Hi, Margaret.

Margaret: Hi Ken, Hi Nan.

Hello, Ron’s listening to you.

Ron Manners: Okay, sure.

Margaret: Look, Ron … how do you feel about the way just take South Australia for argument’s sake. They spend money on some things that really are not necessary. Like, for argument’s sake, the Malaysian Week, which was advertised as 50,000. It’s now been proved that they’ve spent 150,000. And, today there’s an article in the paper from our First Lady saying she’s disappointed in our attitude towards it. And said what a wonderful time in Penang, but that also costs $211,000 and that is a fact. Do you think we’re too apathetic about these things, too?

Ron Manners: Margaret, the answer is fairly simple. If I’m employed by people as a politicians are employed by us and I have a budget of so much to spend on something like that. And if I overspend it three times as that was the case that you just mentioned, then I can expect to be reprimanded. I might not lose my job, but I might be told, well that’s once, Ron. And that’s where we’ve lost … our priorities are somewhat inverted here. We forgot whose working for who. We forget the real, this public servant bit, is almost a joke. They are running our lives now. We really should be really running their lives.

Margaret: That’s right and can I ask you something about taxation?

Ron Manners: Please do.

Margaret: I got a letter from them because they didn’t, I sent in some, this is 74-75 right? They sent me a letter about a very small amount, $12.46.

Then they got me in and we went all over 74-75 again. They told me that I would get money back and they also got me to sign two affidavits, to the effect of the reason why I didn’t do both these things, which I had done, which didn’t arrive, you see? Now, if you sign an affidavit, am I right, and it is not accepted, you are liable to be jailed? Right? If they don’t accept it as a fact.

Ron Manners: They do send people to jail for some things. They don’t sent people to jail in Australia for not paying tax. That’s okay. But they do send people to jail for telling lies.

Margaret: Yeah, for perjury.

Ron Manners: Now, you haven’t told a lie. But if you’ve just refused to supply certain information, then they cannot send you to jail for that.

Margaret: What I’m getting at is they just scrubbed it, they got me to sign it, then they said, that’s just a formality and they’re fining me $46 for it.

Ron Manners: What is the charge? Why are they fining you?

Margaret: For late return.

Ron Manners: No, I’d have to look at the specific act. They may have a point. And if they fine you, that was it.

But perhaps it would have been better for you to supply no information at all, because I know the Tax Department expects us to provide all sorts of information for the Tax Department. This is quite wrong, because you shouldn’t be expected to aid and abet a thief when he walks into your home. You shouldn’t have to take him by the hand and take him to which draws you’ve got your valuables in and things like that.

This is why we really lie down and surrender, because when these people ask us for our help to destroy ourselves, we usually give it. And this absolutely surprises me no end.

Margaret: Yeah, they’ve now told me that I can go in again and start all over again.

Ron Manners: Whatever you do, don’t cooperate with them, because that’s cooperating with criminals in many ways.

Dear or dear, that’s strong stuff, isn’t it? Don’t get yourself into too much trouble there, will you?

Ron Manners: Look Margaret, the one thing that you should remember is that they don’t really like people going to court, to the legal courts. Because there’s always a chance that the people will win. And this is what the taxation department cannot afford, so very rarely do they take you right to the court.

Margaret: I see.

Ron Manners: This is what I found.

Margaret: I shouldn’t like it anyway.

Ron Manners: It’s quite enjoyable if you have a bit of experience in court. It’s quite an enjoyable experience really.

Thanks for your call, Margaret. Hello, Ted?

Ron Manners: Good morning, Ted.

Ted: Good morning. I’m nearly 70, I remember Winston Churchill a long, long time ago, probably before you were born, saying what you just said, and I’m congratulated. And this is what I was saying about tackling his way of going on. He works on a percentage no higher.

Ron Manners: Sure, sure. Flat rate out tax. It’s the progressive we call income tax is a Marxist device that we’ve somehow accepted in most of our countries. It’s an anti-work tax to prevent people from being productive. Well, that’s not the way to get our country off the ground, is it?

Ted: I remember Chuchill saying it in 1932. That’s a way that England could get out of the Depression they had at that time and they got out of it. Just exactly that way.

That’s very interesting, isn’t it? Thank you very much for your call. … Hi Peter. You’d like to speak to Ron, would you? … Go ahead, he’s listening.

Ron Manners: Very good morning.

Peter: You said the government’s what causes all the inflation.

Ron Manners: The government is the prime cause for inflation.

Peter: I did my matriculation last year and in the theories it’s caused by three different things really. The wages, prices, and the government as well.

Ron Manners: Yes, I do honestly believe that wages and prices are a result of inflation. They’re not the cause for it. You’ve got to have fuel in there to get it going and all these other prices and wages rise as a result of inflation.

If we didn’t have any inflation, people wouldn’t really be pushing for higher wages. They wouldn’t need higher wages as much as they do now.

I don’t blame people for wanting higher wages. They’ve got to have it to live with inflation going the way it is. Once again, prices have got to go up before wages go up. But if the government does not inflate the currency. We will not have inflation and that is just a fact that cannot be argued with.

We had a visiting Nobel Prize economist in Australia last year, Professor Hayek and he said, it is bad enough that your government is destroying your money. That’s bad enough, but, he said, far worse your government has made it illegal for you to protect yourself against those government actions.

And he hit it right on the head, that’s the cause. Government is the cause of inflation.

Peter: In Japan, that has the government spends like crazy. That causes an increase in their productivity and that counters for their inflation

Ron Manners: Well, I know Japan has inflation and that you’ve explained why Japan has inflation.

It’s not one of the best currencies in the world and they have inflation, so we can’t hold up the Japanese Yen as an ideal currency to hold.

Peter: No, but even so they have a pretty, they have a standard of living’s increased hell of a lot over the last decade or so.

Ron Manners: Sure, they don’t have the taxation rates that we have in this country. There’s no reason for them not to work. There’s a very good reason for us not to work.

Peter: Yeah.

Ron Manners: They don’t pay people not to work there either.

Thank you for your call, Peter.

Peter: Okay, thanks.

Bye-bye, Peter.

Ron, thank you very much for coming and putting forward your views. You’ve no doubt created a lot of interest in many people’s minds.

Ron Manners: It’s been a pleasure meeting with you.

I’m sure you have. You’ve certainly created a lot of interest in my mind. Every time I do anything or pay anything now, I’m going to start thinking about it.

Ron Manners: Think twice, that’s right.

What you’re saying basically just before we do go, you don’t think people are really aware of their rights? Do you think a lot of the trouble stems from this?

Ron Manners: Absolutely, and this is one of the problems when the government has taken over the education industry. We are only taught what they want us to be taught and there’s a lot more to learn. And I’m learning fast.

Thank you Ron, bye-bye.

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