Dick Smith has labelled Australian billionaires as ‘some of the greediest people out’ – as he called on the nation’s wealthy to pay more tax.
The self-made millionaire took aim at the nation’s wealthiest while arguing the top one per cent of earners (himself included) should be contributing more to help the country balance its budget.
‘I can tell you, wealthy people like me can easily pay more tax,’ he told 2GB’s Ben Fordham.
‘We have one hundred billionaires in this country. They are some of the greediest people out.
‘Only 15 per cent are known as philanthropists, and a lot of these billionaires would do everything they can … in fact they just complain constantly about the tax they have to pay when they can easily afford it.
Mr Smith made the comments while discussing proposed superannuation changes to double the tax on superannuation accounts of more than $3 million.
The entrepreneur took aims at Australia’s 100 billionaires (above the top ten) who he said could easily afford to pay more tax thus helping the nation pay off its debt
Millionaire entrepreneur Dick Smith has made an extraordinary attack on Australia’s billionaires – saying that there are a hundred of them and they are ‘some of the greediest people out’
‘The country needs money. It’s a fantastic country, it’s got incredible education, roads, military, it needs money to pay for that and we’re into great debt and we should be paying the debt off and not letting our kids have to do that in the future.
‘If you have a billion dollars you are really wealthy.’
Mr Smith did not name any of the billionaires except the late Kerry Packer, who once famously told a federal tax inquiry back in 1991: ‘I don’t know anybody that doesn’t minimise their tax.
‘I’m not evading tax in any way shape or form,’ Packer told the inquiry in 1991. ‘Of course I’m minimising my tax. If anybody in this country doesn’t minimise their tax they want their head read.’
Mr Smith said the current Federal Government’s superannuation shakeup had the approval of 64 per cent of Australians.
Dick Smith said Australia’s 100 billionaires, of which Gina Rinehart is the nation’s richest, could ‘easily’ pay more tax and should do so that Australia could reduce debt for future generations
Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest is Australia’s second richest person, among the 100 billionaires Dick Smith called on to pay more tax so that the country could pay off its national debt
‘We need the money to run this fantastic country and all I’m saying is not all people are like Kerry Packer who said … he got no enjoyment out of paying tax and he would do everything he could to minimise it.
‘There are plenty of people around … wage earners who pay their tax and they have to pay their tax and we do incredible things with it, it’s a fantastic country.’
He quoted businessman Mark Carnegie, saying: ‘I agree with him … the wealthy can pay more tax and pay some of our debt back and our kids and grandkids don’t have to pay.’
Daily Mail Australia contacted five billionaires among the list of Australia’s top 100 wealthiest people and asked about their response to Mr Smith’s comments and what philanthropic works they did.
A spokesperson on behalf of Atlassian founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar responded saying the Atlassian Foundation was the philanthropic arm of the software business had donated $US54m to education and tackling disadvantage.
Atlassian founders Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes are among Australia’s top ten richest people and point out the philanthropic arm of their software business contributed 1pc or $US54m to education and other causes
‘We contribute 1% of our equity, profit, employee time and products to the Foundation,’ Atlassian said.
Andrew Forrest, chairman of Fortescue Metals, runs with his wife Nicola the Minderoo Foundation, which invests $2.6 billion into causes including child cancer research, childhood education and reducing global warming and overfishing, and plastic pollution.
Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting sponsors women in sport, a girls’ sponsorship program in Cambodia, funds the National Breast Cancer Foundation and programs for at-risk youth and domestic violence victims.
Other billionaires have listed philanthropic programs they fund with profits, usually via a charity such as Meriton mogul Harry Triguboff’s Foundation for youth and chronic illness.
Last week, Australia’s richest person Gina Rinehart denied she was the mystery billionaire with a superannuation balance of $544million, which the Australian Tax Office listed as its top super balance.
”That’s a ridiculous amount of money,’ Mr Smith said, ‘You don’t actually need five hundred million dollars to retire.
‘It wasn’t me, I have nothing like that.’
But he said that ‘wealthy people like me … I’ve always said we can pay a bit more tax.
‘I’m in the one per cent group that has the same amount of money as the 17 million Australians who are typical wage earners.
‘Mark Carnegie said a few years ago “my proposal is the richest 15 per cent of the community pay 15 per cent more tax in order to set ourselves up optimistically and positively for the next generation and the generation after that’.
‘I don’t believe we should be targeting mums and dads, I think there’s a chance for the typical wage earner to pay less tax.’
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