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Death tax fake news

Written By: - Date published: 10:47 am, May 21st, 2019 - 62 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, australian politics, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, facebook, interweb, journalism, making shit up, Media, Politics, tax, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, twitter, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

As everyone gets their head around what happened in Australia news is coming out about the role that social media played.  And it was not a positive role.

This tweet caught my interest:

The responses are concerning.

The spread of misinformation appears to have gone far and wide.

And this particular allegation has been circulated for a while.  In April Labor demanded that Facebook take these posts down but clearly this did not happen.  From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Labor has demanded Facebook investigate apparent “fake news” posts claiming the opposition is planning to introduce a “death tax” on inheritances, in the first major test of the social media giant’s promise to crack down on false election material.

The posts and messages shared via Facebook messenger incorrectly claimed Labor had signed a covert deal to bring in a 40 per cent inheritance tax and carried a link to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s website, though the Liberal Party said it was not behind the posts.

“Labor, the Greens and unions have signed an agreement to introduce a 40 percent inheritance tax,” the crudely written message states.

“Everything you own cannot go to your kids or next of kin at death 40 percent goes to the govt. Please share this with all your friends.”

One Nation has been running with this line for a while, but the Liberals more recently got in on the act.  A Canberra Liberal advertising truck had the slogan, “Labor will tax you to death” printed on it, clearly implying that a death tax was on the cards, and Josh Frydenberg, LNP Treasurer said that an inheritance tax under Labor was not out of the question because the idea has previously been favoured by opposition frontbencher and economist Andrew Leigh as well as the union movement.

There was also a scaremongering press release from a fictitious housing organisation and Scott Morrison also got in on the act.  From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Mr Morrison said “it sounds to me that he has struck a deal with the Greens” and questioned what the terms would be.

“What is that deal with the Greens? The Greens are up for death taxes. Even Andrew Leigh is up for death taxes, let alone the union movement,” he said.

“What is the deal that Bill Shorten has with the Greens to get all of his taxes through and to get all of his carbon abatement policies, emissions reduction policies, which he won’t even explain to the Australian people.”

There was also the perennial if Labor gets elected your rents would go up with a scaremongering letter sent to many tenants.

From Danielle Wood on ABC news:

The lowest blow of this election campaign may have come from a firm of real estate agents that abused its position of trust to scare renters about Labor’s proposed negative gearing changes.

If you are one of those renters, relax. You have nothing to fear from the changes. You might even benefit from them. The only interests the real estate firm is protecting are its own.

Late last week Raine & Horne principal Graham Cockerill wrote to tenants saying Labor’s changes would be “devastating” and included material from the Real Estate Institute of Australia warning of what might happen if “the planned changes to negative gearing do go ahead”.

“The fall in property prices will decrease the value of 18 million Australians’ retirement nest eggs,” and “rents will rise” the material warns.

“Further, government savings will be less than estimated, unemployment will rise and our whole economy will be in jeopardy.”

Other renters have received official-looking material apparently sent by the Liberal Party reading “Final Notice: Rent Increase”.

It’s a jumped-up scare campaign. But some renters may give it more credibility than it’s worth because some of it comes from the people who normally notify you when your rent is going up.

Of course the claim is absolute bollocks.  Reversing negative gearing should reduce house prices which should then have a negative effect on rentals.  It is appalling that the claim was even made.

What effect did these have?  In a very tight election you have to wonder.

And what should we do?  Singapore recently passed a law that requires online media platforms to carry corrections or remove content the government considers to be false.  Penalties can be as high as prison terms of up to 10 years or fines up to NZ$1.1 million.

I am not advocating that New Zealand should do the same.  But Facebook and Twitter and the other social media providers should have a legal as well as moral obligation to deal with these events when they are pointed out to them.

If you really want to get concerned this discussion by Tom Barraclough about deepflakes and synthetic media will do the job.

We live in very interesting times …

62 comments on “Death tax fake news ”

  1. Labour and the greens will have to be all over this when it happens, and it will happen, in 2020.

    From the get go, the story will have to be not the fake news, but those behind it, and not months later like with the Exclusive bretheren bullshit.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      I remember that well. Back then it was a matter of the EBs doing a mass pamphlet drop. This time it will be more spread out, more diffuse and harder to pinpoint.

      • The Al1en 1.1.1

        I'm sure we'll all pick up the death tax type ads in real time. It would make sense that when it does happen there is a coordinated push back to immediately go on the offensive. No point leaving it until after the damage has been done.

        • mpledger 1.1.1.1

          The problem is

          “If you're explaining, you're losing.”

          ― Ronald Reagan, The Reagan Diaries

  2. higherstandard 2

    Hyperbole and outright lies being told at election time, I'm shocked…

  3. adam 3

    "remove content the government considers to be false."

    The censorship crowd, getting sillier with every day.

    Maybe if the ALP offered somthing apart from hard right economics, it might have won.

    • dv 3.1

      Yep really silly.

      Want to see lotsa lies

    • The Al1en 3.2

      So according to you, the hard right labor lost to the harder right coalition with, in the two party preferred vote, a combined 100% of the total.

      Not much room for anarchic no hope merchants to swing a dead cat.

      • adam 3.2.1

        You will note I said hard right economics, probably a bit hard for your tiny brain to spot the difference.

        But keeping praying to not be a dumb ass, it might work out for ya.

        • The Al1en 3.2.1.1

          That doesn't change the answer I gave, nor lessen it's impact on your badly made point. Either way, those hard right economics resonated with the voters, and makes your theory completely moot.

  4. Rapunzel 4

    It will happen to a degree it already does with "announcements" that by omission are not accurate, the fact that some MSM are paywalled means the general public who are resisting paying for rubbish may not see the "opinion" pieces that verge on this, often the headlines alone are already misleading, or the responses that refute the claims being made.

  5. Muttonbird 5

    Other renters have received official-looking material apparently sent by the Liberal Party reading “Final Notice: Rent Increase”.

    Far out, that is disgusting from the Liberal Party. Who the hell authorises that?

    It just confirms the evil within and without of right wing people the world over. What revolting people they are.

    • Wensleydale 5.1

      Lie, lie and lie some more… just so long as you win. Fake it until you make it, basically. And yes, they are scum.

      “The desire to be a politician should bar you for life from ever becoming one.” — Billy Connolly

      And Real Estate Agents, eh? Suit-clad cockroaches for the most part. I'm sure there are probably exceptions, but I haven't met any. It's probably one of the few occupations whose practitioners seem to actively encourage you to hate them.

    • alwyn 5.2

      Gosh, your complaint rings a bell. Now what does it remind me of?

      Oh yes. Do you remember the disgusting official-looking material that was sent out to State House tenants in 2005 at election time? It purported to be an ejection notice.

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10344943

      To correct your last two sentences

      "It just confirms the evil within and without of left wing people the world over. What revolting people they are."

      • Muttonbird 5.2.1

        Using David Benson-Pope in your defence? Mkay, then.

        And…National proceeded to evict tenants and sell state houses when they eventually did grab power.

        • alwyn 5.2.1.1

          You really do believe everything your beloved party tells you don't you?

          Well I guess it demonstrates that fake news works.

        • McFlock 5.2.1.2

          Yup. HNZ stock declined by about 800 dwellings a year under nact.

          • Muttonbird 5.2.1.2.1

            Tough love, eh? A bit of time on the streets never hurt anyone.

            Despite Benson-Pope being a right wanker he was spot on in this case. Have to thank alwyn for bring this to the forum’s attention.

            • alwyn 5.2.1.2.1.1

              "A bit of time on the streets never hurt anyone".

              I incline to believe that you have never actually had to exist while living in the street. Only a complete fool would make such a claim. What a miserable prick you are demonstrating yourself to be by telling us the truth about your disgusting beliefs.

              Perhaps you should come down to Wellington and try it yourself. Over the last year or so the number of people living rough on the streets has risen a lot. Come on down and tell them how good it is for them and how privileged they are to be able to live that way while the Government we are stuck with throws all our money at important things like all weather horse-racing tracks for their mates in the racing industry.

              • Muttonbird

                Missed the irony, alwyn? Not the only thing you miss.

                • alwyn

                  You said it sonny. No good now trying to pretend you don't mean it. When you reveal what you really think, even if you didn't mean to admit what a ratbag you are, you are just going to have to wear it. It's no good pretending that you didn't mean what you said. You are a schmuck and you might as well admit it.

                  • Muttonbird

                    This is pretty low level stuff, alwyn.

                    Thing I've noticed about all you RWNJs is you get a bit testy when your lack of compassion gets shoved in your mean, smug faces.

          • alwyn 5.2.1.2.2

            That is a pretty poor defense of the Labout Party b*s from you McFlock. I thought you could do better than that in defense of their outright lies.

            That letter went to about 70,000 people whose address on the Electoral Roll corresponded to a State House. Given the number of State Houses they were clearly trying to send a personally addressed letter to every State House tenant they could identify.

            They told every single one of them that they would be evicted if National became the Government. Every Single One. In other words it was a claim that National were going to get rid of every State House. Even the most gullible git of a Labour supporter must find that very hard to believe to have been the truth.

            Surely you aren't really so foolish? Or, as you and MB seem to be demonstrating, perhaps you really are so stupid.

            • McFlock 5.2.1.2.2.1

              "They told every single one of them that they would be evicted if National became the Government. Every Single One. In other words it was a claim that National were going to get rid of every State House. "

              Really? What was the full text of the "letter"?

              Speaking of lies, from your link:

              However, National housing spokesman David Carter reiterated last night that houses would only be sold to tenants who wanted to buy, and that existing tenants would be protected from market rents.

      • Stuart Munro. 5.2.2

        Reaching.

        The Exclusive Brethren leaflet of lies in the Coromandel was a standout. One of the claims that got my goat was a claim that the Greens would introduce a CGT. Having just spent several months trying to persuade them to adopt one, and failing, it was pretty off-pissing to see the liars impugning them for something they wouldn't do, a couple of days before the election.

        Gnat paws were all over this pack of lies, as usual.

  6. Reality 6

    As the Prime Minister is a devout "Christian" (on Sundays) one wonders what his thinking is on the telling of falsehoods?

    • Wensleydale 6.1

      He probably feels much the same way as Catholic cardinals do about child sex abuse. "It's all completely fine just so long as no one finds out about it. Then it gets all awkward and embarrassing and stuff, and we have to pay people money."

  7. Ad 7

    We have probably only one more election in which we will win simply on Jacinda-power.

    After that we will need our own extreme headlines.

    Far better to fight fire with fire than complain about things being "unfair".

    We lose when we're polite.

    • indiana 7.1

      I thought star dust and prancing unicorns lasted forever!

      • Ad 7.1.1

        Baby+Massacre+Engagement extends the vibe pretty well

      • Gabby 7.1.2

        Ponyboy pulling the pin must've been a right ol kickinthguts for you indinana.

      • alwyn 7.1.3

        "lasted forever".

        That was only Puff the magic dragon. Since she got dumped by the UN Puff seems to have re-appeared on our shores trying to set herself up as the arbiter of what anyone is allowed to say, and what is allowed to go on at a stadium that has been there longer than she has. Is she back living in Mt Eden or does she just claim the right to speak on the local residents behalf?

        • Drowsy M. Kram 7.1.3.1

          Alwyn, which NZ female MPs do you rate? Who’d make your 1st 15, or 30, or 45?

          IMHO, NZ female MPs with admirable principles &/or notable firsts/achievements include (in chronological order, excluding MPs elected for the first time in 2017):

          Elizabeth McCombs
          Mabel Howard
          Hilda Ross
          Ethel McMillan
          Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan
          Dorothy Jelicich
          Marilyn Waring
          Ann Hercus
          Helen Clark
          Ruth Richardson
          Margaret Shields
          Fran Wilde
          Margaret Austin
          Annette King
          Sonja Davies
          Jenny Shipley
          Lianne Dalziel
          Christine Fletcher
          Judith Tizard
          Ruth Dyson
          Sandra Lee
          Phillida Bunkle
          Pam Corkery
          Jeanette Fitzsimons
          Laila Harre
          Marian Hobbs
          Nanaia Mahuta
          Georgina Te Heuheu
          Tariana Turia
          Georgina Beyer
          Sue Bradford
          Sue Kedgley
          Winnie Laban
          Margaret Wilson
          Metiria Turei
          Maryan Street
          Jacinda Ardern
          Tracey Martin
          Mojo Mathers
          Eugenie Sage
          Megan Woods

          • alwyn 7.1.3.1.1

            H'm, a real challenge. I don't really know very much about the very early ones so they are probably going to miss out, perhaps unfairly. For example the only thing I know about McCombs is that she was the first, at some time in the 1930s. The only thing about Mabel Howard was her waving her XXXOS bloomers about in the House. She would be my first reserve.

            However my top 10 would be as follows. They are not in order and they have been chosen only from the short list you have prepared. Why you left out so many of the National woman is hard to understand. You certainly haven't chosen the best available have you? For example how could you possibly include a crook like Metiria Turei but leave out people like Collins and Bennett is beyond my understanding. Why you would include Jelicich or Mathers but not Tombleson is also impossible to understand.

            However, choosing from you rather odd selection of candidates I would pick

            Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan
            Marilyn Waring
            Helen Clark
            Ruth Richardson
            Fran Wilde
            Jenny Shipley
            Phillida Bunkle
            Jeanette Fitzsimons
            Tariana Turia
            Sue Bradford

            If I worked from a complete list of woman MPs I suppose half of my ten might survive into a final list. Why did you pick your list the way you did? Surely you don't really think they were the pick of the crop?

            • Drowsy M. Kram 7.1.3.1.1.1

              Thanks Alwyn – my (stated) criteria were "principles and/or notable firsts/achievements". Should have included Bennett (first female deputy PM). Are you really puzzled that our lists might differ so?

              Metiria is a crook in your eyes (naturally), and has yet to be charged with anything – maybe you should get on to that.

  8. Dennis Frank 8

    "In a video posted to her Facebook page, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson can be seen telling people at the festival that Bill Shorten and Labor would reintroduce a 40 per cent death tax if they stormed to power." https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-09/money-pumped-into-federal-election-death-tax-scare-campaign/11092802

    On what basis is she making this assertion? History, apparently: "In an interview on Sydney radio station 2GB in April, Labor's assistant shadow treasurer Andrew Leigh, who once wrote in favour of the tax, was at pains to stress the party would not be implementing one. "Inheritance taxes died at the federal level 40 years ago in 1979. Labor has no plans to bring them back," Dr Leigh said. "Thirteen years ago I was an academic floating ideas. Now, as a policymaker, I've been asked repeatedly my views on inheritance taxes, death taxes over the years. I've always said I don't support them. Labor doesn't support them."

    So her attempt to scare voters has an historical basis, but no valid basis in current reality. Such fake news ought to be illegal, and heavily penalised. I'd like to see her prosecuted for it. However, I can see the other side too. She actually predicted the future. There's no law against that. Caveat emptor!

    • Wensleydale 8.1

      Even a swivel-eyed loon like Hanson is correct occasionally. Very occasionally.

      • alwyn 8.1.1

        Such people seem to have had their brains scrambled by working in Fish and Chip shops. I suppose it must be the effect of leaning over large pans of hot fat and inhaling the grease that does their minds in.

  9. SHG 9

    Holy crap, you mean to say there's stuff on the Internet that's not true?

    Why was I not made aware of this sooner

  10. Sanctuary 10

    The solution is straightforward. Block the major social media sites for three weeks before polling day.

  11. q and a last night said Trump would win the republician primaries… to face off against 20plus possible democrats. which doesn't make sense since the democratic run against each other in their own primary.

  12. Gabby 12

    So the writers and publishers will be sued no doubt, and the damages used to fund the next election campaign.

  13. Cinny 13

    Fantastic post, fascinating topic.

    IMHO, more people need educating, they swallow it up hook line and sinker and act accordingly, it's super messed up, but it's reality for too many.

    Manufacturing Consent should be compulsory viewing for all secondary students, two terms dedicated to the subject would be ace, they could align subject matter with the social media of today. Heck screen it on the TV as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LVsiP0s33A

    It's going to be interesting watching how it all goes down, if something comes of it. To me it reeks of Murdoch style brainwashing via social media, purely for political manipulation.

  14. vto 14

    What to do about it?

    Charge them under the Fair Trading (in Politics) Act, sections 9 and 10, no misleading or deceptive conduct in politics.

    The Fair Trading Act works pretty well in commerce, so should be easily moved to cover politics. Actions are easy to take and simple to establish.

    Bring it on.

  15. bewildered 15

    Baaaaaaaaawhaaaaa

    some one was nasty to us

    what I am reading is every one here is real super smart and can see the truth, everyone else is stupid if they don’t agree with their world view and vote left

    Ironically this is one of the reasons the left are not as popular as they think. They live in a bubble thinking every one agrees with them because the majority of sane people can’t be bothered been ; lectured or hectored by zealots so simply smile, stay mum or agree.In the quite of a ballot box people are far more truthful

    • vto 15.1

      Who said truthful is the right way to vote?

      Truthful humanity is often very ugly.

      No wonder you're bewildered

      • bewildered 15.1.1

        So high brow VTO are you a philosopher or just a tosser, silly question we all know the answer 👍

    • Cinny 15.2

      Are you saying it's fine to lie in order to win?

      • bewildered 15.2.1

        Shock news Cinny but Politicians and their mates. lie or tell half truths and the average Joe ( left or right) is well aware of such when they vote Cindy and labour had a ball at last election pretending they had a plan, big promises and bollock claims about national ( but hey that’s politics)

      • Drowsy M. Kram 15.2.2

        Apologies for butting in, Cinny – I know your the question was to bewildered, but IMO it's not OK for politicians to lie to voters.

        Don't believe "they're all as bad as each other" bullshit. Some politicians are more honest than others, at least some of the time, and it's not difficult to identify the most dishonest, dirty, corrupt and self-serving of our elected public 'servants' – they tend to 'out' themselves sooner or later.

      • indiana 15.2.3

        Its like standing in a protest against the TPP, then implementing it once you are in power. That's the kind of lying politicians do…not so much the explicit use of words when they speak to the public.

    • Gabby 15.3

      You can't be a lying sack of shit without legal consequences beewee, certainly not in a country that upholds Good Christian Family Values.

  16. greywarshark 16

    I'll put this in here. It is a sort of cautionary tale about Toronto which I think the article says has been riven by neo liberal austerity and had lost belief in rational government making things better. It sounds uncomfortably similar to us in some aspects. All sorts of dicy dealings and fake news was going on as a change at the top was up for grabs.
    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/03/rob-ford-toronto-canada-mayor-austerity

  17. Peter 17

    Guess we'll have to wait for 5.9 billion responses about pre-election bullshit before we have a mention of Steven Joyce.

  18. Tuppence Shrewsbury 18

    remember the good old days when the left loved Facebook and Twitter for their “grassroots” potential? When likes and hashtags could predict elections? And labour’s scaremongering about selling assets would be the doom of the economy. Now that was fake news.

    • mpledger 18.1

      Provide citations.

      Selling the electricity providers was stupidity. The govt have already lost more in profits than they gained by selling. It was a cheap handout to corporate interests and rich NZers at the expense of all NZers.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 18.1.1

        errrr, it's earning more in profits now than they were owning 100% of the company. strange how the scrutiny of the market lifts performance.

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