Tax on risky, high-volume trading could reap billions for health and education

As nurses and midwives, the safety and quality of the care we provide to our community is at the heart of everything we do.

We believe health care is a right, not a privilege and we want to keep it that way.

The QNMU has joined forces with the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association calling for Australia to adopt the ‘Robin Hood Tax’.

The Robin Hood tax – or more formally, the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) – is a modest levy applied to banks and other financial institutions each time they make a transaction while trading stocks, bonds, derivatives, futures, options and credit default swaps.

It is just one example of taxation reform needed around the globe – other examples include broadening the tax base, and ensuring transnational corporations pay their fair share.

Supporters of the Robin Hood tax in Australia say a levy of as little as .05% on each transaction could reap billions of dollars every year – money which could be used to ensure public health and education are well funded, assist in the global fight against poverty and AIDS, and help tackle climate change.

The tax would only target large profits made on risky, high-volume trading and would not affect everyday transactions made by the public.

The idea for a Robin Hood tax has been around since the early seventies and has the backing of thousands of economists across the world.

In fact at 2011’s G20 World Leader’s Summit, 1000 economists from 53 countries wrote an open letter to the G20 Finance Ministers urging a Robin Hood tax be introduced, saying it was not only “technically feasible” but also “morally right”.The proposed levy for Australia amounts to about 5 cents for every $100 being traded.

It is also an easy levy for the government to enforce and difficult for big bankers to evade.

A number of G20 countries are already on board – including the European Union, South Africa, Japan, Russia, Italy, Germany and France and we say it’s time for Australia to join them.

If we introduced the Robin Hood tax, our world-class universal health system could be well funded into the future – putting the brakes on any plans to privatise hospitals or tamper with Medicare.

This is a long-running and slow-burning campaign as it requires a significant ideological shift for many political leaders, but it is one we feel is well worth the effort given the rewards it could reap for everyday Australians.

For more information:

Visit the international Robin Hood Tax website.