Article – Let criminals buy their way out of jail, Gina Rinehart says

6 September 2013
Freya Petersen
Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
Mining billionaire Gina Rinehart has proposed a new way to broaden Australia’s tax base – allowing convicted criminals to buy their way out of jail.
In a column for Australian Resources and Investment magazine, Mrs Rinehart says the Government should consider letting non-violent offenders pay to get out of prison – or pay to avoid serving time altogether – because Australia needs more workers and taxpayers as the population ages.
In the column, entitled entitled ‘Learning from my Europe trip’, Mrs Rinehart – Australia’s richest person – suggests non-violent offenders who cannot afford to pay could agree to give up their voting rights or passport for a nominated period of time.
Citing a model she says is used in the US state of Texas to reduce the number of people imprisoned at taxpayers’ expense, she wrote: “Let them pay to get out of prison or not enter prison [a new source of revenue], and let them be part of the tax-paying workforce. Texas has shown us a far more humane, cost-improved and more successful ways of dealing with non-violent prisoners.”
She continues: “And before the left media shrieks that this would only benefit the richer, non-violent prisoners, for those non-violent prisoners who couldn’t pay sufficiently to get out of prison, there could be other means, such as should they agree to give up their votes, and or passports for x years, depending on the seriousness of the respective non-violent crime, they could then leave prison and rejoin the workforce.”
Why the Dutch dislike windmills and we should love mining Mrs Rinehart also cites a “knowledgeable Dutch driver” as explaining to her that while the Dutch welcomed wind power, they have turned against the “higher taxes due to building such new power”.
“He said people in Holland now wished they hadn’t incurred these clean power burdens, and wished they’d stayed with the old. But few people had spoken up beforehand about what wind power would really mean,” Rinehart wrote.
She added: “In a nutshell, doesn’t this conversation remind you of Australia? If we don’t want higher taxes, higher power costs, and industry closing in Australia and moving offshore, with consequent loss of jobs, should we be speaking out against and letting our politicians know?”
Ms Rinehart used the article to praise the tax policies of Ireland, where the company tax rate is 12.5 per cent, and in the Swiss cantons, where they are as low as 9.5 per cent.
“They understand you don’t make a country rich by overtaxing it!” she wrote.
She also warned that “irresponsible excessive government spending” would lead to cuts not only in welfare payments but also essential services, warning that “many in Europe also thought ‘entitlements’ would continue forever, just by incurring more and more debt”.
Ms Rinehart suggests in the article that the art on the walls of government offices and other decor could be sold off to raise much-needed revenue.
She concludes the article with a plea for Australia to appreciate its mining sector.
“We need to let more Australians better understand the contribution these industries have made to our country and that we need the mining industry … even more so now that Australia is in record debt,” she wrote.
Courtesy of The Australian Broadcasting Corporation