Dick Smith has never been shy about sharing his ideas for improving Australia even as they beat him in the hip pocket.
Mr Smith revealed on Monday in the Sydney Morning Herald that he had sent his 2021 book My Adventurous Life to the prime minister whom he considers a ‘companion’ from Anthony Albanese’s previous tenure as infrastructure minister.
In the book, Smith argues that wealthy people like himself should pay an additional 15 percent tax to help the “less well off,” an idea he publicly promoted through the Dick Smith Fair Go Group advocacy body in 2018.
In My Adventurous Life he writes: ‘I was brought up to believe that Australia was the country of the fair – not only of the rich, but of all.
“Although I started small, I am now one of the richest 1 percent: it didn’t make me feel good.”
Smith, who made his money in a chain of electronics stores before investing in real estate, admits that “not a single politician has dared show any support for my idea” of raising taxes.
Dick Smith (pictured) is a wealthy Australian who is happy to pay more taxes arguing that the national wealth inequality is increasing
Perhaps with Labor announcing a proposed tax hike for top pension accruers, the 78-year-old Smith believes the time has come for his prescription, which might broadly be described as populist politics.
Smith believes wealth inequality is a growing concern in Australia.
I found myself most concerned about the wealth disparity in Australia. I was not alone.
The richest 1 percent in Australia own more than 17 million Australians (70 percent) were the least wealthy.
“Nearly 5 million poor people were living paycheck to paycheck, with no savings whatsoever.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured at Sunday’s WorldPride rally over the Sydney Harbor Bridge) sent Mr Smith a copy of the book
Mr. Smith, whose net worth has been estimated to be around $60 to $70 million, has previously stated that he supports death duties, which the coalition has accused Labor of wanting to bring but which they deny.
Although he has previously registered his party, Mr. Smith has not made any direct forays into politics, but his views have generated controversy, especially when he announced his support for One Nation’s policy to cut immigration in 2016.
Mr Smith has stated that taking in 200,000 immigrants a year, as is the case at present, will “devastate Australia” and he wants that number reduced to about 70,000.
“We will end up with 100 million people by the end of this century when our descendants are alive,” he told Channel Seven in 2016.
“It’s possible I can tell you, but I think you’ll have a lot of poor people like America where they can’t even support a wage.”
In his book, Smith argues that Australia must recognize “the impossibility of infinite economic growth”.
Mr. Smith launched his own range of Australian-made goods to compete with foreign-owned brand names in 1999.
He warned that if Australia grew to 100 million people it would cut living standards in half because there wouldn’t be enough “pie” to go around.
Besides his original chain of electronics stores, Mr. Smith is perhaps best known for launching his own range of Made in Australia food and homewares in 1999.
Smith said he was surprised to learn that the popular Australian brand of Vegemite was owned by US giant Kraft, even though the breakfast spread reverted to Australian ownership after it was bought by Bega Cheese.
‘I said I wanted to build a food company that would use only Australian foods that were processed in Australia, create jobs for Australians and keep profits in Australia, and pay full taxes in Australia,’ Mr Smith wrote in My Adventurous Life.
Smith’s food company sold such goods as Ozemite and he stated that all profits went to charity.
The killing blow for Dick Smith Foods came in the form of Aldi’s German-owned discount supermarket chain, which offered cheaper alternatives to the big-name brands.
Smith wrote of Aldi: “I have no doubt that they are the smartest and most ruthless retailer in the world.”
“But with the advantage of cheaper prices that globalization offers, you also get the disadvantage that our wonderful Australian owned and manufactured products and the jobs they create are gone.”
With Mr Albanese also announcing his ambition for Australia to do more things and even planning a $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund to invest in local manufacturing, Smith may once again feel he now has a companion at The Lodge.
Source: | This article originally belonged to Dailymail.co.uk