Robin Hood demands tax justice

A small levy on risky transactions made by big business would yield billions more for health care and other public services.

A merrie band of nurses took the NSWNMA’s call for a “Robin Hood Tax” to the top end of town during a recent meeting of world finance ministers.

Wearing scrubs and green Robin Hood caps, the nurses took street theatre to Circular Quay to highlight the need to raise revenue for important public services like health care – without extracting more money from the pockets of Australian workers.

The Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) – or Robin Hood Tax as it is being referred to around the world – is a proposed 0.05% levy on the kinds of high-risk financial transactions that contributed to the global financial crisis.

The international aid organisation Oxfam estimates that a tax of just 0.05% on foreign exchange transactions, derivatives and share deals by banks, hedge funds and other finance institutions, could raise hundreds of billions of dollars globally every year.

A group of nine European countries including France, Germany and Spain, has already agreed to implement a FTT.

It is estimated the tax could raise £26.8 billion (approx. AUD$49 billion) a year.

In Sydney, our Robin Hood nurses bailed up three corporate-looking characters – one with a money sack representing bankers and two wearing Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey face masks – to ask why big business and the Abbott Government are looking to raise the taxes and charges paid by ordinary people, such as a possible increase in the GST and the introduction of a $6 Medicare GP co-payment fee.

Meeting at a luxury hotel a short walk away were the G20 finance ministers and Central Bank governors, representing more than 75% of global trade and two-thirds of the world’s population.

The nurses handed out NSWNMA leaflets headed “Bring the Robin Hood Tax to Australia”.

Registered nurse Michelle Cashman said not one person she spoke to at Circular Quay had heard of the FTT.

“There was a look of horror on most people’s faces when they first heard the word ‘tax’,” Michelle, a NSWNMA delegate at Long Jetty Continuing Care on the Central Coast, said.

“Once we explained it to people they saw the logic of raising billions of dollars from a tiny tax on certain transactions by the finance industry.

“Our message was, let’s get big business to pay their fair share instead of increasing taxes on ordinary people,” Michelle said.

“The public are starting to realise this government is going to make them pay more for Medicare and health services generally. Why not let an FTT pay for it?”

NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda said the FTT would be levied on very specific financial transactions, not on the everyday consumer.

“An FTT would give Australia many billions of dollars more each year to properly fund public services like health and aged care and schools,” Judith said.

“If governments can tax transactions between a nurse and their electrician or plumber at 10% through the GST, then they can tax big businesses carrying out certain financial transactions at less than 0.05%.”


If you would like to get involved in the Robin Hood Tax campaign, or want more information about an FTT, visit our website and look for “Tax Justice” under the “Get Involved” tab.



If you want to take action around Tax Justice and Fair Trade email to find out how.

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