Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Psst! Is that Bin Laden over there? (Part 1)

Recent "Money Laundering" legislation has been a source of amusement and stress (in equal measures) for Mine Host.

Anti-terrorism money tracking measures have brought changes to the pub trade.

If you win more than $10,000 gambling in a pub, the pub must immediately report you to "Aus-Trac" (the name would indicate a machinery dealership, however it is some sort of federal govt anti-money laundering outfit)

If the pub does not immediately report you, the consequences are serious (for the pub, the feds have lots of power).

Aus-Trac is immediately notifed of a win of $>10,000 by the relevant statutory authority. This is either the TAB if you won on the horses, or the Electronic Gaming Monitor if you won on the poker machines.

Once Aus-Trac is thus notified, the pub has a short time span (a couple of days) to lodge an accompanying paper form,
1. Confirming the win,
2. Listing the personal details of the winner, and
3. The signature and printed name of the individual who verified the ID of the winner, and
4. A copy of the ID that the winner presented.

No verifiable ID, no payment. That is the federal law. (The opposite of state law, which says winners must be paid within 24 hours, with no ID required. Federal law trumps state law, I hope)

The punters were unhappy at having to provide verifiable ID, being scared their wives would discover they won more than $10,000 in the pub. Nor do they want the Tax Office to know (gambling winnings are not taxable, but most punters prefer to err on the side of caution)

Pointing out to them that the law now says this form must be filled out, with their ID, blah blah blah, goes straight over their head. However, Mine Hosts directive: "no ID, no payment" was a concept they quickly grasped.

Mine Host is of the belief that if Bin Laden (or other nefarious types) wish to launder some money in Australia, they are unlikely to (A) turn up beyond the Black Stump to do it, and (B) put it on a horse. Betting on the gee-gees being a most unreliable financial strategy, never mind as a method of washing cash.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

450 jobs saved by Mine Host

A topic of recent minor discussions among Wayside Tavern staff has been the announcement that 1850 workers will be retrenched, by the (previously unheard of) corporation Pacific Brands.

Much discussion has focused upon the gross salary of the CEO, on which products of the corporation should perhaps be boycotted, on $17 million provided by the federal govt to Pacific Brands for the purpose of preserving jobs, etc etc etc.

Little to no discussion noted that 7,000 workers still depend upon Pacific Brands for a job, or that this is the only major clothing manufacturer to have not moved completely offshore, and thus preserved any jobs in Australia.

Mine Host, strolling innocently past, was asked for input (not required, as minds had been made up, Pacific Brands deserved to be punished)

With zealotic smirking faces, the collected staff waited for either an affirmation of their anti-Pacific Brands resolve, or for Mine Host to side with the devil and make a comment supportive of the management of Pacific Brands.

Faces fell collectively and an extended silence followed what Mine Host had to say:

By firing 1850 staff, Pacific Brands are not saving 1850 wages, they are saving 1950 wages as the payroll tax on those 1850 is (roughly) the same amount as the wages of 100 workers. (stunned silence from the staff).
Furthermore, Pacific Brands still has 7,000 workers, thus is paying payroll tax equal to another 350 wages.

Total payroll tax paid to state governments by Pacific Brands, the same amount as the wages of 450 workers. (continued stunned silence from staff, and they start to glance at each other)

450 more people could have had a full time job at Pacific Brands, instead the state governments had taken that money away from Pacific Brands.

Continuing his stroll, Mine Host noted that nobody was saying anything.