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"Recently a member of staff said she didn't want her taxes to go to supporting this war against Iraq and since I was the person who paid the taxes could I do something about it. We had a staff meeting, and all thirteen staff and partners are completely in agreement with withholding tax for peace." Jenny Spinks

ABC Radio Interview:
Australian Business to withhold tax for peace

Jenny Spinks
of Candelo Bulk Wholefoods

Address: 34 Church Street, Bega NSW 2550 Australia
Telephone: * Australia: (02) 6492 5901 * International: +61 +2 6492 5901 [GMT +10 hours]

'The World Today' Feb 21st 2003
ABC Radio interview with Jenny Spinks

Audio of interview:

Transcript of interview:

This is a transcript of The World Today broadcast at 1200 AEST on local radio.

Bega business to withhold tax in Iraq protest

The World Today - Friday, February  21, 2003 12:10

JOHN HIGHFIELD: And as strong messages about impending war are traded between politicians and the pious in our cities, regional Australia is also seeing its share of growing protest.

In the western wheat belt towns of NSW, demonstrations against Australia's backing for American action have been met with a plea from senior Government figures for people to stop embarrassing the Prime Minister.

But in the NSW South Coast town of Bega, there's a move to get the protest beyond the streets and into the economy.

Candelo Bulk Wholefoods, a small business enterprise which employs 13 local people, has decided to withhold 10 percent of its PAYG tax when filing its next Business Activity Statement in April. And it wants other businesses to follow the lead.

The owners have received advice that this is the approximate percentage of their tax funding Defence services.

Brigid Glanville reports.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Candelo Bulk Wholefoods supplies a variety of produce to a number of businesses along the NSW South Coast.

Rather than protesting on the streets, each staff member is going to withhold 10 percent of their tax from the Government and donate it the Bega Valley Rural Australians for Refugees.

The company agreed that since 10 percent of income tax goes towards Defence, it would withhold this amount.

Candelo Bulk Wholefoods partner, Jennie Spinks.

JENNIE SPINKS: Recently a member of staff came into the shop and said she didn't want her, her taxes to go to supporting this war. And I was the person who paid the taxes and could I do something about it.

So [laughs] I'm a Quaker and I'm aware that Quakers over the years have withheld tax for peace. And so I investigated and, and we had a staff meeting, and all the staff and the partners are completely in agreement with it. So, that's why it's happening.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: And was it hard to get them all to agree? They obviously all have the same view on the war?

JENNIE SPINKS: It wasn't hard at all. It was one of the quickest decisions we've made.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: How much money would that be? Withholding 10 percent of the tax of the, the income of that business?

JENNIE SPINKS: It's not a lot of money. It'll probably be about $300 for the three months. We all work part-time, so it's not a lot of money. It's more for our own integrity that we want to do this.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: What about, what's been the general reaction from the community and, and friends that you've told about this?

JENNIE SPINKS: They're very excited, actually.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: And what about reaction from other small business?

JENNIE SPINKS: Um, well so far I've heard from three small businesses and they've all been very supportive. I don't know if they're actually going to do it themselves. But they're very pleased that someone's standing up in this situation.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Are you concerned that this might affect business?

JENNIE SPINKS: Um [laughs] well, one of the messages I had last night was, I'll be coming into your shop specially to spend my money there.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: The Australian Taxation Office places hefty fines and penalties on companies and individuals withholding tax payments.

General interest charges of 11 and half percent plus penalties of up to 70 percent could be placed on the company.

But Candelo Bulk Wholefoods says they're willing to face the fine.

Jennie Spinks.

JENNIE SPINKS: I know that if we don't lodge the BAS, then we are fined $110 for every 28 days of not lodging. But we will be lodging our BAS. It'll just be, we won't be sending all the tax. So, I'm not sure exactly what it'll be. But it'll be 11 and a half percent of $300 for the first three months as a, that was a rough estimate.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Why do you think withholding tax and basically inevitably giving yourselves a big fine, why do you believe that's the most effective way?

JENNIE SPINKS: Well, it's, it's not necessarily a "way". It's us living our lives in, in, in the way that is true to ourselves. It's not true to myself to give any of my money towards this war. So I'll just have to live with the consequences of my actions. We'll see.

JOHN HIGHFIELD: Jenny Spinks is a partner of Candelo Bulk Wholefoods on the South Coast of NSW and she was speaking with Brigid Glanville.

©2003 ABC

See also:

Media Release from - RAR (Rural Australians for Refugees)
'Business refuses to fund war against Iraq'

Contact also:

Withholding Tax: National (Australian) Register
Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR)
Register of individuals and businesses choosing to withhold taxes to be used for this war on Iraq:
Telephone: * Australia: 04 01 305 990 * International: +61 +4 01 305 990 [GMT +10 hours]

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