Churches should pay their way

Anne Reid of the Secular Party is an accountant who works in the Griffith suburb of West End, and lives just outside the electorate in nearby Yeronga.

Anne Reid - Secular Party

Anne Reid – Secular Party

Since being out on the campaign trail, she has discovered that ‘secular’ is a poorly understood term. Essentially, she says, the SP stands for three things: ‘The separation of church and state to ensure government spending is not influenced by religion, the protection of human rights from religious indoctrination, and impartiality towards religion’.

Reid explains her last point, as: ‘not discriminating either against or in favour or religions.’

It is as an accountant that Reid says she is most outraged by the way the tax system privileges religions, citing that: ‘Australia is one of only three countries that exempts both religions and their businesses from paying taxes’. The others are Hungary and Israel.

She said the Catholic Church alone ‘has assets of $100 billon and is the biggest employer in Australia, but does not pay payroll tax’, adding that the SP estimates $31 billion per year is being lost to Government revenue because of tax breaks for religious organisations.

According to Reid, in the last census, 35.3 percent of people in the Griffith suburb of West End and 35.9 percent in Highgate Hill said they had no religious affiliation, and the SP therefore hopes to do well in this electorate.

While closely allied with the Democrats, which it will preference in the Senate ballot, the SP will preference the Greens first in the House of Representatives.

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