Dr Ken Henry is the bloke behind what is commonly known as the ‘Henry Review‘.  The purpose of his existence during recent history and up until December this year is to analyse the current tax system in some level of detail, and put forward his recommendations to the Government on how to reform it for the better.

Every so often, Dr Henry has been invited to speak at various functions, and his tax reform speeches are published online about a day afterwards.

Believe it or not, those speeches actually make for quite interesting reading (ahem… if you’re into that sort of thing).

The most recent of these is about how the tax system has already gone through review processes, on many occasions now, and that’s precisely what’s got us into the mess that we face today. He, as you would presume, writes (speaks?) a little more eloquently about the subject than I.

The Lessons From Tax Reform Past‘, for those who have neither the time nor inclination to read the link, are, in order;

  • The case for reform must be compelling
  • Uncertainty and risk impose costs, too
  • Simplicity often gets left behind
  • Perceptions of equity matters a lot
  • Governments need effective tools to improve people’s lives

In particular relation to that last point, Dr Henry also writes about the whole purpose of such reform.  Towards the conclusion to his speech, he offered the following statement;

“Successful tax reform is not just about increasing GDP or revenue, or making the system easier to understand, or more sustainable, or fairer, or better able to assist governments to address various social problems. It is concerned with all of these things. Successful tax reform means improving the wellbeing of the Australian people.”

Hopefully, his recommendations are taken seriously…