The Government risks entering the merciless ranks of the thunder gods if it doesn't freeze the beer tax, writes Chris Calcino.
The Government risks entering the merciless ranks of the thunder gods if it doesn't freeze the beer tax, writes Chris Calcino.

'Un-Australian beer price hike must be stopped'

OPINION

THE subtle art of kicking a man when he is down has had many passionate dilettantes but few who could truly be labelled maestros throughout human history.

The Australian Government is now at risk of entering the dubious ranks of the thunder gods, small-town Englishmen who once hanged a French monkey, the US Air Force and Caligula as a truly adept proprietor of strangely merciless acts.

Plenty of positive decisions have been made under Prime Minister Scott Morrison's watch during the coronavirus crisis but one looming choice threatens to sully them all.

Beer tax is scheduled to increase (again) from August 1 as part of the government's shameful habit of raising the price of grog by CPI every six months since 1983.

A thirsty punter already has to just about sell one of his munted kidneys just to get a frothy - and yet up it goes, twice a year like clockwork.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits the Criterion Hotel in Rockhampton in the lead-up to the last federal election. PICTURE: ALEX COPPEL
Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits the Criterion Hotel in Rockhampton in the lead-up to the last federal election. PICTURE: ALEX COPPEL

Pubs, clubs and brewers across Australia are on their knees right now and your average barfly has never been poorer with only the JobKeeper life support package keeping the wolves from so many doors.

Brewers have urged the Federal Government to defer the tax hike.

A drastic reduction would be preferable with Aussies now paying the fourth-most beer tax (42 per cent of each carton, can, stubby or schooner) in the world behind only Finland, Japan and Norway.

The government has a chance here to avert a kick to the guts of everyday Australians but there is no indication the tax increase will be deferred.

A failure to do so will put the Australian Government in the company of these sadistic historical plonkers.

CALIGULA

Roman Emperor Caligula Gaius Caesar: Not a great bloke.
Roman Emperor Caligula Gaius Caesar: Not a great bloke.

The third emperor of Rome's life was marked by perversion, sadism and truly bizarre acts and came to a justifiably gruesome end when he was stabbed 30 times by his guardsman and dumped in a shallow grave.

He was an awful employer and would humiliate, abuse, torture and murder staff without remorse.

Life under such conditions must have been agony - but it got worse when Caligula declared war on Neptune and ordered his downtrodden personnel to wade into the ocean and stab, slash and parry the waves until victory was declared.

They then had to collect chests full of shells as spoils of war, and do it all with a straight face or die. What a life.

US AIR FORCE

This is an exaggeration, but you get the picture.
This is an exaggeration, but you get the picture.

Ann Hodges is the only documented person to get hit by a meteorite, one of which rudely smashed into her house and then her hip in Alabama on November 30, 1954.

Shocking luck, but Ms Hodges realised the little space rock in her living room was worth quite a bit of money.

Unfortunately, in stepped the Air Force to stake a claim on the pebble, kicking off a long and painful lawsuit that ended with Ms Hodges donating the meteorite to a museum.

Her house and belongings were roughed up, her hip copped a hiding, and she could not even make a buck.

ZEUS

Zeus: Weirdest hair and beard combo this side of Dubbo.
Zeus: Weirdest hair and beard combo this side of Dubbo.

The god of thunder really had it in for Virginia national park ranger Roy Sullivan, who was first hit by lightning in 1942 - an unfortunate incident that left a half-inch stripe down his leg and made his big toenail drop off.

Whichever malevolent deity pulls the strings up there, returned over ensuing years to hit the poor blighter six more times.

The likelihood of being struck by lightning seven times is twenty-two septillion to one - or in numerical terms … 22,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000 to 1.

ENGLISHMEN

Clearly not a Frenchman.
Clearly not a Frenchman.

The residents of Hartlepool in Northern England saw a French ship capsize off the coast during the Napoleonic Wars.

Every mammal on board died except a cute little monkey which managed to hitch a ride on a piece of debris.

Rather than save the poor waterlogged creature's life, the Brits sent it straight to the gibbet.

Anti-French propaganda was so powerful in those days that they actually thought the monkey was a hairy little Frenchman.

The ape underwent a trial but, in its silence, was deemed a hostile witness and promptly had its neck stretched on a makeshift gallows.

Adding insult to injury, the town's soccer team now proudly goes by the nickname the Hartlepool Monkey Hangers.

Originally published as Un-Australian beer price hike must be stopped



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