10 May 1996 David C. Keenan
116 Bowman Pde
Bardon QLD 4065
Ph: (07) 3366 2660
J. M. Wheeler
Deputy Commissioner of Taxation
GPO Box 9825
Brisbane QLD 4001
I have included a cheque for $19125.12 which is
90% of my tax for 94/95 7925.71
Medicare levy 526.41
Provisional tax for 95/96 10673.00
Total (rounded down) 19125.12
I have payed $880.63 (10% of my tax for 94/95) to the Peace & Development Foundation Inc (details below). I do not intend to pay this amount or the other amount of $4806.59 to the tax office. I do not lightly choose to break the law in this regard.
My reasoning is as follows:
This amount represents the approximately 10% of my tax assessments which would otherwise be spent by the government directly on defence.
This defence is at present entirely military, that is, it is based entirely on the readiness to kill.
I have a long and deeply held conscientious objection to killing other human beings. I continue the beliefs of my parents in this regard. Indeed this is what the law requires of me, except when the human beings concerned are defined as enemies. I cannot allow that exception.
If I were to allow my money to be spent on killing or preparation for killing I would be guilty of complicity in that killing.
What I am not saying:
I am not saying that we don't need defence. I believe we do. But there are other forms of defence besides military. There is a whole field of nonviolent defence. If the government were to support nonviolent defence, or even just research into nonviolent defence, to anywhere near the degree that it supports military preparedness, I would not object to paying this part of my tax to the tax office.
I am not saying that everyone should be able to direct their taxes as they wish. I do not think for one minute that this could work. I'm merely asking that the right to conscientious objection to military service be recognised as applying also to one's money. If I work for someone else and pay money to support military work, I fail to see how that is any different from working directly for the military. This is not in the same category as any other possible reason for tax redirection. It is a matter of life and death.
I do not retain this money. I pay it to the Peace & Development Foundation Inc. (PO Box 167, North Carlton, VIC 3054, Phone: (03) 9387 3398). The Peace & Development Foundation supports research into nonviolent defence, one of the fruits of which is Robert Burrowes' new book, The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: a Gandhian Approach, SUNY Press, published in late 1995. Robert Burrowes has a PhD in Nonviolence from the University of Queensland.
By the same reasoning I cannot allow the money to be obtained by garnishee and am not afraid of Judgement being entered against me.
I wish to express my understanding and concern for your position. I am sorry if I make your life more difficult. I would be happy to discuss the above issues with any tax officer either officially or personally. I may be contacted on the above number.
David C. Keenan