3 Feb 1997 David C. Keenan
116 Bowman Pde
Bardon QLD 4065
Ph: (07) 3366 2660
TFN: 484 547 746
J. M. Wheeler
Deputy Commissioner of Taxation
GPO Box 9825
Brisbane QLD 4001
I have paid $1224.14 (10% of my tax for 95/96) to the Sacred Earth Nonviolence Community (details below). As in past years, I do not intend to pay this amount or the other amount of $5687.10 (from past years plus interest) to the tax office. I do not lightly choose to break the law in this regard.
My reasoning is as follows:
The amount redirected represents the approximately 10% of my tax assessment 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 Sacred Earth Nonviolence Community, of which Robert Burrowes is a member. Robert Burrowes is the author of the book, The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: a Gandhian Approach, SUNY Press, 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 judgment being entered against me.
It now seems very unlikely that my taxable income for 96/97 will exceed $10,000 and by my accounting I have already paid sufficient provisional tax to cover this. The tax office would of course not be making any refunds in these circumstances so to keep my conscience clear I cannot pay any further provisional tax in this financial year. Here is my accounting.
90% of my tax for 95/96 11017.25
Medicare levy 685.09
Credit for 95/96 Provisional tax -10673.00
Provisional tax for 96/97 1145.66
Less instalment paid 6-Dec-96 -2175.00
Net amount payable NIL
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