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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13253

Goods and Services Tax

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:17): The Housing Industry Association has warned that increasing the GST to 15 per cent could price many Australians out of home ownership. Does the Prime Minister agree with the Housing Industry Association that increasing the GST to 15 per cent would make it even harder for young Australians to buy a new home?

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:17): I thank the Leader of the Opposition to his question. I do not feel that I have been away at all! Nothing has changed. Question time is just as it was when I left. The Leader of the Opposition seems persuaded that the government is proposing to introduce a 15 per cent GST. The government has no such policy. What the government is doing is conducting what the Labor Party was unable to do in government, and we are conducting a broad consultation and conversation with the Australian people on the question of taxation reform.

There was a discussion paper published earlier in the year. The Treasurer is getting together his white paper. There is extensive discussion and lots of views being put forward, some of them very constructive and some of them very imaginative—like the one from the member for Fairfax, when we were last gathered here—and all of those opinions and views will be considered by the government.

I would just say this: the object of reforming the tax system or making changes to the tax system is not to raise the burden of tax to raise additional revenue. The object is to raise the revenue that the government needs, to perform its duties and pay for the services it undertakes, but to do so in a way that better supports and incentivises Australian families to work, save and invest. The tax system is a very big lever that the federal government has, the federal parliament has, and it can be used better or worse, depending on its design, to promote types of jobs, investment and economic activity that all of us support.

I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his not-especially-scary scare campaign but I really would suggest to him, with all due respect, that he should come up with a new one.