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- Start of Business
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Ferguson, Martin, MP, Kemp, Dr David, MP)
(Pyne, Chris, MP, Costello, Peter, MP)
(Crosio, Janice, MP, Kemp, Dr David, MP)
(Marek, Paul, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Ferguson, Martin, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Baldwin, Bob, MP, Wooldridge, Dr Michael, MP)
(Beazley, Kim, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Draper, Trish, MP, Costello, Peter, MP)
Goods and Sales Tax
(Evans, Gareth, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Slipper, Peter, MP, Reith, Peter, MP)
Redundancy and Termination Entitlements
(Andren, Peter, MP, Reith, Peter, MP)
(Evans, Richard, MP, Kemp, Dr David, MP)
(Hollis, Colin, MP, Reith, Peter, MP)
Skase, Mr C.
(Wakelin, Barry, MP, Williams, Daryl, MP)
(O'Connor, Gavan, MP, Fischer, Tim, MP)
(Lloyd, Jim, MP, Wooldridge, Dr Michael, MP)
(Crean, Simon, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Gash, Joanna, MP, Truss, Warren, MP)
(Macklin, Jenny, MP, Smith, Warwick, MP)
(Hardgrave, Gary, MP, Reith, Peter, MP)
- Small Business
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE: ADDITIONAL RESPONSES
- QUESTIONS TO MR SPEAKER
- PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS
- QUESTIONS TO MR SPEAKER
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- PARLIAMENTARY SERVICE BILL 1997 [No. 2]
- MATTERS REFERRED TO MAIN COMMITTEE
- AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (PLANNING AND LAND MANAGEMENT) AMENDMENT BILL 1997
- LAW OFFICERS AMENDMENT BILL 1997
- PRIMARY INDUSTRIES AND ENERGY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL (No. 3) 1997
QUESTIONS ON NOTICE
(Thomson, Kelvin, MP, Costello, Peter, MP)
Social Security Payments
(Thomson, Kelvin, MP, Fischer, Tim, MP)
(Jones, Barry, MP, Downer, Alexander, MP)
Sirway Asia Pacific Contract
(Bevis, Arch, MP, McLachlan, Ian, MP)
Department of Industry, Science and Tourism: Consultants
(McClelland, Robert, MP, Moore, John, MP)
- Japanese Economy
Tuesday, 10 March 1998
Mr GARETH EVANS —My question is to the Prime Minister and it is on the subject of tax reform. Can the Prime Minister confirm that more than half of the submissions to the government's own tax consultative task force either do not mention or do not support a GST? Is he also aware of the statement this morning by that task force's chairman that a GST is not considered to be the centrepiece of tax reform? Will the Prime Minister now concede that you can have meaningful tax reform without a GST?
Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —I should be so lucky. In answer to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, I have seen a newspaper report, presumably the one that you quoted from. I have not personally had a discussion with Senator Gibson, but let me make it very clear that we, as a coalition in government, are prepared—unlike you—to have a go at reforming Australia's old-fashioned, out-of-date taxation system. We are prepared to have a go.
The Liberal and National parties are prepared to put a political commitment down to really try to fix the Australian taxation system. Can I tell you what the Australian people are telling us. If you cared to listen, they would be telling you exactly the same thing. They think the present system is unfair. They want the present system changed and, provided what comes out of the change is in aggregate a fair alternative to the present system, they will embrace it.
I laid down five principles when I announced in August last year that we would be going to the next election with an alternative taxation program. This is the crowd that had 13 long years—
Mr Gareth Evans —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order on the question of relevance. It was a very simple question: will he concede that meaningful tax reform is possible without a GST?
Mr SPEAKER —What is your point of order? That is not a point of order.
Mr Gareth Evans —It was a fair question, it was a very specific question and he is not answering it. He is irrelevant.
Mr SPEAKER —That is not a point of order.
Mr HOWARD —I was asked a question about the taxation reform designs of my government. I am answering that question by reminding the Australian people that we have the political courage to try to improve an unfair system—Labor does not. We have the political commitment to provide relief to ordinary Australian families—Labor does not. We do not have the track record of having told the Australian people in 1993 that we were against higher levels of indirect tax and then, immediately on getting re-elected on that false promise, jacking up every indirect tax in the country. We are not the party that ran around promising l-a-w tax cuts and then repudiating them.
I want to remind the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that five principles were laid down when I announced that we were going to have tax reform. I can assure the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that when our plan is unveiled all of those principles will be met. All I can say to those opposite is: ask me more questions. Ask me questions every day about taxation reform. Every time you ask me a question, it gives me the opportunity to tell the Australian people that we are in favour of having a go at fixing the taxation system and that you are against it.
Mr Gareth Evans —Mr Speaker, on a point of order: The question was to the advice available to him from his own backbench task force—
Mr SPEAKER —What is your point of order? You are not there to argue.
Mr Gareth Evans —The question was—
Mr SPEAKER —What is your point of order?
Mr Gareth Evans —I have to remind you, Mr Speaker, what the question was so you can determine whether it is relevant to the answer. That is all I am doing.
Mr SPEAKER —You have to raise a point of order or you do not have the call.
Mr Gareth Evans —He is irrelevant, because he is not answering the question on whether he can do all that without having a GST. Can you, John? Tell us.
Mr SPEAKER —The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. The Prime Minister is entirely in order. I call the Prime Minister.
Mr HOWARD —As I was saying before that unwelcome monologue, there were five principles that were laid down. Those five principles will be honoured. I say to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition keep doing us a favour, keep asking these questions, keep giving us an opportunity to remind the Australian public that the coalition is for tax reform and you are for doing nothing.
Mr Beazley —Mr Speaker, on a point of order—
Mr SPEAKER —The Leader of the Opposition has a point of order; the Prime Minister will resume his seat.
Mr HOWARD —I have finished.
Mr Beazley —The Prime Minister has been sneaking around without his tax policies out in the public domain for the last 10 months. He is going to be asked a few questions on it.
Mr SPEAKER —The Prime Minister has finished his answer. The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat.