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- Start of Business
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
- DISTINGUISHED VISITORS
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
Goods and Services Tax: Banking Fees and Charges
(Crean, Simon, MP, Costello, Peter, MP)
(Brough, Mal, MP, Reith, Peter, MP)
Banking Fees and Charges
(Crean, Simon, MP, Howard, John, MP)
Private Health Insurance: Rebate
(Vale, Danna, MP, Wooldridge, Dr Michael, MP)
Private Health Insurance: Dental Services
(Macklin, Jenny, MP, Wooldridge, Dr Michael, MP)
Superannuation: Defence Forces
(Snowdon, Warren, MP, Moore, John, MP)
(Washer, Mal, MP, Ruddock, Philip, MP)
(Andren, Peter, MP, Howard, John, MP)
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
(Nugent, Peter, MP, Downer, Alexander, MP)
Taxation Reform: Averaging
(O'Connor, Gavan, MP, Vaile, Mark, MP)
Logging and Woodchipping
(Causley, Ian, MP, Tuckey, Wilson, MP)
Taxation Reform: Mining Industry
(Evans, Martyn, MP, Moore, John, MP)
Goods and Services Tax: Farm Exports
(Lieberman, Lou, MP, Costello, Peter, MP)
- Goods and Services Tax: Banking Fees and Charges
- AUDITOR-GENERAL'S REPORTS
- ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- MAIN COMMITTEE
- MATTERS REFERRED TO MAIN COMMITTEE
- TARIFF PROPOSALS
- GOVERNOR-GENERAL'S SPEECH
- PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE INCENTIVES BILL 1998
- Delfram Docking Anniversary
- Internet: Small Business
- Superannuation: Military Benefits Superannuation and Benefits Scheme
- Economy: Government Policy
Member for Bowman
- Beaudesert Shire: Pioneers
- Native Title
Tuesday, 24 November 1998
Mr CREAN —My question is to the Treasurer, and it follows on from his answer. Is the Treasurer aware of the statement of the Assistant Treasurer in the Senate yesterday that financial services will be subject to a GST `where there is a clearly specific fee for service'? Treasurer, do you consider a bank transaction fee a clearly specific fee for service? Will you categorically rule out charging GST on the raft of bank fees and charges that have increased in recent months, or are you planning to hit ordinary Australians with a 10 per cent tax every time they take their money out of banks?
Mr COSTELLO (Treasurer) —No, we are planning to abolish all of Labor's taxes on taking money out of bank accounts. The Australian Labor Party taxes people under a bank account debit tax every time they take money out of bank accounts. This is the side of politics that proposes to abolish it, and Labor says no. This is the side of politics that proposes to abolish the financial institutions duty. He always rises when the news is bad.
Mr Crean —Mr Speaker, the question was very specific.
Mr SPEAKER —I am sorry, I do not want to interrupt you, but I presume you are raising a point of order.
Mr Crean —Yes, on relevance, Mr Speaker.
Mr SPEAKER —In that case, you have the call.
Mr Crean —I have asked the Treasurer whether it is intended that the GST will apply to the fees, the ones that have just gone up. He is not answering that question, just as the Prime Minister avoided answering questions yesterday. You should require the Treasurer to answer.
Mr SPEAKER —The honourable member has made his point of order. I do not require direction from the member for Hotham. He is perfectly entitled to raise a point of order. I call the Treasurer to answer the question.
Mr COSTELLO —The question was whether they would be taxed for taking money out of bank accounts, and the answer is no. This is the side of politics which is going to abolish Labor's tax on removing money from bank accounts. Isn't that great news? That is great news.
Mr Crean —I rise on a point of order again, Mr Speaker. The question was: will there be a GST on the fees that banks are charging? That was the question, not what he is trying to reinterpret it to be.
Mr SPEAKER —The member for Hotham will resume his seat. I call the Treasurer.
Opposition members —What's your ruling?
Mr COSTELLO —After informing the House of that good news, let me make the case as it is also said in the government's tax policy. In relation to financial services, there will be no GST on financial services—they are input taxed.
Yesterday the shadow Treasurer said that banks would be getting a windfall—that is, having lower costs under a GST. That is what the shadow Treasurer said yesterday. He said banks would get reduced costs. That is what he said here in the parliament yesterday. He might recall that after saying that he said bank fees were going up and wasn't it a terrible thing because bank fees were going up but bank costs were coming down.
Today in a doorstop the Leader of the Opposition said that bank fees were going up and that was because bank costs were going up. But the shadow Treasurer said bank fees were going up and costs were coming down.
Mr McMullan —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This is getting ridiculous. If the Treasurer wants to get asked that question, tell him to have someone ask a dorothy dixer. But he should answer the question he was asked. Don't you think that if he thought the GST was not on fees he would say so?
Mr SPEAKER —Order! The member for Fraser will resume his seat. The Treasurer has been asked a question, which I noted, about the GST on fees for service.
Mr McMullan —Point of order—
Mr SPEAKER —I have not called you. Resume your seat!
Mr McMullan —I am allowed to stand to seek the call.
Mr SPEAKER —You are, but I have not finished what I am saying. The Treasurer was asked a specific question about fee for service on GST. The Treasurer was answering the question, and I am listening to and monitoring his answer.
Mr COSTELLO —The answer was that financial services—
Mr McMullan —Mr Speaker, the point of order I was raising was exactly that to which you referred in the first half of your ruling—that is, the Treasurer was asked a question with regard to a GST on fees—but he has not referred to it once. He has not referred to that question once, Mr Speaker.
Mr SPEAKER —I will not have the member for Fraser dictate the terms. He will resume his seat.
Mr McMullan —I am making my point of order to you, Mr Speaker. You ruled effectively on relevance. He has not referred to that once.
Mr SPEAKER —He has in fact made that reference. I have been monitoring the question. You are welcome to check the Hansard . I call the Treasurer.
Mr COSTELLO —I state it again: under the government's tax package, financial services are input taxed—that is, there are no taxes on their outputs but there are taxes on their inputs.
Mr Crean —Mr Speaker—
Mr SPEAKER —Before I call the member for Hotham, this is ridiculous. I am waiting for the Treasurer to respond to the question. I will call the member for Hotham if I do not feel that the Treasurer is responding to the question.
Mr Crean —But, Mr Speaker—
Mr SPEAKER —I have not called the member for Hotham. I believe it is quite unreasonable for any minister to be interrupted as frequently as the Treasurer has been interrupted. I am giving the Treasurer a further 30 seconds to respond to that question. If he is not in order, I will take action.
Mr Beazley —I raise a point of order with you, Mr Speaker. Standing orders clearly state that a point of order when raised will be dealt with before any other business is proceeded with. The member for Hotham stood then to raise a point of order. The standing orders clearly give him a right to do so, irrespective of the frequency with which it has been raised. I would submit to you respectfully, Mr Speaker, that he ought to be called.
Mr Ross Cameron —Mr Speaker—
Mr SPEAKER —The member for Parramatta will resume his seat. Let me deal with the point of order raised by the Leader of the Opposition. It is my intention to ensure that the opposition has an opportunity to ask questions and that ministers can respond to them. My observation of what has absurdly grown out of this question is that the Treasurer scarcely opened his mouth before a point of order was raised. For that reason, I intended to allow the Treasurer to answer the question before intervening. That was my response to the desire from the member for Hotham to interrupt what the Treasurer was saying. I now call the member for Parramatta.
Mr Howard —There's no right under the standing orders.
Opposition members interjecting—
Mr SPEAKER —Reluctant as I am to interrupt, I have called the member for Parramatta, who cannot be heard above the hubbub on my left.
Mr Ross Cameron —Mr Speaker, my point very briefly is that the member for Hotham did not ask just one question, but there were five or six questions of a fairly wide compass. I would have thought any response from the Treasurer would have been in order and relevant to that series of questions.
Mr SPEAKER —I will determine whether or not the Treasurer's response is in order, as all former Speakers have done. I call the Treasurer to respond.
Mr COSTELLO —I say for the third or fourth time that the treatment under the tax package is well known, I believe. In relation to financial services, they are input taxed—that is, they pay taxes on their inputs and there is no liability on their outputs.
Mr Crean —Mr Speaker, on a point of order—
Mr SPEAKER —The Treasurer will be seated. The member for Hotham on a further point of order?
Mr Crean —Yes, and it goes to relevance. Page 96 of their own tax package says:
Financial services where there is a readily identifiable fee will be taxable.
Mr SPEAKER —This is not a point of order.
Mr Crean —That is not what he is saying.
Mr SPEAKER —The member for Hotham cannot expect me to entertain a point of order delivered in that manner. The Treasurer has the call.
Mr COSTELLO —I will say this for the fifth time for the Australian Labor Party. We did not think you would get upset so quickly, Simon. We thought you would show more good humour than you are showing.
Mr SPEAKER —The Treasurer will respond to the question.
Mr COSTELLO —Financial services will be input taxed and there will be no taxes on outputs. The shadow Treasurer yesterday said that would result in bank costs falling by $1.6 billion, I think he said; but then he was countermanded by his leader today, who asserted they would go up by $800 million. So this morning they are going up by $800 million; yesterday they were coming down by $1.6 billion. It is a bad old day when the Leader of the Opposition is shown up by the member for Hotham.