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Monday, 28 June 1999
Page: 7571

Mr BEAZLEY —My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister confirm that his agreement with the Leader of the Australian Democrats involves a significant shift in the mix of taxes in Australia with a much increased reliance on indirect taxes relative to direct taxes? I ask whether the Prime Minister supports the comments of Senator Lees in her 30 May press release that:

The tax mix switch will be largely eliminated by 2005 as bracket creep pushes average weekly earnings towards $50,000.

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —Mr Speaker, there is some tax mix switch, yes. I am not denying that and I have never sought to deny it. But you have to compare it with the tax mix switch that occurred in 1993 when—despite your promise that you were against increases in indirect tax and despite your l-a-w promise which you broke—you increased indirect tax without compensation. Neil Warren has been quoted by both sides in this taxation debate, and, as he said, the scandal of 1993 was that you hit the pensioners without compensation. What you did in 1993, despite what you said in the election campaign when you ran a fear campaign against the Hewson-led opposition—despite all of those promises—you shamefully increased indirect tax without compensation to the great detriment of the poor in this country. In those circumstances you have no credibility getting up here asking me questions about tax mix switches.

Mr Beazley —Will you answer the question?

Mr SPEAKER —The Leader of the Opposition does not have the call and will resume his seat.