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Monday, 30 March 1987
Page: 1678

Mr HOWARD (Leader of the Opposition) —I seek leave to make a personal explanation.

Madam SPEAKER —Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr HOWARD —I do.

Madam SPEAKER —Please proceed.

Mr HOWARD —During Question Time the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) claimed that the Opposition's commitment to abolish the assets test was in doubt. That claim was completely incorrect and I will inform the House of the way in which it was incorrect. The Prime Minister based his claim on a personal explanation that I gave in this House last Thursday. On page 1599 of Hansard, in that personal explanation, I was recorded as drawing attention to the inaccuracy of his claim about a $16 billion expenditure commitment. I said to the House then-this is where the misrepresentation occurred-and these are the words the Prime Minister quoted today:

. . . the only precise commitments of the Opposition which carry a quantifiable cost are those which were outlined . . . in the reply that I gave to the Budget Speech last year.

I went on to say:

They are the commitments to abolish the fringe benefits tax, the capital gains tax and lump sum superannuation tax.

I further said

I have also said--

Hansard records that I was then interrupted by your good self, Madam Speaker, in relation to a procedural matter and I was therefore prevented from going on to say, as I did in my Budget reply of last year, that I have also said that the Opposition is committed to the abolition of the assets test. This is but the latest example--

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member is now going on to debate the issue.

Mr HOWARD —Of the lengths this Prime Minister will go to to distort the policies of the Opposition.

Madam SPEAKER —The honourable member will resume his seat.