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Friday, 1 May 1987
Page: 2448

Mr CARLTON —My question is addressed to the Treasurer. I refer him to his answer to a question yesterday from the honourable member for McPherson regarding his constituent, Mrs Derek, who was fined for a late tax return despite the fact that she was owed money by the Australian Taxation Office. I remind the Treasurer that he based his own escape from a fine on three grounds: First, his record as a taxpayer; second, the fact that he was owed money by the Tax Office; and, third, that he had not received a first demand from the Tax Office. I ask the Treasurer: As it is only with regard to the first demand notice that his case differs from that of Mrs Derek, will he advise exactly what procedure is followed by the Tax Office in issuing first demand notices to 900,000 taxpayers each year and whether this procedure was followed in his case?

Mr KEATING —This is all in a tax ruling which I have mentioned in the House before. If the honourable member wants to look it up, he is welcome to. But the essential point to note in relation to this question is that we have had the consumer price index out, we have had the national accounts and the balance of payments numbers, but where is John Howard's Liberal Party? It is back in the gutter in the filth where it belongs. Is it any wonder that members of the Opposition are treated like toadies by business? Members of the Opposition not only have no policies, no principles in policy and no principles in their relationships with one another or between the respective parties but also they are totally disinterested in the major issues facing the nation. When important and timely indicators are published we cannot get one question from the shadow Treasurer about the economy. His sole question is about a tax ruling concerning tax provisions as they relate to me.

All I can say to honourable members opposite is: Keep on asking those kinds of questions. Keep it up. The more they do the more they will bury themselves. They lack principles, they lack ideas and they lack any substance whatsoever. They have sat on the Opposition benches for years thinking that they are the born to rule brigade. Their attitude is: `We are temporarily out of power but we are born to rule and we will be back'. The reason honourable members opposite came a gutser is that most Government members think that they were born to rule the Opposition and we will keep it up for a lot longer.