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Thursday, 14 May 1987
Page: 3278


Mr HODGMAN(9.51) —Mr Deputy Speaker, with your indulgence, may I wish my distinguished father, whom we all love very much, a very happy seventy-eighth birthday today, and I also wish the honourable member for Franklin (Mr Goodluck) a happy birthday, because it is his birthday today. That was the good news. I now turn to what this Hawke socialist Government has done to this country because it is just 3 1/2 years ago that I stood in this chamber and said that under the policies of the Hawke-Keating socialist Government we would see our national anthem changed from Advance Australia Fair to `Advance Taxtralia Fair'. That is precisely what has happened. This package of taxation measures continues the trend of a socialist doctrinaire government which is taxing the soul out of this country; a socialist government which has destroyed all incentive; and a socialist government which punishes those who seek to work hard, who seek to prosper and who seek to profit.

I must congratulate my colleague the shadow Treasurer, the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Carlton), on the excellent amendment which he has moved to the second reading, and which I adopt. The words are so important that they require restatement to bring home to the people of Australia, particularly the business community, that every day longer that this Hawke socialist Government remains in office, this country is being taxed into extinction. We condemn the measures that we are debating tonight because at the very time that company rates around the world are being lowered, this socialist Government has increased the company tax rate from 46 per cent to 49 per cent. If people want that in simple language, as the honourable member for Franklin conducted a business, it means that every company in Australia is working 180 days a year to pay the taxes of the Hawke socialist Government.

I turn to my second point: The Treasurer (Mr Keating) says he has these tax reforms. The cost of the so-called tax reform proposals of the Hawke socialist Government has been to impose an additional $2,000m on the businesses of Australia. New business taxes have been imposed at the very time when the level of business investment in this country has fallen. The Government is kicking business. At a time when investment is falling, it is imposing more taxes and it is kicking Australian business while it is down. As the shadow Treasurer pointed out-my colleague the honourable member for Parkes (Mr Cobb) has also pointed out in this House-we have today the highest level of bankruptcies for many years.


Mr Goodluck —Shame.


Mr HODGMAN —It is a shame because young men and women who are trying to have a go are being taxed out of business. If the tax does not get them, the interest rates do. These are deliberate policies of the Hawke socialist Government. They are not accidental. People frequently say to me: `Why do you call it the Hawke socialist Government?'. I do, because it is. Its leader is a self-confessed, unashamed socialist and its party platform espouses socialism. Look who is rising to his feet.


Mr Robert Brown —Mr Deputy Speaker, I take a point of order. I have made this point before. If the term `socialist' were applied to me and to this Government by some people, I would take it as a compliment. But if, Mr Deputy Speaker, as you understand the Standing Orders, I am personally offended by any statement which is made by a member of the Opposition, I can ask for that term to be withdrawn. When that term socialist is used by the honourable member for Denison, I find it personally offensive and I ask that it be withdrawn.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Millar) —Order! The honourable member for Charlton has made his point. The expression as used, I think, is within acceptable parameters. If the honourable member for Charlton seeks to divorce himself from the accusation, he may seek the opportunity to make a personal explanation at an appropriate time.


Mr Robert Brown —But, Mr Deputy Speaker, is it appropriate for a fascist to refer to the Government as a socialist government?


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Charlton offends.


Mr HODGMAN —I am not a fascist.


Mr Robert Brown —Of course you are.


Mr HODGMAN —I am not. Of course those opposite are socialists and it is in their platform. To return to the debate, we note with concern the interaction of the proposals in the Bills, with the foreign tax credit system. The new capital gains tax imposes a tax disadvantage on companies and on their shareholders. Not only are we kicking companies when investment is dropping by taxing them harder, we are kicking those who wish to form companies and those who wish to invest in them. If that is not pure, doctrinaire socialism, if not Marxism, I do not know what it is.

The Bill contains unnecessarily complex administrative and compliance procedures for companies. The whole package of legislation is not to put Australia into top gear, but to put it into reverse gear. I shall give the House the statistics on what this wretched Government has done, through its wretched taxation system, to the people of Australia. One remembers March 1983 when the Rt. Hon. Malcolm Fraser was Prime Minister of Australia--


Mr Goodluck —A good fellow, too.


Mr HODGMAN —He was a good fellow and, my word, he looks better by the day. The people thought that Malcolm Fraser was a tough, hard man. Do the honourable members know that an average single income Australian family on average weekly earnings paid $65 a week in tax under Malcolm Fraser? How much are they paying under Prime Minister Hawke and the Keating-Hawke socialist Government? The same family is paying $102 a week in tax.


Mr Goodluck —How much?


Mr HODGMAN —I said $102 a week. That figure has gone from $65 a week under Malcolm Fraser to $102 a week under Bob Hawke, an increase of over 55 per cent. Malcolm Fraser is starting to look like Father Christmas as a result of the actions of the Hawke socialist Government.

Yet was it not Prime Minister Hawke who stood on the steps of the Sydney Opera House and proclaimed to all the world `Immediate tax cuts for 98 per cent of the Australian workers'? Immediate? The first batch took two and a half years to come and the second batch is still on the way. It is the greatest confidence trick ever perpetrated on the workers of Australia. They know that every day of every week that they work, whereas they paid $65 a week in tax under Prime Minister Fraser, they pay $102 under Prime Minister Hawke.

The fact is that they are paying $37 a week for the privilege of having the country ripped to pieces by the Prime Minister and the Treasurer. They are ripping this country to pieces, tearing out its heart and raping the economy-and the ordinary Australian worker is being ripped off by $37 a week in additional taxes to pay the bills for the Government's socialist policies.


Mrs Kelly —On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker: The honourable member's remarks are not relevant to the Bills before the House.


Mr HODGMAN —Oh, they are, they--


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Millar) —Order! The honourable member has not been called. There is a cognate debate before the House, which is widely embracing, and I am not in a position to disallow the remarks of the honourable member for Denison.


Mr HODGMAN —The honourable member for Canberra (Mrs Kelly) is an old friend, but she should have looked at the Bills. They include the Income Tax Rates Amendment Bill and the Income Tax (Franking Deficit) Bill, and I am referring to tax rates.

My time has almost expired. I have been talking about direct tax, but what about indirect tax? The automatic indexation of excise is a socialist bias that has made it impossible for the ordinary Australian worker to afford a beer and a smoke in the pub when he finishes work. The young kids of Australia can pay cash for a car, but have to pay for the petrol on hire purchase. It is only a matter of time until this Government puts metres on the ends of the beds. That is the way that it is going-it has taxed just about everything else. There is little that is has left untaxed and untouched. Of the two three-letter words that most Australians talks about, the one that we are debating tonight is `tax'. I am sick of it.

This Government has created the worst economic record in the shortest possible time. The Prime Minister should already be in the Guinness Book of Records for his second achievement-he has broken more promises in a shorter period of time than any other Prime Minister in the history of Australia.

Our overseas debt has gone up threefold. As the shadow Treasurer pointed out, we now owe $105 billion. The Government has bankrupted the country. It has put a burden of debt around the necks of our children. Every time we breathe, open our mouths, go to work or do anything, the Hawke socialist Government wants to tax us. Comrades, time is running out. At the next Federal election the Government is going to be swept out of office, and the sooner that time comes, the better. The sooner the Minister at the table, the Minister for Health (Dr Blewett), with his Medicare monster, is consigned to the dark dungeons of history so that we can all forget him and what he has done, the better for all Australians and the better for the future of this country. I hate him. The sooner he goes, the better. As soon as the people of Australia can get their hands on him, through the ballot box, they will strangle him, they will destroy him and they will decimate him.

Amendment negatived.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.