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Wednesday, 9 December 1998
Page: 1672

Debate resumed from 8 December, on motion by Mr Costello:

That the bill be now read a second time.

upon which Mr Crean moved by way of amendment:

That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

"the House:

(1) condemns the Government for seeking to introduce a GST which is an unnecessary, unfair, job destroying tax which discriminates against low and middle income earners, the aged and families;

(2) condemns the Government for putting at risk the low inflation environment delivered by Labor by proposing to introduce an inflationary GST which will put at risk the low interest rates made possible by low inflation;

(3) condemns the Government for placing a higher priority on imposing a GST on Australian families that will make the tax system less equitable, rather than addressing tax avoidance loopholes, which would improve the equity of the tax system;

(4) condemns the Government for the hypocrisy of claiming that hidden indirect taxes are unfair merely because they are not separately disclosed to consumers and then proposing a massive new GST which will also be hidden from consumers even though a retail tax can simply be made transparent to consumers; and

(5) condemns the Government for granting the GST a higher legislative priority than all of the following related matters which have not as yet been introduced into the Parliament including:

(a) those matters listed below which are contingent on the GST package which the Government is hiding from the Australian people and from the Senate Inquiry process such as:

(i) the mechanism by which the rate of GST is supposed to be locked in;

(ii) the amendments to the Trade Practices Act which will grant the ACCC greater power to police the changeover to the GST regime which the Government claims will result in all of the reductions in Commonwealth and state taxes being passed on to consumers;

(iii) excise arrangements for petrol and diesel, involving supposedly retail price neutral shifts in petrol prices and a 25 cent reduction in diesel;

(iv) the repeal of the so-called safety net excise arrangements which were implemented after the High Court ruled state business franchise fees to be unconstitutional;

(v) the luxury car tax;

(vi) the wine equalisation tax;

(vii) repeal/Amendment to the Diesel Fuel Rebate Scheme;

(viii) the First Home Buyers Scheme;

(ix) the guaranteed distribution of GST Revenue to the states; and

(x) the $500 million GST start-up package for small business.

(b) Those related taxation/equity matters which are not contingent on the GST but which should be made available to the Australian people for their consideration including:

(i) providing a Fringe Benefits Tax Exemption for remote area housing provided to employees in the mining industry;

(ii) the repeal of Commonwealth Local Government Funding Legislation;

(iii) changes to childcare assistance;

(iv) excise arrangements for tobacco;

(v) the entity taxation regime involving taxing companies, trusts, life insurance etc under one common set of arrangements;

(vi) the business taxation measures involving the deferred company tax (ie full franking of all dividends) and the possible changes to the corporate rate and business concessions arrangements;

(vii) the new employer withholding arrangements which will replace the PAYE, PPS and RPS systems;

(viii) share buy-backs and liquidations;

(ix) extending capital gains tax relief and the retirement exemption for small business;

(x) limiting the existing Fringe Benefits Tax Exemption for non-profit organisations to $17,000 gross-up value for each employee;

(xi) the anti-avoidance legislation addressing complex chains of trusts;

(xii) the repeal of provisional tax and the introduction of the new Pay As You Go tax payment arrangements;

(xiii) the changes to the timing of company tax arrangements; and

(xiv) refundable imputation credits".