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Thursday, 10 December 1998
Page: 1841

Mr MARTIN (12:08 PM) —I second all the amendments moved by the member for Hotham. I will also make a comment, given that the government has moved so quickly in this place once again to deny the rights of members of parliament to debate what it maintains is the most far-reaching and important piece of legislation dealing with taxation reform introduced into this place. If, in fact, it was so important to it, one would have thought more hours would have been made available to us all to debate this matter.

I will make specific reference to a couple of bills that are a part of this package. The simple fact is that there are elements of this package which the opposition agrees with, as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition said. In respect of the effect the GST will have on small business, let me say this: in the course of the last parliament I went around Australia, as the shadow minister with this portfolio responsibility, talking to small businesses. They said that the last thing they needed, particularly in micro-business, was an impost on them in terms of the amount of bookkeeping that would be required and the additional hours they would have to put in after a long day at the office, at their work or at whatever they were doing, just to maintain the records so that the tax police from the Australian Taxation Office would not be on their case all the time. The simple fact is that small business do not want this sort of taxation regime. As the Leader of the Opposition has said, Labor has never shied away from taxation reform if it was necessary.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jenkins) —Order! The time allotted for the second reading of orders of the day Nos 2 to 10 has expired. The original question was that the bills be now read a second time. To this the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has moved amendments in respect of certain of the bills that all words after `That' be omitted with a view to substituting other words. The question now is that the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question.