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Thursday, 20 August 2009
Page: 8539


Mr TURNBULL (2:07 PM) —My question is to the Treasurer. I refer the Treasurer to his refusal to tell the Australian people about the government’s proposals to increase taxes by hiding behind the Henry tax review. Given that the government has already slugged taxpayers with increased taxes and charges on alcohol, cars, visas, overseas earned income, employee share schemes, software, fringe benefits, superannuation, non-commercial losses and private health insurance, doesn’t this just prove that the Henry tax review is nothing more than a smokescreen for the government’s plan to increase taxes?


Mr SWAN (Treasurer) —This is a bit rich coming from a member of a government that was the highest taxing government in Australia’s history. They were a big taxing and very big spending government, and it has fallen to this side of the House to put some rigour back into the budget to deal with the structural issues in the budget that were created by those opposite. Over in the Senate they are opposing our proposals to means-test the private health insurance rebate. For them to ask this question at this stage, for them to come into this House and conduct a fear campaign on debt, just shows how hypocritical they are. They have not got a fiscal policy. All they can do is run these fear campaigns.

They are running these fear campaigns because the only thing that unites those opposite is their hatred of the government. That is the only thing that unites those opposite: their hatred of the Labor Party. They cannot come together with the government in the national interest to support economic stimulus, to support the bank guarantees and to support all of those things we have done to cushion our economy from the worst impacts of a global recession. They are a rabble, and that has eventuated because of the weak leadership of the Leader of the Opposition. It was on display in this House yesterday and it is on display in this House every time he asks a question where he puts forward a proposal to create a fear campaign. On this side of the House, there is no doubt that we take the nation’s long-term interests very seriously, unlike those opposite who only act in their own self-interest. It is in the long-term national interest for this country to have a mature discussion about tax reform and that is what we are going to do.