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Friday, 7 September 1984
Page: 636


Senator Dame MARGARET GUILFOYLE(9.47) —Like the Minister for Resources and Energy (Senator Walsh), I have listened to enough nonsense this morning to feel that I must respond to some of it. For the Australian Democrats to say that they have brought forward what they call a unanimous view on this matter is to ignore the three different speeches that we have already heard from them. We heard Senator Jack Evans suggest that some sort of progressive introduction of the tax will be able to be tolerated. We have had Senator Macklin talking about the Government having no mandate to introduce it. If it did not have a mandate for a 10 per cent tax, it did not have a mandate for a 2 1/2 per cent tax, and to suggest that we are driving something to the wall progressively instead of instantaneously seems to me to be a rather peculiar argument to put. As for the Democrats and their approach to sales tax Bills, every time they get their hands on a sales tax Bill they do not want to put themselves into the column of having rejected something because of the nonsense they talk every time they go to an election-that they will not reject money Bills. Instead of putting themselves in the column of rejecting legislation they put themselves in the column of amending it, putting up amendments to reduce the revenue, putting up--


Senator Jack Evans —That is arrant nonsense. We rejected your sales tax Bill on the necessities of life.


Senator Dame MARGARET GUILFOYLE — The honourable senator talks about our having a different view. We felt strongly about the Democrats' attitudes to that Bill and about the outdated homilies that they read to us this morning about the Attorney-General, Senator Gareth Evans, when he was in opposition, and about mandates and all sorts of things. We felt strongly about that and the Democrats will remember that their action in that matter resulted in those Bills being used as a double dissolution measure. On this occasion they do not want to do that, they just want to amend all the Bills. The Liberal Party and the National Party have made their attitude to those sales tax Bills quite clear. We put forward our amendment to the second reading motion. That is our approach to the matter and that is the way in which government really works.

The Government will live with the measures that it brings in. The Government has to deal with the industry. The Democrats do not deal with the Government on these matters; they deal with every lobby group that comes to them about a sales tax Bill. We have another handful of the Democrats' amendments here-things that they recycle every time that they get their hands on a sales tax Bill. That is why I feel that we ought this morning just say to them that if they wish to deal with these matters, if the legislation is the disaster to the industry that they say it is, they should reject it and have themselves counted accordingly as having rejected a money raising Bill, as having tried to rewrite the Budget even though they have no responsibilities of government.