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Tuesday, 9 October 1984
Page: 1450

Senator MESSNER —My question is directed to the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I refer to his interview on the Mike Schildberger show yesterday. Does the Minister's refusal to rule out the possibility of a mini-Budget add weight to the comments of Mr Barry Jones, the Minister for Science and Technology, that taxes will have to be raised after the election? Does it further suggest that the assets test may be tightened in line with the statements by Senator Grimes in his contributions to Labor Essays of 1983 when he indicated that such a test should be run concurrently with a wider assets tax?

Senator BUTTON —The Government has given no consideration to next year's Budget proposals, but certainly no decision has been taken on, and there has been no discussion of, any mini-Budget as suggested by Senator Messner. Insofar as the question about the assets test is raised, I did not mention anything like that in the course of my discussion on the Schildberger program. What I did say was that the Government was committed to a broad review of the taxation system; it was concerned about inequities in the taxation system; any such review would be designed primarily to remove such inequities from the system; in having any review of the taxation system, the views of a wide range of organisations would be taken into account; and the question of a capital gains tax would not be excluded from the agenda, just as it would not be excluded from the agenda by the next leader of the Liberal Party, Mr Howard.