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Tuesday, 16 October 1984
Page: 1786


Senator MacGIBBON(8.57) —I want to speak briefly on the third reading of the Customs Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 3), the Excise Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 2) and the Customs Tariff (Coal Export Duty) Amendment Bill because it is important that the record be put straight. The Australian Labor Party and the Australian Democrats have recommended that a further tax be imposed upon the coal industry, because the proposition in the amendment put forward by the Opposition was that the tax be removed. We put forward that proposal for two very good reasons. We think that the need for that tax has passed and, furthermore, it applies to only one company out of the hundreds involved in the coal industry. It is quite incorrect for Senator Jack Evans, who knows nothing about the coal industry to claim that the Liberal Party proposed to remove this tax but, in his own words, did not do a damn thing about it in eight years. Apart from the fact that we were in government for seven years and not eight years, we did a lot about it. We reduced it from $6 to $4.50 and then to $3.50. The present level of return to the Government is $60m a year in rough terms. We almost halved it. In other words, one company would have been paying $ 120m. I think that is a pretty considerable reduction. We were moving in that direction and I speak only because of the gross misrepresentation of fact put by Senator Jack Evans.