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Thursday, 9 May 1985
Page: 1644

Senator LEWIS —I refer the Minister for Finance to that part of the statement by Mr Dolan of the Australian Council of Trade Unions on AM today when asked whether there was any possibility of the ACTU accepting a consumption tax. He said: 'I, right at this point of time, would say no'. Will the Government abandon the tax reform option of introducing a broadly based consumer tax if the ACTU maintains its present opposition to that change?

Senator WALSH —The Government, as I would have thought even Senator Lewis would know, has not made any specific decisions about changes to the tax system. Options are under consideration and, as I said yesterday, it has been a matter of public record for many months that the Treasurer has canvassed the view that the present system is badly in need of repair. I do not think anyone would dispute that, other than the tax evaders and avoiders and their friends across the aisle who are more interested in protecting them than they are in reforming the taxation system. The Treasurer has also expressed the view that there should be a significant change towards higher levels of indirect tax in one form or another. As I said yesterday, that is a view which appears to be shared at least by the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia and maybe, for all I know, by many other people in the Liberal Party. As for Mr Dolan's comments, his views will not be particularly relevant to the decision because if Mr Dolan is not yesterday's man, he is today's man-he is certainly not tomorrow's man. By the time these matters become important in relations between the ACTU and the Government, Mr Dolan will no longer be President of the ACTU.