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Monday, 13 May 1985
Page: 1796

Senator BROWNHILL —I refer the Minister for Finance to the comments of Mr Simon Crean of the Australian Council of Trade Unions on the Sunday program yesterday when Mr Crean totally rejected the tax reform package put to the unions by the Government less than two weeks ago. Does the Minister believe that the union movement, given its present position, can be persuaded to accept a package which includes a broadly based consumer tax? Does the Minister see any merit in Mr Crean's suggestion that it would be possible to broaden the indirect tax base by reducing tax on manufactured goods and extending taxes on service industries?

Senator WALSH —No, I did not see Mr Crean on the Sunday program yesterday.

Senator Grimes —We were working.

Senator WALSH —Yes, we were working. Apparently members of the Opposition have nothing better to do on Sundays than watch television. Nor am I aware of what package, if any, was put to ACTU representatives a few weeks ago. It is possible to devise an unlimited number of taxation packages involving taxes on services, goods, income and capital, with an infinite number of variations. The Government will be finalising a package within the next week or so. It will be made available to the public some time after that. I think that will be the time to judge whether the ACTU or Mr Crean, or anyone else, will accept that package.