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Wednesday, 24 August 1994
Page: 271


Senator MINCHIN (6.58 p.m.) —I move:

  That the Senate take note of the report.

This report is a damning indictment of the government. It is, in fact, proof of the worst characteristic of this Labor Party and this Labor government. This is a high taxing, high spending, high deficit government and the proof is all here right in this document.

  In 1993-94 this government spent $114 billion, up nearly $5 billion or 4.3 per cent. The government took in revenue of over $100 billion; for the first time in this nation's history, this government has taken from the Australian people in revenue over $100 billion. That was an increase of $5.6 billion, up 5.9 per cent, at a time when the recession was only just coming to an end. As a result, we have a deficit of $13.6 billion. So this is the national household spending $13.6 billion more than it received in income.

  If we look in the document, we find hidden away in outlays is a credit of $2.4 billion for asset sales—this is selling the silver to pay the recurrent expenditure. So we have a real recurrent deficit of $16 billion. That is the underlying deficit run by this government—$16 billion. As a result, the government has had to borrow in the last financial year $13.6 billion, which has obvious consequences for real interest rates. We now have the highest real interest rates in the world. They have, of course, just gone up and they are going to keep on going up as a result of the deficit program of this government.

  Public debt interest in 1993-94, as revealed in this document, was $6.5 billion; we had to pay out $6.5 billion just in interest. That is double the amount that South Australia lost on its state bank. We are paying that out in interest in just one year and, of course, we have deficits going on into the interminable future.

  Total government spending under this government has nearly doubled in the last 10 years: it was $64 billion in 1984-85; it is now $114 billion. On the revenue side, revenue has gone up 5.9 per cent in the last financial year compared to an inflation rate of only 1.8 per cent. If we look at the crunch issue, total income tax on individuals, as revealed by this document, has gone up 4.7 per cent in real terms. At a time when we are just trying to come out of a recession and we have massive problems with unemployment, this government is taking from Australians another 4.7 per cent in real terms in personal taxation.

  Sales tax went up 10.8 per cent in real terms in the last financial year. The hypocrisy of this government is unbelievable. This is the first financial year after the government's campaign against the GST, and it has increased sales tax by 10.8 per cent in real terms. Excise duty is up 10 per cent in real terms under a government that campaigned against the goods and services tax. Total tax revenue has almost doubled in 10 years of Labor. It has gone from $53 billion in 1984-85 to nearly $94 billion in 1993-94. Of course, when we add other revenue we get over $100 billion. It is an indictment of Labor and it is something that we will be reminding the electorate about from now right through to the election.

  Under this government tax revenue in real terms has been increased in all but two of the last 10 financial years. In eight of the last 10 financial years, tax revenue—the money this government takes from ordinary Australians—has increased in real terms. Despite taking so much money out of the hands of ordinary Australians, the government still continues to run big deficits. We have to pay tax money to pay the interest on the debt, and the debt keeps accumulating every year. This document is a classic example of what is wrong with Labor and what distinguishes us from Labor. Labor is the party of high taxes, high spending and high deficits.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.