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Thursday, 9 December 1999
Page: 11615

Senator MARK BISHOP —My question is to the Assistant Treasurer, Senator Kemp. Won't everyone who attends charity Christmas concerts this year be hoping and expecting that all of the proceeds from the sale of tickets will be going to organisations like the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, the Smith Family and the East Timor Appeal? Isn't it exactly this kind of charity concert that will be forced to charge GST on tickets at Christmas time next year with the Howard-Lees skimming off of money intended for the charities?

Senator KEMP —I thank the senator for the question. It is a very good question. I thank him for mentioning the Salvation Army. I could not believe my luck when he mentioned the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army have made their views extremely well known. Let me just share with him what the Salvation Army is saying. I will quote Mr Pat Daly from the Salvation Army, who appeared on the radio.

Senator Mark Bishop —Answer the question.

Senator KEMP —You do not want to hear it, but you are going to. You asked the question and, my word, you are going to hear it. This is what the Salvation Army said:

The Salvation Army is now comfortable with the GST with the compensation that has been provided by the government. We have signed off on it more or less.

Mr Pat Daly is from the Salvation Army. The question was about the Salvation Army. You will hear the Salvation Army's views. Mr Pat Daly said this:

We believe that the government is providing adequate compensation, that in fact the government is providing funding for ongoing education.

The Salvation Army went on to say a number of things. I invite the senator to—

Senator Chris Evans —Madam President, I raise a point of order. Can the minister clarify whether this is the same spokesman who said he had no knowledge of any of the details and was just trying to help out? He said he could not answer any specific questions about the detail. Is that the same Mr Daly?

The PRESIDENT —There is no point of order.

Senator KEMP —Now we have seen it all. The Labor Party senator has been dopey enough to stand up in this chamber and attack the Salvation Army.

Senator Chris Evans —Table it!

Senator KEMP —This is a first in this chamber. In the hundred years since Federation, I suggest that not one senator has got up and attacked the Salvation Army. Senator Evans will go down in history.

Senator Chris Evans —Table it!

The PRESIDENT —Senator Evans, at the end of the answer, you are entitled to ask the minister to table the document from which he has quoted. It is not appropriate to sit there shouting out, `Table it!' all through the answer. There is a time when you may do so.

Senator KEMP —This is what Mr Daly said. Frankly, I am very shocked by the senator's comments as, I guess, all of us on this side of the chamber are shocked. If you saw the faces of your colleagues, you would see that they are pretty shocked too. The Salvation Army are doing a wonderful job in this country. They are entitled to be listened to. They may not be running the Labor Party line, but they are entitled to be listened to.

We have had Labor senators standing up purporting to speak on behalf of the charities. Let the charities have their say. Again, this is what Mr Daly of the Salvation Army said:

We're satisfied that all the issues have been dealt with and that we're not going to be jeopardised in any way, or it's not going to be a negative for us.

That is what is the Salvation Army said. Frankly, for a senator to get up in here and attack the Salvation Army is absolutely outrageous. After question time, the senator should stand up and apologise.

Senator MARK BISHOP —Madam President, I ask a supplementary question. Since this is possibly the last Labor supplementary question of the year, we will do it in the Christmas spirit and try to get an intelligent response from the minister. Assuming that 1,000 people attend a Christmas concert at an average price of $10 each, won't the government next year be skimming $990 off the money raised?

Senator KEMP (Assistant Treasurer) —The senator should be aware from the quotations I made that the Salvation Army have said that the tax reform is not going to be a negative for them. Did you understand that? This may well be my last chance to answer this century. Let me conclude my answer by saying that the good news about tax reform—

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT —The level of noise is absolutely unacceptable.

Senator KEMP —The good news is that, of the families who will be attending concerts next year, many of them will have received tax cuts in the order of $40 to $50 per week. That is what we offer. That is what the Labor Party opposed. Let me give you some advice: why don't you go away for the break and work out a few policies for yourselves.