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Wednesday, 16 March 2005
Page: 25


Senator MURRAY (10:52 AM) —From the perspective of the chamber, I think I have given the motivation for our views on this very fully in my speech in the second reading debate. Unless Senator Sherry or the minister wish me to, I am not going to expand on those. I consider that by virtue of the kinds of amendments I have I will have to move them separately, but I will talk to both if that is in order.

Amendment (1) knocks out the offset. We disagree with the government on that policy and we choose to do that. Amendment R(2), even if the first is not knocked out, is really stating a point of principle which we feel quite strongly about. As both the coalition and the Labor Party are aware, the Democrats have for a number of years been campaigning to increase the tax-free threshold. We have unsuccessfully tried to raise it to $10,000. In each case we have used the sum of money which the government said was available in a particular bill and converted it for another purpose, and that is exactly what we have done here. The explanatory memorandum gave us a cost of $400 million. It is our understanding that the cost of our proposal is about $398 million, so it is pretty well revenue neutral if item 1 is opposed. Of course, if item 1 were not opposed then there would be an additional $400 million on the bottom line. The Democrats oppose schedule 1 in the following terms, as set out on sheet 4540:

(1)    Schedule 1, page 5 (line 2) to page 13 (line 27), TO BE OPPOSED.

As I said earlier, if Senator Sherry or the minister wish me to talk more to the amendments, I will.