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FINANCE—HORIZONTAL FISCAL EQUALISATION

Leave refused: Senator Brown sought leave to amend general business notice of motion no. 879, relating to Horizontal Fiscal Equalisation.

An objection was raised and leave was not granted.

Senator Brown, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 879—That the Senate—

 (a) recognises the significance of goods and services tax (GST) receipts to state governments;

 (b) acknowledges the commitment given by the Federal Labor Government to Horizontal Fiscal Equalisation (HFE);

 (c) notes that:

  (i) HFE is the distribution method that underpins the concept of federalism in this country and spreads Australia's wealth fairly across all states and territories,

  (ii) HFE is vitally important to the Federation and this long-standing principle of equalisation has served Australia well, and that this has long been a bipartisan position of successive Labor and Liberal Commonwealth Governments, and

  (iii) a move to per capita distribution of the GST would have disastrous consequences for the budgets of smaller states and territories in the Commonwealth, whose residents would consequently receive a significantly inferior level of key services such as health and education; and

 (d) endorses HFE and calls on all sides of politics to support the principle that HFE be maintained into the future.

Question put and passed.

Statement by leave: The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Abetz), by leave, made a statement relating to the motion.