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Abbott outlines taxation reform policies -

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Abbott outlines taxation reform policies

Broadcast: 29/10/2010

Reporter: Susan McDonald

The Federal Opposition is winning political support for its banking reform push, but the Government
has described Tony Abbott's call for a flat tax rate as a tax hike for those on middle incomes.


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: In his quest to be seen as an economic reformer, Tony Abbott has flagged
his desire for an overhaul of Australia's taxation system.

The Federal Opposition Leader has acknowledged the merits of a new flat rate for most wage earners.

The Government's rejected the idea, saying it would be a tax hike for those on middle incomes.

But the Coalition's garnered more political support for its banking reform push. The Greens say
they're on board.

Susan McDonald reports from Canberra.

SUSAN MCDONALD, REPORTER: The election is over but the fight goes on.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: It is going to be a tough term of parliament. I'm up for the fight
and I know all of you are too.

SUSAN MCDONALD: For the first time since the defeat, the Liberal executive came together.

There were calls for Party cohesion.

ERIC ABETZ, OPPOSITION SENATE LEADER: It's vitally important that all our parliamentary colleagues
show the unity and discipline we had since the election.

SUSAN MCDONALD: And there was a pat on the back over the theme of the week.

JULIE BISHOP, DEPUTY OPPOSITION LEADER: And I must say that the Coalition are leading the economic
debate at present.

SUSAN MCDONALD: Out in front over banking reform the Shadow Treasurer has come under personal
attack from the sector.

JOE HOCKEY, SHADOW TREASURER: I just get up and read the paper, eat my cereal and get on with the

SUSAN MCDONALD: But in the Greens he's found an unlikely economic bedfellow.

BOB BROWN, GREENS LEADER: Joe Hockey's got a number of ideas there which require follow up and
follow through and I'm looking forward to talking with him about how we can progress some of those

SUSAN MCDONALD: An idea that sprung out from the election campaign could be here to stay. Tony
Abbott's declared his attraction to a flat tax system where nothing is paid until an income reaches
$25,000. Then the same rate, 35 per cent, applies right up to $180,000.

TONY ABBOTT: We are committed to further economic reform, we're particularly committed to welfare
reform and tax reform.

SUSAN MCDONALD: A flat rate was first proposed in the Henry Tax Review but along with many other
recommendations it was shunned by the Government then and now.

CRAIG EMERSON, TRADE MINISTER: Middle income earners should be very worried because middle income
earners would pay around $500 a year more under the proposal that Tony Abbott has embraced. And
Tony Abbott would get a tax cut of $4,000 a year.

JOE HOCKEY: Our view is the simpler the better. The fairer the tax system the better. The lower the
tax, the better.

SUSAN MCDONALD: While forging ahead with its bid for tax reform, the Coalition has reservations
about change on other financial matters.

Joe Hockey has met executives from the Australian Stock Exchange, who made their case for the
proposed Singapore Exchange merger. The Shadow Treasurer is now seeking more information from the

JOE HOCKEY: We have concerns that it may put at risk Australia's reputation as a regional financial

SUSAN MCDONALD: Other politicians have named Singapore's human rights record as a barrier.

The chairman of QANTAS is calling for a measured discussion.

LEIGH CLIFFORD, QANTAS CHAIRMAN: I think a bit of xenophobia's creeping into the debate
unfortunately. You know there are arguments for and against it.

SUSAN MCDONALD: And they'll all be weighed up by the Treasurer.

Susan McDonald, Lateline.