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Media reports wrong and mischievous.

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The Hon Joe Hockey MP Shadow Treasurer

Media reports suggesting I was critical of the Howard Government’s economic legacy and more recent tax cuts from a speech at CEDA yesterday are inaccurate, selective with their quotations and mischievous.

1. Family Tax Benefits

I recognised that the Family Tax Benefits scheme is generous but I also pointed out that it was deliberately generous for families for two reasons;

Firstly, the cost of housing and the need for two incomes to pay a mortgage, particularly in capital cities, was a significant burden for families.

Secondly, the Liberal Party believes in choice for parents. The financial burden on stay at home parents is enormous and the Family Tax Benefit helped to alleviate financial pressures on families.

2. Larger Surpluses

I actually pointed out that at the time people wanted more money spent on family support initiatives such as tax deductibility of child care, more generous welfare and other payments. Few people were calling for larger surpluses, especially the Labor Opposition.

I suggested that we could have better explained the rationale for the Future Fund and with the benefit of hindsight, would have set up the Health and Education infrastructure funds earlier.

3. Current Tax Cuts

On Budget night Wayne Swan failed to mention the $18 billion of tax cuts that will kick in today and next July 1.

The Coalition argued that instead of handing out the second cash splash (which totalled $12.7 billion) we would have brought forward the tax cuts for a much lesser cost starting 1 January.

With the revelation of the true state of the Budget in May it is reasonable to have public debate on tax cuts. The deficit is so large and the debt so significant that $18 billion of tax cuts are a significant cost to the Budget.

However I pointed out that the Liberal Party is the party of low tax and it would be very difficult for us to vote against tax cuts, especially those that we initiated, notwithstanding the Labor induced massive increase in expenditure.

In addition, I also stated that the seven consecutive years of cuts to personal income tax under the Howard Government had not gone too far.

I remain very proud of the Howard Government economic legacy. It is the main reason why we have been able to see off the worst of the financial crisis.

Suggestions otherwise about my views are mischievous and misleading.