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Who's running scared on tax, Mr Hawke?



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Peter Reith

DEPUTY LEADER of the OPPOSITION P R E S S R E L E A S E

SHADOW TREASURER

WHO'S RUNNING SCARED ON TAX. MR HAWKE?

The Prime Ministers refusal to answer basic questions on the anomalies that exist within the wholesale sales tax system today highlight just how vulnerable the Government is on the issue of tax reform.

In Question Time today, Mr Hawke was asked some fundamental questions of fact in relation to the existing wholesale sales tax system, but he wasn't prepared to give one straight-forward answer.

Mr Hawke is prepared to run hard with a scare campaign on the taxation package revolving around a goods and services tax, but when it comes to talking about the fundamental anomalies that exist within the wholesale sales tax system he falls silent.

Why?

Because the Hawke Government doesnt want people to be made fully aware of just how unfair the existing wholesale sales tax is.

Mr Hawke and Mr Keating d on t want people to know that they're ALREADY paying sales tax on a huge range of goods that are in every room of every household around the country, goods that are in every child's schoolbag, and goods that are in every handyman's tool box.

Mr Hawke and Mr Keating d ont want people to know that there's no sales tax on caviar, or mineral water, or designer suits, or works of art, or chauffeur driven limousines.

They d ont want people to really focus on just how inequitable the existing system is.

But the Coalition is not going to let the Government hide behind a hollow scare campaign.

We welcome the renewed focus on taxation with open arms.

Newspaper editorials right around the country have all endorsed the Coalition's commitment to a goods and services tax.

Employer groups are in favour, as are farmers, small business, the Business Council of Australia, and virtually all academic economists.

The attachment highlights just how many ordinary household items are already covered by sales tax at rates of 10, 20, or 30 per cent. A quick check with the tax office confirmed the sales tax liability on these basic items.

All these items were taken out of newspaper advertisements this morning, and they represent only a small fraction of the household goods that people have to pay sales tax on every day.

29 May 1991 Canberra *

Contact: David Turnbull (06) 2774277

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