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Dawkins wrong on sales tax bills dates

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Senator Jim Short Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Shadow Minister for Finance & Assisting the Leader on Commonwealth/State Relations

^ MEDIA V > RFI F A C iF ^ r

SMF 62/92


Treasurer Dawkins said last Friday (26 June 1992) that there is "some prospect that the Government's Sales Tax Bills can be passed in August". .

Unless the Government gags debate on the Bills in the Senate, there is no way that this can occur. The Bills have not yet been subject even to a Second Reading debate!

There are only three parliamentary sitting days in August, namely 18-20 August. After that the Parliament does not sit again until 8 September.

The Senate Select Committee established at the Coalition's initiative last week to examine and report on the Bills has been asked to report to the Senate by 19 August. That is an almost impossibly tight time table if the Committee is to carry out its mandate responsibly. It may well have to seek an extension of its reporting date, depending on the number and range of submissions received from the public.

There is a great deal of concern in the community about the content of these Bills, particularly at their quite draconian anti-avoidance provisions and the enormous number of what are being euphemistically described as "unintended consequences". I would expect the committee will receive a very large number of submissions.

But even if the 19 August date is met, is Mr Dawkins seriously suggesting that the Senate will allow the Bills to pass on the following day, 20 August?

The obscene haste that that implies should be obvious even to someone as blind to economic and other realities as Mr Dawkins.

The Government claims it needs 3 months to put its new sales tax regime into place after the legislation is passed. If this is so, then the Government is once again deliberately misleading and confusing the business community by implying that the sales tax legislation will be passed in time for the new provisions to be in place by 1 December 1992.

If the Government had any concern for the real interests of the community, it would abandon the any thought of implementing its sales tax proposals before the next federal election. To attempt to rush them through would simply add further uncertainty, confusion and costs to an already chaotic situation. ,

Canberra 30 June 1992



For further information contact Senator Short on 03-387 4177 or (AH) 03-380 2714.