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Secret treasury report on New Zealand GST: why Keating and Dawkins have panicked

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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 release:

SMF 123/92



Those champions of full and open political debate in Australia, Prime Minister Keating and Treasurer Dawkins, have refused to expose to public scrutiny the uncensored version of a secret report on the New Zealand GST compiled by an Australian Treasury

team which carried out an investigation across the Tasman.

Here's what the Sydney Morning Herald had to say today about this sordid affair:

"Unfortunately for the Government, the Treasury team came hack persuaded that the GST in New Zealand was not the disaster its detractors had assumed it to be. "

"... the paper represents a powerful contradiction of the line Mr Keating has been pushing on the perils of the GST . . . [and] he has reacted with uncharacteristic panic and confusion."

"On what more solid evidence, then, does Mr Keating base his view that the GST is 'poison' in New


What evidence indeed?

Please find attached a report by the Member for La Trobe, Mr Bob Charles MP, submitted to the Leader of the Opposition, Dr Hewson, following a fact-finding mission to New Zealand earlier this year.

Canberra 9 December 1992

Contact: Rod Woolley (06)277 3119 (w), (06)288 9355 (h)

Bob Charles MP (03)762 4066 (w), (03)707 1790 (h)


Stibney JBomtng ^fecalb Wednesday; December 9,1992

and the GST ALL politicians have it, and it had discouraged tax avoids none in greater measure than ance and had been introduced Mr Keating,.It is the capacity to without disruption, thanks to a deflect inconvenient truths and successful education campaign,

brazen outtcontradictions, espe- Therejs reason to thinkthat the j dally one’sfown. The public has paperaaid'much more that was cometojexpect regular displays favourable to the ; GST. But i of it;anW v^^p^joydhem iost m ucb^T ;the copy tipbtained I dazzling demonstrations: For underlie Freedom of.Informa- the politicians, however, this ίϊοη ,Άηί was blacked «out, on - high-wire act can beaaddictive, grounds^ of confidentiality,

or worse. The more They sue- Evemso, the paper represents ceed in ^ d e ^ n g figrayity, the a.powefful contradiction o f the'- more: theyiareidriyeh’ to ever lin e Mr S e a tin g has been more reckless stunts. pushing on the perils of the

How else to explain Mr GST. In the face of even the

Keating’s amazing performance limited disclosure of the Trea- over the Treasury paper on the sury paper, he has reacted with effect o f the GST in New uncharacteristic panic.and con- Zealand? The study was com- fusion. He who has so often missioned in September last sought to bolster his own year, when Mr Keating was policies with evidence of Trea- Treasurer in the Hawke Gov- sury support now says: “Who

ernment. Obviously it was cares what Treasury thinks?” 1 meant to provide ammunition He who was presumably happy i against the Opposition’s 1GST to see%Treasury team sent to proposals for Australia. (And if gather’inform ation in New it had, nodoubtwewouldnever Zealand last year now says: have heard the end of it.) “Frankly, as if you’d go to a

Unfortunately Tor the Govern- Treasury team for a public view ment, the Treasury team came aboutNew Zealand. I mean, the back persuaded that the GSTrn Treasury; whatever it is, it’s not New Zealand was not the a public relations firm or an disaster its detractors -had advertising agency. I don’t assumed it to be. think it’s the place to go to find

That did not prevent Mr out what reception the GST is Keating telling Parliament on getting in New Zealand.” various occasions last' month / Qri‘.what moresolid evidence.- that the GST was deeply dis- then, does Mr Keating base his liked in New Zealand. Small view that the GST is “poison” in business people,, he said ^ n o. New Zealahd?g*vYou’ve ^ only

longer enjoyed Sundays at the got to askanyonein: business or; beach because they had to do v small business or anyone in the i GST'-paperwork.-‘He tabled a ' community,” he says. “Any j GSTreturn form and an accom- anecdotal evidence.” In the i

panying .guide. to . show how com ing ^election the public burdensome it was to New expects fierce debate on the Zealanders. He quoted a recent GST, and hopes it will be study=as saying that compliance informative. In March this year,

costs o f the New Zealand GST theTreasurer, Mr Dawkins, was were'7 per cent, compared with obliged -by a..freedom -of-2 per cent for PAYE. information ;request. to release Last w eek, the Herald Treasury’s analysis o f the

obtained a copy of the Treasury distributional effects of the paper on the effects of New Fightback package. Useful Zealand GSTf The '24-page debate follow ed. The same paper clearly stated that the . should happen now with the

GST had been universally Treasury paper — uncensored accepted in New Zealand, that — on the New Zealand GST.



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