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The treasurer's tax statement

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ANDREW PEACOCK Leader of the Opposition

The Treasurer, Mr Keating's latest statement on tax reform - or rather, non-reform - is the greatest backdown to come from any Government in recent years, the Opposition Leader, Mr Andrew Peacock, said this afternoon.

"Faced with factional, union and public opinion poll pressure the Government has cut and run, and completely turned its back on meaningful tax reform to benefit the great majority of Australians," he said.

"The Treasurer's statement makes an even greater mockery of the Tax Summit and makes a farce of the Prime Minister, Mr Hawke's closing statement to that Summit.

"It also makes a mockery of the Treasurer's own statements concerning the necessity of tax reform and his so-called commitment to the 1 greatest reform' of the Australian taxation system ever."

Mr Peacock said the Treasurer had obviously called the end of the tax race too early when he said his so-called tax cart had crossed the finishing line with only one wheel missing.

"Not only has his tax cart not crossed the finishing line, it now appears it wasn't even in the race as a genuine alternative competitor," he said.

But Mr Peacock said the worst aspect of the latest decision by the Treasurer and the Government was that the Australian taxpayer was being sacrificed once again to Labor Party expediency and factionalism.

"The Treasurer's statement effectively sounds the death knell of any meaningful tax reform under Labor," he said.

"The legacy of the Labor years will now clearly be its record of the biggest spending, biggest borrowing and biggest taxing government in Australia's history.

"While backing away from fundamental tax reform, the Government nevertheless seems intent on hitting the Australian people with the new taxes contained in 1 Option A' of the now totally discredited Hawke-Keating White Paper."

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Mr Peacock said the Opposition Parties remained committed to meaningful tax reform when it is returned to office in 1987 or earlier.

"This will start where all true tax reform should start - by bringing down Government expenditure - and reducing marginal income tax rates," he said.

"We have clearly stated what we will do and what we will not do in tax reform.

"We will introduce meaningful tax reform for families and we will not introduce new inheritance taxes, such as capital gains taxes, death duties and gift duties," he said

"The choice is now clearer than ever between Labor's big spending, big taxing mentality and our alternative which will offer new incentive for all Australians."

13 AUGUST 1985