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Monday, 31 October 2011
Page: 12128

Mr TEHAN (Wannon) (21:18): It is quite ironic that we should be debating this motion which recognises the need for comprehensive tax reform to maximise the standard of living for Australians for the next 50 years when, the last time we were here, we put through the largest, most economy-wide, economy-destroying tax that this nation has ever seen—a tax which, if the Labor Party has its way, will last for 50 years and stand as their legacy. I think what we should be doing is looking at how we can simplify tax, how we can lower tax, how we can provide for fairer tax—but, sadly, I cannot see that happening. I must say that the previous speaker has a very optimistic view of the world, because he called for his summit when the backdrop is that this government, since 2007, has introduced 19 new taxes. If we want to do this seriously, we need to make sure that we have a government in power that is serious about tax reform. It is hard to call the current government serious about tax reform when we have had 19 new taxes introduced since 2007. Of course, one of those taxes is the mother of all taxes: the carbon tax.

I cannot see how we are going to get much achieved by debating this. We have had the Henry tax review. This government undertook a serious tax review and it cost $10 million. And what came of it? Did we get comprehensive tax reform? No, we did not. Did we get any movement to try to get rid of some of those 19 new taxes which have been put in since 2007? No, sadly, we did not. I think we do need to see serious tax reform. We do need to see a road map for the next 10 years and we do need a political party to map out what it wants to see as the tax vision for Australia in the future. But we will not see it from a government which has introduced 19 new taxes since 2007. The penny needs to drop on that. I think it has dropped for the Australian people and they are starting to see that this government will never be serious about tax reform. But if you look at the history of the coalition and what it has achieved, you see the single most important piece of tax reform that this country has seen—the introduction of the GST. We have a record of looking seriously at lowering taxation, of making taxation fairer and of making taxation simpler.

Government members interjecting

Mr TEHAN: For those members interjecting, that does not include taxes like alcopops tax, a new tax on Australians working overseas, cutting what Australians can put into superannuation tax free, restriction on business losses, changes to employee share schemes, a cigarette tax hike of 25 per cent, mining tax, ethanol tax increases, LPG excise increase and tightening restrictions on medical expenses before you can claim them on tax. That is 10, and we are still counting. There is the increase in the luxury car tax, the impost of a flood levy, the tax increase on company cars, the abolition of the entrepreneurs tax offset, the phasing out of the dependent spouse tax offset, disallowed deductions against government assistance payment, removing miners' eligibility for the low-income tax offset on unearned income, deferral of tax breaks for green buildings and, of course, the last one, No. 19—the tax we were never going to have, the tax which we were told before the last election we would not have, the carbon tax.

So if we are serious about having a proper discussion on tax reform I think we need a change of government, because one side of this parliament has a record of providing for lower, fairer and simpler tax; the other side, sadly, does not. I commend the member for Lyne for having the initiative to talk about taxation; he just needs to do it with a government that will act in the right way. (Time expired)