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Thursday, 20 August 2009
Page: 8546

Mr HOCKEY (2:39 PM) —My question is to the Treasurer, and I refer to his desire to have a mature debate on taxation reform without him giving an opinion. Does the Treasurer agree with the International Monetary Fund that the current tax treatment of owner-occupied housing is too generous and that capital gains tax should be levied on the family home?

Mr SWAN (Treasurer) —I thank the shadow Treasurer for his question about tax. I also have now the statement he made to the House on 11 August this year. He said this:

We look forward to the tax and welfare reform initiative of the Henry review. We look forward to seeing that.

Back then, only a few weeks ago, he was a full supporter of the Henry process. Today the Leader of the Opposition comes into the House and calls it a smokescreen—very sloppy, Joe, very sloppy. What it shows is just how divided—

The SPEAKER —Order! The Treasurer will refer to members by their parliamentary titles.

Mr SWAN —It just shows how divided they are.

Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Under standing order 64(c), you have twice asked the Treasurer to withdraw that remark this week, and I would ask you to ask him to withdraw that remark on this occasion.

The SPEAKER —To progress proceedings, and offence to the expression being expressed, I will ask the Treasurer to withdraw. The more important thing that I would like him to have in mind is the need to refer to members by their parliamentary titles.

Mr SWAN —Certainly. I do withdraw, but it was very sloppy of the shadow Treasurer to quote the IMF paper in the way that he just did in this House because the IMF paper is about tax policy. It does relate to housing policy but it is all about tax deductibility for home mortgage interest repayments. It is principally about that and its impact in a number of other countries around the globe, and it is not specifically directed to this country. So it is just another example of the lack of judgment and the sloppiness of the shadow Treasurer.