Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 9 October 1973
Page: 1769

Mr KEATING (Blaxland) - I did not intend to speak in this debate but, as the honourable member for Berowra (Mr Edwards) has made a number of statements with his tongue in his cheek, I feel obliged to point out a couple of facts to the House. Basically, what the honourable member spoke about was the strategy of the Budget in its totality. He did not relate his speech specifically to the excise Bills now before us but rather used them as an avenue to attack once again the Government's Budget.

Mr Edwards - They are part of the total strategy.

Mr KEATING - That is right, but the honourable member did not confine himself to them. That is what the Bills are all about. I take the honourable member to task on a couple of matters. I will deal first with the overall Budget strategy. As the Treasurer (Mr Crean) said, fiscally the Budget was a very responsible one. Outlays were increased by 18.9 per cent but receipts increased by almost 20.6 per cent. The Budget did not do anything to worsen the inflationary situation, as the honourable member claimed; in fact, it will help it. Normally, receipts would have been expected to increase by $l,621m. The Government had to increase its expenditure by $223m to meet the program which the Budget encompasses. With total receipts of $ 1,960m, we had to find a deficit of $223m.

Undertakings had been given to the electorate in December last that we felt obliged to honour. One of those undertakings was that any additional revenue that we needed to collect would not be collected by increases in personal taxation. As the honourable member would be aware, at the moment the Asprey Committee is investigating income tax in Australia. Before this Government would propose any changes in or additional collections by way of personal income tax, we would look to see the report that that Committee brings down. In line with our undertaking that personal taxation would not be increased and realising that the Asprey Committee was still considering its reference, the Government decided to honour its obligations to the electorate.

What the honourable member did not mention is what this Budget does in terms of the re-allocation of resources. Let me refresh his memory on certain aspects. 'I direct his attention to statement 1 at page 3 of the Budget documents which sets out a summary of Government expenditure. The amount appropriated for education has been increased this financial year to $843m from the amount appropriated last financial year of $439m. This is an increase of 92 per cent. I ask the honourable member to comprehend the magnitude of that increase of 92 per cent. It is different if an allocation is doubled from $10m to S20m. The doubling of an allocation from $43 9m one financial year to $843m the next financial year is something most worthwhile for any Government to undertake. The honourable member has spoken about increases in excise and how those increases will affect the family man. How does he think an extra $400m for education will affect the family man and his capacity to provide a decent education for his children. The honourable member did not mention that.

I turn next to health where expenditure has been increased from $783m last year to $979m this year - an increase of 25 per cent. In the terms of any Budget that is quite a considerable increase. I go further down the table. Last year for housing and community ameni ties $127m was provided. This year the appropriation is $53 8m. This is a staggering increase of 324 per cent in that socially desirable area. The increase in expenditure in culture and recreation, again a most desirable area, is 39.8 per cent, rising from $117m to $163m. When speaking about how certain action affects the family man, the honourable member must consider the totality of the situation and return to weigh the priorities. The priorities must be weighed on a political basis. To the Labor Party, these are much more socially desirable priorities.

If one reaches the conclusion that this money needs to be allocated to see that education and these other areas of activity are better catered for, one must look at the ambient economic situation. If we accept the fact that the last Budget introduced by the Liberals was an election Budget designed to eradicate a pool of unemployment of 130,000 persons and also to save their sagging electoral stocks, and if we realise also that the excess money which was proposed for expenditure in that Budget finally trickled into our economy in March and April of this year causing an inflation level of 13 per cent, we understand that we cannot afford to put very much more money into the economy directly in the succeeding Budget. Receipts must be increased to match outlays. That is what this Government did.

We asked: Where can we increase our receipts? Can we do this by personal taxation? The answer is no because we have given undertakings to the electorate; we cannot do this by increasing personal taxation. So we looked at other ways. As a result of the report of the Coombs committee which brought the matter to a head, we have cut out some of the tax lurks and dodges introduced by previous Liberal administrations. We looked at other areas. We came to the question of excise on fuel-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order!I remind the honourable member for Blaxland that in his explanation he has covered the need for an increase in finance to meet certain requirements. I suggest that he has spent sufficient time on what actually is inclined to be more a general debate on the Budget than on the subject matter of the diesel fuel tax Bills before the House.

Mr KEATING - I accept that. My only misgiving is that you were not in the chair when the previous speaker addressed the House; he might have been confined in his remarks as I am to be.

Suggest corrections