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Wednesday, 20 August 1980
Page: 487

Mr Leo McLeay (GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I refer the Treasurer to his 25 Press statements, listing 32 tax avoidance schemes, and to the 10 Bills introduced into this House which have produced 300 pages of legislation allegedly to plug tax avoidance loopholes. Does the Budget for 1 980-8 1 include an allowance of $300m for anticipated losses of revenue from provisional and company tax payments to bring the total loss from these sources to almost S600m in two years? Does this mean that the Government's efforts to curb tax avoidance have failed or that the Government has given up the fight? Does this also mean a shift in the tax burden from the self-employed and corporate sectors to the wage and salary earners of Australia?

Mr HOWARD - There is certainly no doubt that the Australian Labor Party is highly sensitive on this subject. Of course the Government has introduced the number of measures that the honourable member for Grayndler itemised. That indicates that this Government, unlike any of its predecessors, has been prepared to do something serious about cracking down on tax avoidance in this community. The plain answer to the honourable gentleman's question is no. I believe that the Government has had very considerable success in respect of the elimination of a large number of very sophisticated tax avoidance schemes. I believe that it does command the support of the vast majority of the Australian community. I think the point ought to be made that it is not just ordinary wage and salary earners who support what the Government is doing. There is also a significant number of high income provisional taxpayers in this community who are quite prepared to bear their legitimate tax burdens. They are as supportive of what the Government is doing as any other section of the community.

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