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Tuesday, 11 September 1984
Page: 1061


Mr HODGMAN(12.47 a.m.) —It is an extraordinary paradox and indeed a disaster for Australia that the positions of Treasurer and Minister for Finance at present are invested in two millionaire socialists. Both men are very wealthy in their own right and they seek to impose on this nation a socialist legacy which, I suggest, will be very dangerous for us as a nation and very counterproductive.

I have never felt more uneasy about a Budget than I feel about this one-and that is after listening to some eight State Budgets and eight Federal Budgets. On paper this Budget looks good now but it is without doubt, a depth-charge Budget, a delayed shock Budget, and the cost to Australia, not just in 1985 but in the years which follow, will be very substantial. It is a Budget based upon the most optimistic outlook in relation to receipts that one could possible imagine. I do not share that optimism for three reasons. Firstly, as Budget Statement No. 1 concedes this has been a year, indeed a second year, of unusually strong growth in revenues. To emphasise the point, I refer honourable members to Hansard for 21 August and the fact that, as detailed in Statement No. 4, the effects are such as to yield increased revenue before new measures of $9. 7 billion or 20 per cent in 1984-85.

I ask honourable members how long it is since they can remember the revenues of the Commonwealth of Australia going up 20 per cent in one year. What staggers me is that with increased revenues of $9.7 billion the Government has been able to reduce the Budget deficit by only $1.2 billion. Where has the other $8.5 billion gone? I do not think, from my reading of the Budget Speech and the Papers, that there has been a proper accounting. The Treasurer (Mr Keating) and the Minister for Finance (Mr Dawkins) are trustees for the resources of the Commonwealth of Australia. I do not believe that there has been a proper discharge of their duty as trustees in a situation in which revenues are going up by $9.7 billion and they are only able to reduce the Budget deficit by $1.2 billion. If one talks about the domestic deficit, one sees that that has been reduced by only $1.6 billion. If those two men were solicitor trustees they would be on their way to prison if that is the best that they can do with the resources of the Commonwealth.

Budget Paper No. 1 contains a number of very strong warnings which increase my fears, particularly in view of the track record of the socialists in relation to government spending. I do not see this Government moving effectively to reduce the public sector borrowing requirement. I do not see this Government moving effectively to control the growth of outlays. The answer to that must be that next year we will be looking at an even larger deficit.

As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Howard) has pointed out so effectively in the Parliament, it is absolutely fundamental that for the implementation of the socialist policies to which the present Government is committed there will have to be substantial increases in taxes. Back in 1973-75 the Whitlam Government achieved an increase in income taxation receipts of 49 per cent. I want to compare its record with the record of this Hawke socialist Government since it came to power in March 1983. It is interesting to note that, in the very first year of the Hawke socialist Government-that is, the financial year just ended, 1983-84-personal income tax receipts increased by 7.6 per cent. In the 1984-85 financial year, the one that we have just commenced, personal income tax receipts will rise by 23 per cent. In the space of just 12 months we have a situation in which personal income tax receipts will rocket by a total of 30.6 per cent. What particularly frightens me is that on the basis of this Budget the growth rate in 1984-85 in income tax receipts will be four times as fast as it was in 1983-84. Quite frankly, 1983-84 was fast enough.

When we look at provisional tax receipts we see that the Government will hit the small business men, the farmers, the employers, the people in professions, the young men and women of Australia wanting to go into business to employ Australians. Under this wicked socialist Budget provisional tax receipts will go up by 44.7 per cent. This is a classic example of a socialist government going from low gear at the time of its election to power to overdrive in less than 17 months. I believe that this bodes ill for the future of this nation.

Let me put it on the other basis of the receipts figures themselves. In the last year of the Fraser Government income tax receipts were $22.967 billion. This year we will see income tax receipts go to $30.383 billion. That is an increase of $7.416 billion for 1984-85. In percentage terms that is an increase of 32.3 per cent. Yet this deceitful Government untruthfully tells the people of Australia that it is a tax cut government. The figures just do not support what I suggest is a blatant untruth being peddled to the people of Australia.


Mr Braithwaite —A $7 billion increase is not a decrease, is it?


Mr HODGMAN —It is certainly not a decrease as my honourable colleague has pointed out. This is an untruth which is being peddled to the people of Australia. With personal income tax receipts going up 30.6 per cent, provisional tax going up 44.7 per cent, actual receipts going up 32.3 per cent, I just do not see how, on any basis, this Budget can be tax cut Budget. Why is it that this untruth, this lie, is being peddled? It is being peddled because in the short term it will be sold to the people of Australia that they have actually had a tax cut-the magical $7.60 a week-forgetting the fact that on the day the Treasurer delivered the Budget, before he even opened his mouth, the average workers of Australia were already paying $22.41 more in taxes under the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) than they had paid under Mr Fraser. If we also take into account that in the Budget itself their taxes are going up by $8 a week, they actually finished up on Budget night 40c in the red which, added to the $22.41, means that the average workers of Australia, on the most conservative figures, finished up on Budget night $22.81 worse off under Prime Minister Hawke than they ever were under Prime Minister Fraser.

I am gravely concerned about what this Budget is going to do to Australia in 1985, 1986 and 1987. The Whitlam Government took three years to bring this country to the brink of bankruptcy. The Hawke socialist Government within a period of 17 months has placed this country on the brink of economic disaster. This corrupt, incompetent Government must be dismissed and will be dismissed from office at the next Federal election.