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Thursday, 28 May 1987
Page: 3508

Mr RONALD EDWARDS —I direct a question to the Treasurer-I might add, the Treasurer in the best Government that this country has ever seen, and will continue to see. Will the Treasurer advise the House as to the impact on the revenue of a cut in the company tax rate to 25 per cent?

Mr KEATING —A cut in the company rate from 49 per cent to 25 per cent would cost the revenue $3.8 billion and has, this day, been promised by the Queensland Premier as a Federal policy. I would like to know from the Leader of the Opposition whether he repudiated that commitment. He might tell us now whether he repudiates the $3.8 billion. This was promised by the leader of the other Party with whom he would sit in the chamber. Does he support the $3.8 billion commitment?

Mr Hawke —He can't hear.

Mr KEATING —I know. But he got his lugs fixed.

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The Treasurer will continue with the answer.

Mr KEATING —We have the leader of the agrarian half of the conservative parties in this country; that is, the Queensland Premier--

Mr Nehl —A great leader too.

Mr KEATING —`A great leader too', says our National Party colleague, who has declared that he will stand for a House of Representatives seat-he has the loyalty of the majority of the National Party members in the House-and who has said, as an unequivocal commitment, that he will reduce the company rate to 25 per cent, costing $3.8 billion to the revenue. The Leader of the Opposition should say whether he repudiates that commitment. Well, does he?

Madam SPEAKER —Interjections are out of order. The Treasurer will continue.

Mr KEATING —Madam Speaker, he cannot. The truth is that he cannot; either he is consenting or he cannot. The fact of the matter is that under any circumstances he cannot speak for any group that is likely to form a majority in the House of Representatives. Either he says: `No, the $3.8 billion is not on', or he cannot say that it is not on on his own behalf or on behalf of the Queensland Premier. This is the State of the coalition parties. They have made off the top of the head commitments to buy votes, and have promised a 25 per cent company tax rate costing $3.8 billion. The Leader of the Opposition sits mute and will not say yea or nay to a commitment which would dramatically change fiscal policy in this country uttered by a person who will lead one of the coalition parties under some circumstances in this Parliament after the next election.