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Friday, 29 November 1985
Page: 2587

Senator MICHAEL BAUME(11.49) —I want to raise the question of the amendments relating to goods incorporating solar panels and the atlases matter in light of a comment made by the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce (Senator Button) in his second reading debate summing up, when he displayed a very high level of selective amnesia on the matter. This selective amnesia relates to his ability to forget the fact that when major changes in indirect taxes were sought by the previous Government-I think it was in 1981-that Government in fact took a great deal of notice of a change in policy direction. As I remember, it introduced the legislation in outline on 25 August to take effect from 1 January to enable the matter to be thoroughly discussed in this chamber, where, by the way, it was defeated.

It is simply not correct for the Minister to say or imply that when there are new taxes and new directions it should be done, and is habitually and always done, in the improper and disgraceful way that this Government has gone about doing it, requiring this kind of retrospective impact. I remind the Minister that in this case there is a change in direction. It is not simply correcting an anomaly. I notice that that word tends to be used by the Australian Taxation Office whenever it is conning a government into making dramatic changes. This Government has fallen for it. It is not simply correcting an anomaly to impose a totally new tax in a totally new direction on a primary product such as ice cream, which is not being given the benefit which is being given to solar panels, for example. It is worth pointing out that the case that the Minister has made is simply false.