Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Friday, 9 June 1989
Page: 3786


Senator MAGUIRE —Is the Minister representing the Treasurer aware of some opposition to the tax cuts passed by the Senate in the last 24 hours? From what quarter did that opposition come? In view of the fact that there was opposition, will the Government reconsider the tax cuts and take any consequent action?


Senator WALSH —It would not be correct to describe some of the comments made last night as opposition to the tax cuts, but a second reading amendment, moved by Senator Stone, and carried, referred to the long overdue tax cuts. I would not interpret that as a criticism of the tax cuts per se but rather as a criticism of the Government for not introducing tax cuts very much earlier. Indeed, I think it is impossible for any reasonable person to interpret it in any other way. However, opposition to tax cuts was expressed publicly at an earlier stage. For example, in the Adelaide Advertiser on 12 September last year, Senator Stone was reported as saying that it would be irresponsible for big tax cuts to be given on 1 July as planned. He went on to detail some of the reasons why he thought it would be irresponsible to give tax cuts on 1 July as planned.

I have been asked whether the Government has changed its mind on these matters or whether it intends to change the policy. To the best of my knowledge there is no such intention. Indeed, even if we did want to, it would be a bit late since the Bill has been passed in the Senate and will be proclaimed before very long, I expect. Senator Stone has certainly changed his mind. Nine months ago he said it would be irresponsible for big tax cuts to be given on 1 July as planned, but last night he moved an amendment to the motion for the second reading of a Bill saying that the tax cuts were long overdue. Of course, we could get into some really convoluted reasoning and logic and say that it would be irresponsible to give tax cuts on 1 July but it would not be irresponsible to give them at some earlier time.