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Wednesday, 18 August 1993
Page: 211

Senator SHORT (3.14 p.m.) —by leave—I move:

  That the Senate take note of the answers given by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Gareth Evans), in response to questions without notice asked by Senator Hill and Senator Short this day, relating to taxation measures in the 1993-94 budget.

Contrary to the impression that the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Gareth Evans) attempted to convey today, this is a government and a budget of deceit, of betrayal, of broken promises, of lies and of shattered credibility. This is a budget that savagely increases a wide range of indirect taxes and charges, that produces a tax hike over the next four years alone of an additional $32.2 billion, and it is a budget that leaves every low income family and practically every middle income family worse off, after Labor governments have mercilessly reduced their living standards throughout the past decade.

  It is a budget that offers no hope to the one million unemployed, and particularly the 400,000 long-term unemployed Australians, of finding a job. It is a budget that viciously further hits Australian families who, on top of the increases in their living costs through the increased sales and excise taxes and the other charge increases, will find that even when they are eligible—there will be only a small proportion who are—to receive the measly reduction in personal income tax, those reductions will not even meet the increase in tax that they will pay from the bracket creep through the tax brackets that the government's increased taxes and charges will produce.

  This budget produces a bigger tax take—an additional $32 billion over the next four years—it produces more government spending; and it produces a bigger budget deficit. Senator Evans had the gall to try to tell us today that this budget was on target to lead to a budget deficit reduction of some $10 billion by 1996-97. Indeed, this budget deficit is $16 billion compared with the outcome last year of $14.5 billion. It means that in the past three years, including 1993-94, this government will have drawn on the nation's savings to finance its profligate spending and other policies to the tune of no less than $40 billion.

  This budget and the associated government policies will produce a bigger balance of payments deficit. The budget papers forecast the balance of payments deficit blowing out to $18 billion this year compared with $15.5 billion last year and $12 billion or thereabouts the year before. In other words, there will be a 50 per cent further increase in our balance of payments deficit over the past two years alone. Coupled with the 4 per cent plus devaluation in the Australian dollar that is forecast in the budget papers, it will lead to a further huge increase in our debt to foreigners, our debt to the rest of the world and through that, very importantly, there will be a very significant reduction in our sovereignty.

  It is incredible that at a time when the government is talking about the problems that Australia has in terms of a lack of independence around the world—which is absolute nonsense anyway—it takes policy measures which, more than anything else, damage and reduce our independence and our sovereignty. This budget produces a threefold increase in inflation; it produces a further very significant fall in our national savings; it leads to no increase in investment; and it leads to an inevitable rise in interest rates. This is a budget, as is the government that produced it, that is full of deceit, betrayal and lack of vision. It is a directionless budget of lost opportunity. As Alan Ramsey said today in the Sydney Morning Herald:

  It's a wonder Paul Keating and John Dawkins can look themselves in the mirror this morning.