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Monday, 30 August 1993
Page: 467

Senator KERNOT —My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I refer him to the analysis of the 1993-94 budget by Dr Neil Warren of the University of New South Wales. The analysis finds that this budget dramatically widens the gap between the rich and the poor in this country. Does the government agree with Dr Warren's analysis? I expect he will say he does not, so has the Treasurer instructed Treasury to model the distributional effects of the budget changes in order to challenge Dr Warren's findings or is this just too hard?

Senator GARETH EVANS —We do disagree with the conclusion that has been drawn in that particular piece of analysis. I am advised that we have instructed the Treasury to do some modelling on the impact of the budget as it was brought down and also the impact, perhaps, of alternative measures that might be contemplated. The results of that will, as I understand it, be made public quite soon, perhaps as early as within a day or so, although that is, of course, a matter for the Treasurer.

  It is not a matter simply of the government making counter-assertions in this matter. We believe the point can be made very substantially and very accurately. It follows of course from the fact that over the course of this government's lifetime we have introduced a great many measures which have significantly increased the position of low income earners relative to those with higher incomes, and that tradition has been continued in a number of the aspects of this particular budget which have received, unhappily, much less attention than some of those impacts of the budget which work the other way.  When one does that balancing out, the results are by no means those that have been predicted by a number of commentators and analysts. My understanding is that that will become clear when this analysis is published.