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Monday, 6 September 1993
Page: 909

Senator HILL —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister in the Senate. I refer to the Prime Minister's statement yesterday that a jobs levy is an option. I ask: does this mean that, despite previous denials, the government is still contemplating a wealth tax? Is this not further evidence of the government caving in to the ACTU?

Senator McMullan —Do you know what a wealth tax is?

Senator HILL —The minister might tell us what the government has in mind in relation to a wealth tax. Has the Prime Minister again conveniently forgotten his pre-election promise of no new taxes?

Senator GARETH EVANS —There is no connection whatsoever between a wealth tax and some sort of levy on high income earners, which has been the subject of some speculation and which the Prime Minister said yesterday might be regarded as an option. Beyond that, I have no further comment because clearly it is not a matter to which the government has at this stage devoted any policy attention at all.

Senator HILL —Mr Deputy President, I ask a supplementary question. Obviously, my supplementary question relates to the very limited explanation the minister just gave when he said that there is no relationship between a tax on high earners and a wealth tax. I, therefore, ask the minister to expand on what the Prime Minister means when he refers to a jobs levy. In particular, what sort of income cut-off level does the government have in mind? What sort of rate would it be? Let us into the secret.

Senator GARETH EVANS —This is not the occasion for a kind of bubs grade lecture on the difference between wealth and income. Beyond that, I have no further comment.