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Wednesday, 29 September 1993
Page: 1389

Senator TROETH —My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. In today's Australian newspaper Professor Judith Sloan commented:

. . . providing training courses to the unemployed . . . will not of itself lead to job creation . . .

She further suggested:

The most permanent solution is to create an environment in which there is strong and sustained growth in the number of private sector jobs . . .

Can the minister indicate how the rise in fuel taxes, the increased tax on the wine industry, the increases in wholesale sales tax and the removal of sections 45D and 45E from the Trade Practices Act will help to create jobs in the private sector?

Senator ROBERT RAY —I have had Ms Sloan's comments drawn to my attention, but I think that was only the preliminary bait to get to the main question, so I will not comment on her report. Senator Troeth asks: how can any tax stimulate employment? What we are doing to stimulate employment goes to the general macro-economic approach in which we are arguing, in this particular year, that we should have a budget deficit of $16 billion—and that will certainly have a stimulatory effect.

  It is also true to say that if we took taxes off all businesses, there would be some growth in employment. But there would also be a massive shortfall in revenue to any government. It is always easier to say, `If you do not have a tax covering this or that particular industry, you will have wider employment'. The main factor in the government's thinking is to make sure that the tax falls fairly right across-the-board and that the tax mix is right. That is something that Senator Troeth's party has no conception of at the moment because of the policy vacuum that exists.

  Those opposite do not know whether they support direct tax or indirect tax. They will not even address the question of deficit reduction. They have no idea what they are going to do in relation to that. As I said earlier to Senator Kernot, we get these mindless oppositionist tactics where those opposite simply come in here like a bunch of sheep and vote against absolutely everything on the basis that something may turn up in 2 1/2 years time.