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Wednesday, 19 June 1996
Page: 1810


Senator SHERRY —I direct my question to the Assistant Treasurer. In your answer to Senator Wheelwright on Monday you stated:

The sales tax will apply to privately plated vehicles of employees of Commonwealth, state and local governments.

By way of contrast, the Treasurer's statement of 14 June said:

Wholesale sales tax will apply to general purpose road vehicles provided wholly or partly for private use as part of remuneration . . .

Why did you mention the registration status of the motor vehicles, given that neither the Treasurer's press releases nor the Commissioner of Taxation's media releases mentioned these matters? What is the correct position? If you as a minister cannot understand the position, how can those in the motor trade possibly understand what is proposed?


Senator SHORT —The basic principle which the Treasurer has espoused, which I have espoused and which I think everyone other than the opposition seems to understand, is that the new sales tax measures will apply to motor vehicles that are provided wholly or partly for private use as part of the remuneration of the employee. It is as clear and simple as that. It is no more complicated. I do not understand your continual lack of understanding of that. It has been made clear by all spokesmen for the government, it has been made clear by the Treasurer, it has been made clear by the Prime Minister and it has been made clear by me. You only have to read the clear print, and there you go.


Senator SHERRY —I wish to ask a supplementary question, Mr President. On Friday the Treasurer announced his changes to the tax structure, with the unprecedented qualification that further details will be announced as soon as possible. You claimed on Monday, in answer to Senator Wheelwright again, that the application of the tax is quite clear. You have claimed it again today. If it is quite clear, why is the government to announce further details? Why have the further details not been announced five days after the Treasurer's statement, unless they are very complex?


Senator SHORT —You could not have got a clearer statement than that which the Treasurer made on Friday in his statement following the Premiers Conference. He said:

Wholesale sales tax will apply to general purpose road vehicles provided wholly or partly for private use as part of remuneration by Commonwealth, state, territory and local governments to take effect from 11th June.

Then he said, as you correctly say:

Further details will be announced as soon as possible.

On that point of 11 June, Senator Sherry, you will see from the taxation commissioner's press statement of yesterday, that I tabled here today, that he confirmed that 11 June is the operative date, as it has always been and been intended to be.