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Friday, 28 June 1996
Page: 2534

Senator KERNOT (Leader of the Australian Democrats)(10.00 a.m.) —This government is getting very cute about what is a tax, what is a tariff and what is a rort. I want to put to the Assistant Treasurer (Senator Short) that the Commission of Audit used the words `this tax concession is unnecessary and should be reviewed'. Don't you think the words `unnecessary' and `should be reviewed' are actually Commission of Audit speak for rort?

Isn't there something wrong with a tax measure by which concessions go to a very few people so that taxpayers generally—all the rest of them—pay lots more? Isn't there something wrong with that? Isn't that a rort? In the case of New South Wales, why should it be that a few individuals have profits flowing to them—millions and millions of dollars—while individuals pay to fund roads by paying through petrol, by subsidising these tax concessions and by paying tolls? That is okay. That is not a rort. A few get all the profits, and ordinary taxpayers pay three times for the privilege of using a road—a road which could be provided more efficiently and more cheaply from public borrowings. Why is that not a rort, Senator Short? And please answer my previous question: are not `unnecessary' and `should be reviewed' Commission of Audit speak for a rort?