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Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Page: 29


Senator FIELDING (Leader of the Family First Party) (9:23 PM) —I will try and cover those issues. There was a range of issues that Senator Abetz raised. One was the cost to the government. That is difficult to ascertain totally because there has not been any way of tagging these exemptions for farmers and tourism in the past, so it is difficult, but it is certainly somewhere around $40 million. But I do not want to be held to that exactly. What I do know is that I wanted to make sure that farmers and tourism operators were exempt from the tax.

As far as a deal around the regulations is concerned, I think you are reading far too much into that, Senator Abetz. I take the government on this issue at face value. I think you raised the issue about retrospectivity and the costs there. That is an amendment that should be supported. I think you also raised the issue about Family First supporting the exemption for fuel-efficient cars. We think, and most Australians think, that more needs to be done for the environment and that it would make sense to encourage more people to look at fuel-efficient cars. On safer vehicles, no, I have made it clear that it is for farmers and tourism operators in that area.

I think we have had a lot of talk on this and on a range of issues. I have made it clear that it is for farmers and tourism. You may want a lot of other things. You may want a lot of other exemptions. We can go all around the issues, over and over again. I tend to think we have heard a lot of talk, and that is t-a-l-k, not the other one, on this vehicle tax. I think it is time to put this to a vote.