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Tuesday, 24 November 2015
Page: 8745

Goods and Services Tax


Senator WONG ( South Australia Leader of the Opposition in the Senate ) ( 14:01 ): My question is to Senator Colbeck, the Minister representing the Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects. Will the minister rule out extending the GST to council rates?


Senator COLBECK (TasmaniaMinister for Tourism and International Education and Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment) (14:01): The ALP seems to be under some misapprehension that we are proposing a change in the GST. There is no proposal from the government on the table to change the GST. If the Labor Party wants to go through every part of the economy then it is quite welcome to spend their question times doing that, but we have no proposals on the table to change the GST. So the question raised by Senator Wong in respect to council rates is a completely moot one.


Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:02): The answer went for less than one minute. Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Will the minister rule out extending the GST to water and sewerage rates?


Senator COLBECK (TasmaniaMinister for Tourism and International Education and Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment) (14:02): I think we could end up having a very efficient question time if the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate wants to go through every element of someone's council rates, or whatever account that she might like to dream up. The answer is the same: we have no proposal to change the GST. So I look forward to Senator Wong's next question, which is no doubt in relation to another part of council rates, that ignores what I have just given to her in the previous questions. There is no proposal on the table to change the GST.

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order on my left and my right!



Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:03): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Given the minister has refused to rule out extending the GST to council rates and refused to rule out extending the GST to water and sewerage rates, will he now rule out extending the GST to Meals on Wheels?


Senator COLBECK (TasmaniaMinister for Tourism and International Education and Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment) (14:04): This would be one of the lowest acts that I have seen from the opposition. When I have quite clearly stated twice already that we have no proposal to change the GST, for you, Senator Wong, to try to scare people who depend on Meals on Wheels by running out a question like that is, quite frankly, a disgrace. To try to scare elderly people who rely on Meals on Wheels—

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Pause the clock. Order, Minister! Order on both sides!

Senator Wong: I rise on a point of order on relevance. I asked the minister to rule out the proposition. He has not once done so. Everybody knows what your real plan is.

The PRESIDENT: There is no point of order. The minister has been answering the question.

Senator COLBECK: I want to make the point to reassure those people who the Labor Party are trying, disgracefully—shamefully—to scare. There is no proposal by this government to change the GST. They can shout, they can yell, they can be as disorderly as they like from that side and they can try to shamefully scare whoever they like. We have no proposal to change the GST. (Time expired)