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Consumer ducks for cover on "concrete" GST

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9 March 1998




.044 J »>13Z-ta 6`• Hon Gareth Evans QC MP Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Treasurer Costello ducks for cover on "concrete" GST

Treasurer Peter Costello refused today to say how he would fulfil his promise to John Laws last week, to set the GST rate "in concrete".

Asked to guarantee that the GST won't ever increase

• as it has in New Zealand from 10 to 121/2 per cent • or in the UK from 10 to 17%2 per cent

Mr Costello treated Parliament to a diatribe on the way governments always raise taxes:

"Here is the Australian Labor Party reminding us that indirect taxes can he put up. Do we need any reminding?"

Precisely. The point is - as I put to the Treasurer today - that no government can ever set any tax rate in concrete, short of holding a referendum and entrenching it in the Constitution.

And a GST on everything that Australians do or buy is the easiest tax to sneak up to fill government coffers.

So why did Peter Costello promise John Laws he would set the rate in concrete?

Policymaking on the run?

Or a deliberate attempt to deceive John Laws and his two million listeners?

Contact Margot Marshall 0419 497 103