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Democrats tax agreement gets full support from party leaders

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May 30, 1999 MEDIA RELEASE

DEMOCRATS TAX AGREEMENT GETS FULL SUPPORT FROM PARTY LEADERS Australian Democrats Senator Meg Lees today won unanimous organisational support for her party’s agreement on tax reform. In a clean sweep of leadership positions, all six state Democrats MP’s, together with seven State, and one National President have endorsed the agreement reached between the Democrats and the government.

The Democrats have parliamentary representation in three state parliaments, where they also share the balance of power.

Speaking on behalf of the State Parliamentarians, WA Leader the Hon. Helen Hodgson MLC - who also holds a Masters Degree in taxation - said:

“Ifully support Meg and her team for delivering a package which allows for genuine tax reform whilst still ensuring significant social and environmental gains. For a long time, I have been advocating the use o f our tax system to actively redistribute social gains in a way which gives a leg up to the poor. I congratulate Meg on achieving this. ”

The South Australian MLC and State President of the SA Democrats the Hon. Ian Gilfillan welcomed the announcement saying:

“The GST breakthrough is a win which reinforces the Democrats’ historical support fo r the environment and welfare sector and families on low incomes. Senator Lees ’ achievement is not a change o f direction for the party, it is compatible with the Democrats balloted policy on taxation and in spite o f what some excitable commentators are saying, it is not a leadership issue.

“While the Liberals typically only see narrow economic goals and Labor is immobilised, only the Democrats have been able to move Australia forward with a sensible new taxation scheme while protecting the environment and the more vulnerable members o f society. "

National President, John McLaren says he is delighted with the news:

“This endorsement across the leadership o f the organisation is a tremendous result. It is painfully clear, on the impact o f this announcement, that the ALP is terrified. They are afraid that the potential o f this move is that Australia can change long term from two-sided politics to a permanent three cornered policy contest. It is no surprise therefore, that any low level descent within the party will be picked up and magnified by a desperate Labor team.

“I think Meg is right when she said for all o f us within the organisation who have worked on the issues o f social justice, environment, renewable energies and health for many, many years, that we have gained more o f our policies in 13 days o f talking with this government, than 13 years o f talks with the previous one. ”

Contacts: Hon. Helen Hodgson MLC 0418 906162 Hon. Ian Gilfillan MLC 014 479 555 and John McLaren 0417 115 260

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