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Time to walk away from the GST.

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Media Release

The Hon Simon Crean, MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Treasurer


27 May 1999




John Howard has directly ruled out reversing the tax mix shift in his GST package by reducing tax cuts to accommoda te the removal of food from the GST net, according to media reports today.


The income tax cuts, he said, were ‘core promises’.




“... Mr Howard’s not backing down Peter. A short time ago in Canberra this morning he gave a speech. He said those tax cuts were a core commitment he gave at the election campaign. He says those people are not wealthy, they ‘re average, middle Australian families. They deserve a reward”


This shifts the government even further away from the Australian Democrats and their balloted Party policy.


“We do not want the budget surplus tapped into at all. We look at this as an entity in itself within the package. You pay for taking food out by adjusting income tax rates .”

[Senator Lees, Senate Hansard, 13 May 1999]


“The mix of tax between direct (income) and indirect (expenditure) sources shall be restructured to increase the proportion of direct tax (increasing income tax and/or wealth taxes) relative to indirect tax.” [Democrat policy ballot, June 1998]


ACOSS, too has ruled out any solution that doesn’t address the tax mix switch.


“The only equitable way to pay for the food exemption is to cut the proposed tax cuts or close down a number of unfair income tax avoidance loopholes - or both.” [Michael Raper. Press Release, 26 May 1999]


The Democrats have no option now but to walk away from the GST.


The GST is not essential for tax reform - a fact underlined today by ACOSS and yesterday by the Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission. In fact it is the greatest barrier to tax reform.


We urge the Democrats to dump the GST, putting the great source of division and unfairness behind us once and for all, and instead work towards a coalition for fair tax reform.


Labor's proposals offer such a solution - fairer tax reform, and no GST.



cm  1999-05-28  10:48