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Beazley caught out by Crean's Fuel Exercise admission.

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M209/2000 10 November 2000

Beazley Caught out by Crean’s Fuel Excise admission

Kim Beazley’s cheap opportunism this week in calling for a fuel excise freeze stands in contrast with Simon Crean’s admission, earlier this year, that Labor wouldn’t change the then excise arrangements which included automatic indexation, Federal Regional Services Minister, Senator Ian Macdonald said today.

Senator Macdonald said that the excise indexation due next February - the one Kim Beazley supposedly opposes - is based on a system introduced by Labor and a system given a vote of confidence by Labor’s alternative Treasurer earlier this year.

“The Opposition leader is following the Labor tradition of saying one thing in Opposition but doing the exact opposite in office,” Senator Macdonald said.

“Labor introduced automatic indexation and, contrary to Kim Beazley’s posturing, they still support it.”

On ABC Rockhampton, on the 31 March this year Simon Crean not only flagged Labor’s roll-back but reinforced Labor’s support for their then excise arrangements:

COMPERE:            What about fuel excise, Mr Crean?  That causes a lot of problems too.  What — what sort of commitment can Labor make regarding fuel excise?

SIMON CREAN:            Well, what we’ve — basically our position has been that there needs to be this mix between indirect taxes and direct taxes.  We always had fuel excise in that mix.  We were not proposing to make any changes to the fuel excise regime. (source ABC Rockhampton 31/03/00)

“Labor’s fuel excise regime had no 10% rebate for businesses, it had no 25 cent per litre rebate for large transport trucks, it had no rebate for regional transport vehicles - but it most certainly did have automatic indexation,” Senator Macdonald said.

“Labor would roll-back rebates for regional transport and keep automatic indexation.  This would cost regional transport operators and farmers around 25 cents per litre extra, plus indexation rises and that would flow through to regional freight prices.”

“When in office, Labor increased fuel excise by about 27 cents a litre, introduced automatic indexation and increased their wholesale sales tax with absolutely no compensation whatsoever for low income people or regional transport.”

“And that’s the system that Simon Crean admitted that Labor still supports.”

“The Coalition retained automatic indexation, but we took 6.7 cents per litre off excise, provided a 10% rebate for businesses, and gave a 25 cent a litre rebate to transport operators to protect regional prices.  Labor opposed those rebates.”

“Beazley’s opportunism on fuel excise has as much credibility as Labor’s L-A-W tax cut promise when Beazley was Labor’s Finance Minister,” Senator Macdonald said.


Media contact:

David Moore (Senator Macdonald’s Office) (07) 4771 3066

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2000 Last updated:  Monday, 20 November 2000