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More evidence that Labor's tax 'policy' is a mess.

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The Hon Andrew Robb AO MP Minister for Vocational and Further Education


Sunday 21st October 2007 89/07


Shadow Treasurer Wayne Swan today confirmed that Labor’s tax policy was a rushed, hastily cobbled together mess that had not been thought through.

The fact is Labor did not have a tax policy.

In an interview on today’s “Sunday” program Mr Swan was forced to make sudden changes to Labor’s ‘policy’ after it was revealed that students who wish to pursue a technical education would be disadvantaged by Labor’s tax scheme.

“On Friday it was revealed that the Labor Party had copied over 90% of the Coalition’s tax plan. The only parts that were different were rushed into the public domain without being thought through,” the Minister for Vocational and Further Education, the Hon. Andrew Robb AO MP, said today.

“Today Mr Swan has tried to pretend that it also applies to those students who want to pursue a career in the trades.”

OAKES: Well when you announced the policy on Friday, Mr Rudd held up a laptop and he said “this is the toolbox of the 21st century”, but obviously in the 21st century we still need carpenters, we need plumbers, fitters and turners, other tradesman. Why doesn’t the refund cover the toolbox…?

SWAN: Well it certainly does cover tools or trade, it does cover…

OAKES: That wasn’t in any of your literature…

SWAN: It does cover that. We have tools of trade, software, text books, technology, internet and so on.

OAKES: So hammer and saw as well as a laptop?

SWAN: Yeah.

OAKES: How come it wasn’t in your statement or mentioned in the press conference?

SWAN: Well it was something that I thought was very important and I decided to immediately mention that following the debate (sic). “Sunday” program, October 21st, 2007

“This is symptomatic of a party that has spent 20 years talking down the trades and promoting University education at the expense of a technical education.

“Labor’s documents clearly shows that this cobbled-together computer rebate would only apply to the following -

Eligible expenses are for items that support a child during school and improve the quality of education a child receives. Eligible items will be defined as: • Laptops; • Home computer and associated costs; • Home internet connection; • Printers; • Education software; and • School text books.

“Mr Swan has been caught out. His alleged ‘policy’ did not mention tools for tradesmen and he did not say it did after Labor released their material.

“For months Labor has falsely accused the Government of ignoring skills training, yet on the release of their first education policy in the election campaign they completely ignore students who wish to pursue a career in the trades.”

“So much for the ‘education revolution’ and Mr Rudd’s oft-stated position that he believes a trade certificate is just as good as a university degree.

“This comes on top of the various other problems that have been revealed in Mr Rudd’s light-weight copy of the Government’s plan -

• Nearly 92% of it is a copy of the Government’s policy • The contradictory comments by Mr Swan and Ms Gillard over whether they can guarantee it will be delivered • That some low-income people will be worse off under Labor.

A further embarrassment for Mr Swan is the fact that the Howard Government already assists trade apprentices by supplying $800 tool kits for thousands of students.

“Over 70,000 have been given out to date - including school based apprentices.

“Whether it is lack of detail, lack of thought or lack of knowledge; it all proves one thing.

“Labor has not done the policy work and is not ready for Government.

Media: Andrew Coombe 0438777145