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Parliament House, Canberra, 1 June 1998: transcript of doorstop interview [GST; Morgan Bulletin Poll; tax; Pauline Hanson]

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Subjects: GST, Morgan Bulletin Poll, tax, Pauline Hanson


JOURNALIST: Mr Beazley, has John Hewson let the cat out of the bag for the Governmen t’s plans on a GST?


BEAZLEY: Well the Government’s plans on a GST are obviously flawed. We’ve been making the point all week, and John Hewson made it again, and that is that you cannot possibly conceive that the GST introduced here at the 10 per cent rate would stay at that rate. The history of GSTs elsewhere is that they rise. The lower they are, the higher they rise.


JOURNALIST: Do you think they’d go in at a higher rate first, rather than ten and then rising?


BEAZLEY: I don’t think they should do it at all. I don’t think they should do a GST. It’s something this country doesn’t need. It’s something business doesn’t need. It’s certainly something that the Australian consumer doesn’t need.


JOURNALIST: Mr Beazley, you must be buoyed by the latest Morgan Bulletin poll showing a 12 point turnaround in your favour?


BEAZLEY: Yes, but these polls are volatile. They go up and down. They’ll go up and down in the election campaign as well. Nobody’s got their minds fully set on politics at the moment. That will develop through an election campaign and then those polls will go hard. But, at the moment now, there’s just nothing that you could necessarily take comfort from, or discomfort from, in the polling. We take these ups and downs of political life.


JOURNALIST: Could it reflect that the Opposition is on a winner with its decision to oppose a GST?


BEAZLEY: I think out there there is an expectation of a clear-cut decision. And they want to hear what the Labor Party has to say about tax, and they want to hear what the Government has to say about tax, and then make a clear judgement. The statement I made during the course of my Budget Reply was to give them a clear choice.


JOURNALIST: ... billion dollar tax break...?


BEAZLEY: This is a billion dollar tax break that business would not want to thank John Howard for. This is the tax break they get because they become tax collectors - 75,000 taxation points go to over 1 million. And the compliance costs for small business 30 times as great for big business. It’s a tax break they don’t want because it’s a role that they don’t want, and it’s a role that would cost jobs.


JOURNALIST: On Pauline Hanson, would you agree with John Della Bosca’s inference that the Prime Minister is a racist?


BEAZLEY: Look, the One Nation Party has racist policies. There is no question about that. It is a Party which tempts people to an Australian throw-back - and we don’t need that. We certainly don’t need that at this point of history. And the job of major political parties and political leaders of major parties, like John Howard and myself, is to put major distance between us and that Party and do our best to see that it departs the Australian political scene as soon as possible. He has failed in his duty.


JOURNALIST: Mr Beazley, who should replace Ginger Spice?


BEAZLEY: Certainly not one of my daughters.