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Liberal GST avoidance scandal: Ministers must go.

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Kim Beazley - Liberal GST Avoidance Scandal - Ministers Must Go Friday, 24 August 2001

Liberal GST Avoidance Scandal -Ministers Must Go Kim Beazley - Leader of the Opposition

Media Statement - 23 August 2001

The people who imposed the GST have been caught trying to cheat their way out of paying it.

Ian Macfarlane and Peter Costello have today misled the Parliament about their knowledge of a Liberal Party GST avoidance scam, and if John Howard has any standards at all they should both be sacked.

Statements released tonight by the Liberal Party Federal Secretariat, Mr Costello and Mr Macfarlane confirm that the Groom FEC was involved in an elaborate mechanism to avoid GST.

According to the Secretariat, this was "for a short period of time during the implementation stage of the GST."

According to Mr Macfarlane: "The matter was drawn to my attention by the Treasurer's Office in early March and I subsequently raised the issue with the president of the Groom FEC."

Yet in Parliament today, Mr Macfarlane said: "I am not aware of anything untoward that has been done in the FEC."

This was untrue, by his own admission tonight.

On The 7.30 Report, Mr Macfarlane - pathetically - that the Groom GST avoidance scam was not "untoward", but rather it was merely "…deemed to be outside the parameters of the tax law." Who does he think he is kidding?

In Parliament today, Peter Costello said: "I have had no discussion with the Minister for Small Business about any scam involving the Groom electorate or any other electorate - none whatsoever."

Yet, tonight he has issued a statement admitting that he received a letter in February from the former treasurer of the Groom FEC, Mrs Margaret Watts, blowing the whistle on the scam.

Peter Costello now admits: "I asked my office to refer it to the Minister for Small Business so he could

check with those responsible that the proper obligations were being met."

Peter Costello denied all knowledge of this matter in Parliament today, when he knew perfectly well he had asked a member of his staff to speak to a fellow Minister about it.

It is simply not credible that he would forget directing a member of his personal staff to raise such a sensitive matter with a fellow Liberal Minister.

It is quite clear no action would have been taken against this Liberal Party GST scam but for the action of the whistleblower, Mrs Watts. If she had not objected to the rort and sounded the alarm, the Liberal Party would still be pocketing the proceeds of their GST swindle. Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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