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Matters of Public Importance: Goods and Services Tax
It is very hard to follow the member for Shortland because the gallery are applauding rapturously now, after that great contribution. Well done, Member for Shortland. This is an embarrassing MPI from a bereft shadow Treasurer who was a failed Treasurer in government. The greatest legacy of the member for McMahon is the fact that he left a $30 billion black hole in the very short period of time that he was the Treasurer of this country. So for him to bring on this MPI is desperate and it is a distraction. It is an absolute outrage, quite frankly. We are wasting the parliament’s time speaking about this.
The Labor Party have, by all accounts, about $50 billion to $60 billion of increased spending or cuts that they do not approve of that they will need to find. Up until now, I have been wondering where they are going to find this money, where are they going to find the $50 billion to $60 billion? The member for Shortland just outlined why the Labor Party are the party of small government and low taxes, which was a bit of a surprise to most of us, but where are they going to find that $50 billion to $60 billion? It was all answered this week, when we found out that the Labor Party plan on introducing a $200 a ton carbon tax, a $600 billion handbrake on this economy. I say to Labor: I am very, very happy to fight the next election on a $200 carbon tax, given you went so well with a $23 carbon tax last time.
Can we just move on from this charade that the shadow Treasurer is trying to undertake today? This is a waste of the parliament’s time—and this from a man who commissioned modelling from Treasury on a range of scenarios for increasing the GST and broadening its base. In the short time that he was Treasurer of this country, he racked up a $30 billion black hole, which we fixed, and he got modelling done on how to increase the base and the rate of the GST. I say to the shadow Treasurer: release all of the questions, the assumptions and the modelling that you did. The member for Watson said, ‘No, we just wanted to model what would be future Liberal Party policy.’ Release what you are saying will be future Liberal Party policy; let us see it. Understandably, we are very, very cynical about the Labor Party’s rhetoric, which in opposition is very different to when they are government. I grew up watching Labor Party politicians railing against the GST and its regressive nature and how it would hurt low-income earners. The minute they got into government, they were quiet; they never spoke once about the GST. And now they are back in opposition, they have discovered the GST again. If the GST is so regressive, have the courage of your convictions and take as a policy to the next election that you will roll back the GST.
Every argument I have heard today is an argument against the GST. It is not an argument against an increase; it is an argument against the GST itself. Unlike you, we do have the courage of our convictions. We went to an election and said: ‘The carbon tax is a handbrake on our economy. If elected, we will repeal it.’ That is exactly what we did. We did the same with your disgraceful mining tax, and you wonder why nobody believes a word you say on tax. They wonder why no-one listens to them on tax. This is the party that basically tried to nationalise our mining industry, through the resource super profits tax, then they rolled Rudd and then they did a deal on the MRRT that raised no money! It raised no money, but it had $16 billion worth of expenditure associated with it. This is why no-one takes you seriously when it comes to tax policy, and, quite frankly, you have not done the work in opposition in two years to fix that.
So when we have ridiculous MPIs like this today, it is an absolute bore for those out in the community and it is a waste of this parliament’s time. We are having a mature discussion about what we can do to fix Labor’s mess. You have embedded a structural deficit in this country that is going to take a lot of work to repair, and we have people like the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, the member for Mitchell, who is at the table, who are working feverishly to fix that. Now, get out of the way; stop using it for political point-scoring because, firstly, it is not working and, secondly, it just further debases your standing in the eyes of our constituents. Look, if you want to keep going this way, by all means do. We will fight an election on a $200 carbon tax at the next election very, very happily, but other than that you have got nothing to say about tax, so please cease.
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