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Matters of Public Importance: Goods and Service Tax
What we are seeing today is a Labor Party who are so bereft of ideas that they have gone for: ‘In an emergency, break the glass and find the best scare campaign you can run.’ Well, guys, it is not going to work. It is not going to work. We are the party of lower taxes. Your record is so shambolic that nobody will believe a word that comes out of your mouths on tax policy. They are the party which raised the carbon tax when they had promised that they would never introduce a carbon tax, leaving every single home $550 worse off. They are the party that introduced the mining tax. They picked one recommendation out of the Henry tax review, which had about 150 recommendations. The mining tax that they introduced had $16 billion worth of associated spending, whereas it ultimately raised some very miniscule percentage of that spending. So your credibility on tax is absolutely shot.
We on this side of the House have lower taxes ingrained in our DNA. Our history is extraordinarily proud, and nothing will change. When we have undertaken ambitious tax reform, it has been for the benefit of this country. I remember as a young man watching Kim Beazley, the heir of Whitlam, standing out the front with cans of baked beans, arguing against the GST introduction. I think roll-back was the policy for two elections. And then, when the Labor Party finally got back into government in 2007, we never heard a word from them about the GST because every single Labor state Premier and politician is on the drip of the GST now.
If the GST is so bad, take a policy to the next election that you will repeal the GST. No, they all have their heads down now. If the GST is so bad, then absolutely go down that path and see how the Australian people mark you. But I can tell you that this party has lower taxes ingrained in its very fibre.
When we talk about fairness, it also has to be fairness for the middle class of this country, who carry the entire tax burden. It is the middle class who carry this country, pay for our education and pay for our health services. When we talk about fairness on this side of the House, any proposal that we take to the next election, however it may look, will be to benefit those people and to encourage them to work, encourage them to save and encourage them to invest, because they are the people, ultimately, who this country is built on.
The Labor Party have $60 billion of spending commitments that they have made. Very notably, the shadow foreign minister has promised to reinstate $16 billion of foreign aid. Yet they have $5 billion of savings, so where is that $55 billion going to come from? Some people think that they will be raising taxes. That is a possibility. They might just bung it on the credit card. That is Labor: ‘Just put it on the credit card. Just whack a bit more on the credit card; that’s okay. We’re already borrowing $100 million a day and paying a billion dollars a month in interest. Just bung a bit more on the credit card.’ That is because ingrained in Labor’s DNA is that they think: ‘That’s okay; the Liberal Party will be in government, and they’ll fix it for us. The Liberals will come back into government; they’ll fix it, then we’ll just bung it on the credit card again.’ Where are you going to find that $55 billion? We are still 12 months away, and we have not even got into a campaign yet. That $55 billion will probably turn into $100 billion by the election. Where is that $100 billion going to come from?
On this side of the House we have a party which has a track record. We matched our words in opposition when we argued against the carbon tax, and we repealed it. We saved households $550 on average a year. At every opportunity the Labor Party argues against the GST, yet they have never, ever uttered a word about the GST in government. We will take a policy to the next election that encourages Australians to work harder and that will not continue to punish people in 10 years’ time, when 43 per cent of Australians will be in the top two tax brackets. This is outrageous, and we will deal with that—that is certain. We will make sure that those people who are working very hard, who are the PAYE earners on whom this system relies, will be rewarded. It will not be just empty rhetoric, like from the Labor Party, which is panicking – I know you are panicking, but we will have a plan and the Australian people will back it.
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