Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Treasurer. Now that the Treasurer has refused to rule out new taxes on the family home, I refer to the fact that state Labor governments in New South Wales introduced taxes on the family home and a vendor tax, and that the state Labor government in Western Australia attempted to introduce a property tax but failed. Treasurer, how can your government be trusted not to introduce new property taxes when it is clearly the form of the Labor Party to do so?
We just got the O’Farrell strategy from ‘Sloppy Joe’. He is not actually running in the federal parliament; he is running in the state parliament. You are going to have to do a lot better than that, Joe.
Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order not on relevance, but the Treasurer knows that he must refer to the member by his seat. I would ask him to withdraw his offensive remark about the shadow Treasurer.
I withdraw. As the Prime Minister and I have indicated today, this is a comprehensive review. The Henry review is having a look, root and branch, at all of the issues in the taxation system except two—the GST and tax-free super were ruled out. This is because it is a comprehensive review. No fear campaign from those opposite is going to lessen the determination of the government to receive that report, which is being conducted independently via a panel. We will examine it and we will take forward policy proposals in the interest of this nation. That is what we will do.
As you have demonstrated with the bank guarantee and the economic stimulus, you are absolutely incapable of coming to grips with the fundamental economic challenges this country faces in the short term, the medium term and the long term. You have demonstrated it on climate change; you demonstrated it when it came to economic stimulus. You do not understand the stability of the financial system and you are incapable of dealing with contemporary challenges.
Mr Speaker, I rise on a point or order. Mr Speaker, I assume that if you had had the chance you would have voted with the government on climate change, so he should actually stop referring to the opposition as ‘you’.
I am asked about tax reform. The government has a comprehensive process in train, one that is supported broadly by the Australian community. But of course there was a time when the Leader of the Opposition was the shadow Treasurer. He had an alternative tax plan. The problem is that he has hidden it in the bottom drawer. I well recall when he commissioned Mr Ergas to review the taxation system. Indeed, I think the member for Higgins will well remember some years before when the Leader of the Opposition put forward 289 different proposals for tax reform. But this report from Professor Ergas has not been released. Why has it not been released? That is because there is a secret plan in this House. It is the opposition leader’s secret plan that he will not tell the Australian people about: he has a flat tax plan for the income taxation system which will mean massive tax cuts for the top end and massive tax increases for everybody else. We will have no more of this hypocrisy from those opposite, because they are absolutely incapable of putting forward an alternative plan for this country.