Thursday, 12 November 2015
Questions without Notice
Goods and Services Tax
My question is to the minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Brandis. I refer to the Prime Minister's statement last month that 'changes to the GST should be on the table'. I also refer to Senator Brandis's statement yesterday that 'there is no proposal coming from the Turnbull government to increase the GST'. Minister, which is true?
Senator Urquhart, as I tried to explain to your colleague Senator Polley yesterday, this government is encouraging a national conversation about jobs and growth. A very important feature of that national conversation is tax policy. You cannot have a national conversation about jobs and growth without having a conversation about tax policy. There are many, many voices and many points of view in the national conversation about tax policy. We have the views of a Labor Premier, Mr Weatherill, and a Liberal Premier, Mr Baird, who are calling for an increase in the rate of the GST, and we have the views of another Labor Premier, Mr Andrews, and another Liberal Premier, Mr Hodgman, who are not. There is a variety of views on this subject. (Time expired)
) ( ): Senator Urquhart, I do not know how many times I have to say this, but there is no proposal from the Turnbull government to increase the GST. But we are very happy to listen to, and we are listening carefully to, the exchange of views among political leaders of both sides of politics. State premiers, current and former, economic commentators, important stakeholder groups, whether it be the ACTU—
I rise on a point of order, Mr President. The question was: is there a proposal to broaden the GST to include fresh food, health and education on the table, or is it off the table? The minister has not got to that question.
We are listening to the views of different stakeholder groups, whether it be the ACTU, whether it be ACOSS, whether it be the Business Council of Australia or whether it be COSBOA. There are many views and many voices in this debate. The government encourages the debate, but we, the Turnbull government, are not proposing an increase to the GST.