The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
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Peter Costello


11 March 1996 - 3 December 2007

Transcript of 20/02/00


Transcript No. 2000/18

The Hon Peter Costello MP

1027 High Street, Armadale, VIC
Sunday, 20 February 2000
11.30 am

SUBJECT: GST, income tax, Labor Party


Well on Thursday I issued a challenge to Mr Beazley and I said if he was so against GST he should write down a pledge that if he was ever elected he’d repeal it. And what happened was far from giving a pledge to repeal it. He’s now promised to keep it. On Friday the State Labor leaders asked for a guarantee that if he ever rolled it back he would make up the difference, and he gave it. There’s only way he can make up the difference, and that is by jacking up income tax. Now this morning Mr Beazley confirmed it is now Labor policy to keep the GST and jack up income tax. He wants to keep GST and jack up income tax as well. His campaign against GST has just been an absolute elaborate fraud. Because he’s now pledged to keep it. And not only pledged to keep it, but he has pledged to make good the revenue from any changes which can only be done and will be done and it is his policy to do by jacking up income tax. The awful truth of Labor’s policy is now revealed. They always intend to keep the GST and they intend to jack up income taxes as well to pay for their changes.


And what would that mean for the GST?


Well what that means is that Mr Beazley has been conducting an elaborate fraud. His elaborate fraud has been that he’s opposed to GST, a tax he’s pledged to keep. And not only has he pledged to keep the GST but he’s going to jack up income taxes as well to make good revenue to the States. So all the time when you hear him talking about rolling back GST, what he’s really saying is jacking up income tax. That’s what it amounts to. That’s what he’s been about all these months and years. That’s the effect of what he’s confirmed this morning.


NATSEM’s released new figures showing that a lot of people will be worse off under the package, the GST package. What do you propose to do about that?


Well that’s not the effect of the package at all. The effect of the package is to cut income taxes. And whilst you use revenue from GST to cut income taxes you can make people better off. But the Labor policy of course is to keep the GST and increase income taxes which would make everybody worse off. So the Government policy is quite clear, quite straightforward – we cut income taxes. People have more money to spend. Labor policy is to keep GST and ratchet up income taxes, which has to make people worse off.


Given the changes since the GST was agreed to by the Democrats, will you release, will the Treasury release figures to show how people will be affected now, given those changes?


We’ve released all sorts of figures both on the income tax cuts and on the increases in pensions and family allowances and on the effect of the indirect tax changes. And what they all show is at the end of the day if you introduce a GST and cut income tax, as the Government has, will be doing on 1 July, people are better off. The way they get worse off is the Labor policy, which is to increase or introduce a GST and increase income tax at the same time. Labor policy – GST plus income tax rise. Coalition policy – GST and income tax cut. It’s under the income tax cut that you’re better off. Under the Labor policy you’re worse off all round. This morning Mr Beazley, twice asked, rule out rises in income tax – twice squibs it. Because the truth of the matter is, under the promises he’s made, to keep the GST roll it back, to guarantee revenue to the States, he has to put up income taxes. Which means people are unquestionably worse off. The awful truth is for the last two years now we’ve been seeing an elaborate political fraud from the Labor Party. Campaigning against the tax they intend to keep. And not only to keep GST but to rub salt into the wound by increasing income taxes as well. I think one of the political commentators said yesterday one of the great political frauds of Australian history. Well the fraud’s been exposed by its perpetrator today – Mr Kim Beazley. Thanks.