Page 140 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 28 November 2012
and we have already had two different versions of what is happening in regard to rates from the Treasurer. So it is important that this information is made available.
It is a very simple request. For the Treasurer, with all of his resources, it should be a very easy piece of information to put together, and I would simply commend the amendment to members.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (11.02): The government will not support Mr Smyth’s amendment. I have already released information for the next five years and I will update further information with the budget in 2013.
MR SESELJA (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (11.02): I am not surprised that Mr Barr does not want to support this amendment but there does not seem to be any reason, and he certainly did not put any reason, as to why he would not release this information.
The government cannot have it both ways. They cannot sit there and tout tax reform and claim the good parts of tax reform without being honest with the community. It is all well and good to say “five years”, but let us be clear about the five years: the five years does not give people any detail. It does not demonstrate to them what their rates will actually be.
Putting that aside, it is all well and good to claim “five years”. But this government are saying they are abolishing stamp duty. They went to the community and said they were abolishing stamp duty. They are claiming the positive aspects of the reform, where the taxes come down, and pretending that there is no downside for the community when the taxes go up.
It is perfectly reasonable, if Katy Gallagher is going to go out there before an election and say, “We’re getting rid of stamp duty”—that is what she said; they have said they are getting rid of stamp duty—for this Assembly and the community to say, “Okay, if you’re getting rid of stamp duty, when you get rid of stamp duty what will that mean for rates?” Why won’t you tell us? Why won’t you be honest about it?
This goes to one of the common misconceptions about this whole debate. There are some in the media who believe that Labor failed on this reform—and they did; they failed absolutely, and Mr Barr has been blamed as the one who failed. I would be very happy to have a go at Mr Barr along with everyone and say that he failed to sell his tax reform. But that is not the problem. It is not that he failed to sell it; it is that it is unsellable. And that is what some of the cheerleaders for this reform have failed to acknowledge. Why did he not go and put the information out there? Because the information says that people’s rates will triple.
Whenever they have actually done the numbers—in the Quinlan review they did the numbers—they said, “Yes, rates will have to triple.” Then they said, “No, we didn’t mean that, that’s not government policy.” If it is not that then what is it? The fact that