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Howard Addresses The Nation On The GST

The Goods and Services Tax came into force on July 1, 2000.

Two days before the GST and its associated tax reforms were introduced, Prime Minister John Howard addressed the nation on ABC television.

  • Listen to Howard’s Address (8m)

Address to the Nation by Prime Minister John Howard.

HowardMy fellow Australians,

May I have a few moments of your time to say why the new tax system which starts on Saturday is good for Australia.

This is something the country has needed for more than twenty years and we’re doing it because it is the right thing for the nation.

It will give us a fairer taxation system.

It will cut our income tax.

It will strengthen us in the world. [Read more…]

Kim Beazley’s 2000 Budget Reply Speech

This is the text of Opposition Leader Kim Beazley’s Budget Reply speech in the House of Representatives.

Budget Reply speech by Kim Beazley, Leader of the Opposition.

BeazleyMr Speaker, as I have travelled around this country over the last 12 months, wherever I go, I hear the same questions.

People are asking me “if the economy is supposed to be going so well, why are things so tough for me and my family?”

They are asking me why, when the Government says the economic good times are rolling, their local public hospital is overcrowded, and can’t cope with more than the most urgent cases?

They ask me why the local public school is run down, the computers broken, and the classrooms overcrowded.

They ask me why they are getting hit almost every month now with another rate rise on their mortgage.

And they are asking why, when things are supposed to be going well, the society they live in is getting harsher, less caring, more divisive.

Those people who have asked me these questions over the last twelve months would have found no answers on Tuesday night from this Budget.

Indeed, all that Australian families would have found in this Budget would be higher taxes, higher prices, and more pressure on interest rates. [Read more…]

Kim Beazley Address On Taxation Reform And The GST

This is the text of Opposition Leader Kim Beazley’s Address to the Nation on Tax Reform.

The televised address was in response to an address by Prime Minister John Howard following his deal with the Australian Democrats on the Goods and Services Tax.

Beazley declared it was Labor policy to “roll back” the GST.

Text of Kim Beazley’s Address to the Nation on Tax Reform.

Opposition Leader Kim BeazleyMy friends, for the last two years, we as a nation have been bogged down in a debate about whether we should pay a new 10 per cent tax on just about everything.

The deal between the Government and the Democrats has produced this tax and we start paying it next year.

You know that we strongly disagree with them. The GST is a tax Australia doesn’t need, and Australians can’t afford. Let me briefly tell you why; what we intend to do about it; and then get on to the more important issues we face in the years ahead. [Read more…]

John Howard’s Address to the Nation on Tax Reform

This is the text of Prime Minister John Howard’s Address to the Nation on tax reform.

It follows the passage of the GST legislation through the Parliament.

Text of John Howard’s Address to the Nation on tax reform.

HowardGood evening. As Australians we have every reason to be very optimistic about the future. No country in the world has better prospects as we enter the new century.

We are a united, resourceful and talented people. Our economic strength as a country is undoubted as we now enjoy the strongest economic fundamentals in a generation.

We have:

  • the lowest unemployment rate in almost a decade;
  • the lowest number of unemployed teenagers looking for full-time work in over 20 years; and
  • the lowest levels of inflation and interest rates in around 30 years.

These strong economic results have not come about by accident. They are the result of sensible and practical reforms in earlier years including strong but fair decisions to return the budget to surplus and to remove the debt burden on future generations. [Read more…]

Howard’s Commitments to Meg Lees on the GST

This is the letter from the Prime Minister, John Howard, to the Leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Meg Lees.

The letter sets out the agreement reached between the government and the Democrats to secure passage of the Goods and Services Tax legislation through the Senate.

Senator Lees
Leader of Australian Democrats
Suite SG 112
Parliament House

Dear Senator

I refer to our discussions this morning regarding the Government’s tax package and the Government’s commitment to the outcomes reached.


The Government will write to the Commissioner of Taxation to seek a ruling on the definition of education services that are to be GST free. [Read more…]

Andrew Bartlett Statement Opposing the GST Package

This is the text of a statement by the Queensland Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett, setting out his reasons for opposing the revised taxation package.

Senator Andrew BartlettI wish to indicate to my party and to the people of my electorate of Queensland that I am unable to vote for the revised taxation package that was announced by the Prime Minister just over two weeks ago. Whilst there are still some details of the legislation to be finalised, unless there are fundamental changes made to the package announced by the Prime Minister, I will not be able to support it.

My inability to support this package is not based on any philosophical objection to a GST. I have always willingly supported the platform the Democrats took to the last election and the position and recommendations that the party put forward in its Senate Committee reports on the tax legislation.

My personal concern is simply that, overall, the proposed changes will still make our tax system more regressive than it currently is, despite the very significant improvements to the original package which have been made so far by the Democrats. [Read more…]

Meg Lees Responds To Brian Harradine’s Opposition To The GST

These are remarks by Senator Meg Lees, following Senator Brian Harradine’s decision to oppose the GST.

Lees, leader of the Australian Democrats, struck a deal with the Howard government to pass the GST provided it exempted fresh food and education, amongst others.

  • Listen to Lees (5m)

Senator Brian Harradine Opposes the GST

This is an edited version of Senator Brian Harradine’s speech in the Senate announcing his intention to vote against the introduction of a Goods and Services Tax.

  • Listen to Harradine’s speech (11m)
  • Listen to Democrats Leader Senator Meg Lees comment on the future of the GST in the light of Harradine’s opposition. (4m)

Speech by Senator Brian Harradine.

Independent Tasmanian Senator Brian HarradineThis new tax system that has been proposed by the Government, we all agree, is a major revolutionary reform, and for good or bad we will have to live with it for decades to come.

A huge effort has been expended by the Government and by others in developing this new tax system proposal.

The executive Government has put forward this proposal pursuant to what it considers to be a mandate given by the people at the last election in October.

So much has been said about this question of mandate and I’m not going to enter into that argument at this point of time. [Read more…]

Premiers’ Conference: Howard and Costello Press Conference

This is the text of the press conference held by the Prime Minister, John Howard, and the Treasurer, Peter Costello.

It follows the Premiers’ Conference which reached a new agreement on Commonwealth-State financial arrangements.

Text of John Howard and Peter Costello press conference.


Ladies and gentlemen, today we have had an extraordinarily successful Premiers’ Conference. We’ve reached agreement on all outstanding matters relating to the financial agreement between the governments which has now been signed, sealed and delivered. And the last act in the dramatic transformation of Australia’s taxation system and the last deed required to take this country into the 21st Century with a financial and taxation system fit for the 21st Century is for the Australian Senate to take heed of what the governments of Australia, the Federal Government and the six State governments and the two Territorial governments of Australia have done. [Read more…]

Agreement on Reform of Commonwealth-State Financial Relations

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has signed an agreement with State and Territory leaders to reform Commonwealth-State financial relations.

This is the text of a statement released by John Howard:

I am pleased to announce that Commonwealth, State and Territory leaders have today signed a landmark Agreement that will transform Commonwealth-State financial relations, as promised in the Commonwealth Government’s Tax Reform: not a new tax, a new tax system.

The Commonwealth has introduced legislation to provide all of the revenue from the GST to the States and Territories and to protect the rate and base of the GST in accordance with this Agreement. The Agreement will commence on 1 July 1999. As a further sign of the Commonwealth’s good faith, the Commonwealth will attach the signed Intergovernmental Agreement to the A New Tax System (Commonwealth-State Financial Arrangements) Bill 1999 and similarly the States and Territories will attach the Agreement to their legislation. [Read more…]