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Petrol Price Rises Begin To Bite As Political Issue

Petrol prices are becoming a worrying political issue for the federal government, following a series of increases in recent weeks.

As unleaded petrol steadily climbs to the politically potent and symbolic one dollar mark, the pressure on the Howard government will grow.

The main reason for petrol price increases is the Middle East cartel, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which has been limiting oil production during this year. This has increased the price of a barrel of oil from $42 to $54 (Australian dollars). [Read more…]

The Hard Politics Of The GST

After a smooth start to the GST last Saturday, the real politics of the taxation reforms are beginning to take shape.

The political fallout is hard to predict. The ACCC has been inundated with questions and complaints since business opened on Monday, but public acceptance of the GST has been evident at the retail level.

In the coming weeks, employees all around Australia will receive their weekly, fortnightly or monthly pay packets and it is then that the real political contest will take shape as people weigh up their take-home pay gains against the losses of the GST.

Over the ensuing months, electricity, gas, telephone and credit card bills will also show the effect of the GST. [Read more…]

Kim Beazley’s Address to the Nation on the GST

This is the full text of the Address to the Nation on the GST by Opposition Leader Kim Beazley.

The address, telecast on ABC television, was in response to the Prime Minister’s address on June 29.

Transcript of Kim Beazley’s Address to the Nation on the GST.

BeazleyGood evening. Thanks for your time.

I want to talk to you tonight about John Howard’s Goods and Services Tax.

And I want you to know why we in the Labor Party have so strongly opposed this tax.

We know ordinary Australians will be paying out much more in GST than they’ll get back from the tax cuts. [Read more…]

New Taxation Era As GST Begins

Major taxation changes, including the introduction of a 10% Goods and Services Tax, began today in Australia. Reaction to the changes is likely to determine the fate of the Prime Minister, John Howard, his government and the Opposition over the coming months.

HowardThe Wholesale Sales Tax (WST) system that has operated since the 1930s is now abolished. The differential rates of WST operated as taxes on business production. They have been replaced with a flat 10% tax which covers not only goods, but previously untaxed services. The GST operates at the consumption end of the production chain.

Basic food, education, child-care and health are exempt from the GST. Food was included in the government’s original plan, but exempted following the deal struck with the Australian Democrats last year that ensured the passage of the legislation through the Federal Parliament. [Read more…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

1998 Federal Election: ALP Advertisements

This page contains a selection of advertisements broadcast by the ALP during the 1998 federal election campaign.

They include radio advertisements and the soundtrack of television advertisements.

The ads focus on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) proposed by the Howard government at the election and opposed by the ALP opposition.

  • You don’t mind me asking, Dad?
  • GST Counter
  • Sparkie
  • You’ll Never Get Rid Of That
  • Cheryl Kernot