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John Howard: Philosophy and Political Tactics In Action

With the Ryan by-election only days away, and polls continuing to show growing support for the ALP, Prime Minister John Howard has made a number of speeches and statements in recent days that reveal much about his approach to politics.

HowardWith polls indicating that the ALP may secure a swing of up to 13% in Ryan, on top of the 8% it achieved in the 1998 election, it seems clear that the affluent electorate, containing a high proportion of small business operators and professionals, may react strongly against the Business Activity Statement and other compliance procedures of the new tax system.

Earlier today, the Prime Minister mischievously suggested that the ALP would increase the GST rate from the current 10%. Having once promised that he would “never ever” introduce the GST, Howard demonstrates a breathtaking approach to winning at all costs by being prepared to argue that his opponents will increase the rate. This is despite the fact that the ALP has opposed the introduction of the GST at every election since 1993. During parliamentary debate on the GST legislation in 1998 and 1999, the ALP voted against the GST in both houses of parliament. [Read more…]


How Will Beazley Fund Rollback?

This is the text of a statement issued by Prime Minister John Howard in the lead-up to the Ryan by-election.

The G.S.T. has emerged as a major issue affecting the electoral support of the government.

Earlier, Howard had claimed that the ALP would raise the rate of the GST if elected to office, despite the fact that the ALP has consistently opposed the GST and voted against it in both houses of parliament in 1999. [Read more…]


Democrats’ Leadership Contest Causing Bitterness

The battle between Australian Democrats Leader, Senator Meg Lees, and her challenger, Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja, has grown increasingly bitter following an intervention by the party’s founder.

Former Senator Don Chipp, who founded the party in 1977 and served as its leader until 1986, on Sunday called for the Democrats’ membership to elect the 31-year-old South Australian senator.

Chipp claimed that it was possible that One Nation might control the balance of power in the Senate after this year’s federal election. He argued that this could only be resisted by a revitalised Australian Democrats led by Stott-Despoja.

Lees must go, Chipp argued, to save her party and to save Australia. [Read more…]


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…]