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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 10658


Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 14/08/1998

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 10658



Mr Howard, welcome to Adelaide. Great to speak to you on Friday,

and good morning.


Good morning to you.


So far, can you give me an impression of how you think the electorate,

not the media, the electorate is receiving your package?


Well so far I think there is enormous interest, there's a

recognition that this is not just a tax cut, it's much bigger

than that. This is about remaking the tax system for the longer

term benefit of Australia. Of boosting our economic performance,

of giving people greater incentive and also cheapening our exports

and generally helping business to operate better. So it's a

big long term plan, it's not just about a tax cut.


Mr Howard, this morning we have been taking calls from our listeners,

many of whom are feeling really reassured, others are quite jaundiced

and disappointed. Those who seem to feel as though the tax will

be bad for them are those on low incomes, very close to pension

areas. Can you reassure low income earners listening at the moment

that the compensations will make up for the increases in price?


Well I can give that assurance. The compensation is well above,

it's at least 1.5 per cent above the calculated price impact.

We have deliberately decided that the pension, for example, and

all the other social security payments will go up by 4 per cent

on the first of July 2000 when the plan comes into effect and will

remain 1.5 per cent at least above any increases in the consumer

price index. So what we're doing is we're fully compensating

people for the price effect of the goods and services tax on top

of that we're throwing in another 1.5 per cent for good measure

for further reassurance. Now that's for people who rely entirely

on the pension. If they have other sources of income, we have got

these savings and investment bonuses for both pensioners and self

funded retirees. We're getting rid of provisional tax. We have

deliberately skewed the tax cuts so that the proportionate gains

for low income earners are greatest. We're cutting, we're

increasing the tax free threshold to $6,000 and we're cutting

the bottom rate from 20 per cent to 17 per cent. Now that is proportionately

more help to somebody on a low income than to somebody on a high



Mr Howard, on other issues specifically raised by our listeners

this morning. The issue of banking, now details are not yet available

to us. But can you explain if we will end up paying more for our

banking services?


No you will not end up paying more for your banking services. Well

to start with the financial institutions duty and the bank accounts

debits taxes are going to be completely abolished. Now can I say

that again. They are going to be completely abolished. Those aggravating

little entries you get on your bank statement every month or whenever

you get your bank statement, they're going to go out because

one of the conditions about us giving the GST to the States is that

they've got to get rid of those taxes. So there's no way

on earth against that background that the cost of banking services

can go up.


Prime Minister, the media are speculating that you and your Government

will be watching very carefully to see how we are all receiving

this, and that will determine the election time. We have heard you

this morning saying I don't want to talk about that yet. Are

we talking, however, about an election being called within a month

do you think?


Julia, I have no idea when the election is going to be. I have

not turned my mind to the date of the next election. My sole mission

in life now is to explain the benefits of this plan to the Australian

people. It is a long term plan to make Australia stronger economically,

to generate more jobs and to help our export performance and to

generally further strengthen the Australian economy in a time of

international challenge. That's my aim in life at the moment.

The election of course will be at some stage. I haven't decided

when and I won't be deciding when for some time.


Is this the most risky moment of your political life?


Look, I don't look at it in a personal sense. I am certainly

very proud to lead a Government that has had the guts to put forward

a visionary plan that will help the long term economic future of

the country. I am really very proud of that and I am very proud

of all the support I have had from my colleagues, particularly the

Treasurer, who has worked very hard with me on this plan, and it's

a moment of great importance to the country and that's far

more important than my own personal feelings on the subject.


We were discussing with Senator Meg Lees this morning and our listeners

how to keep the 10 per cent at 10 per cent and I am sure you are

very aware that she has given cautious approval to your system,

although she says it's still very hard to keep it down. She

also mentioned the black economy. You have budgeted quite a bit

of money coming out of the black economy, she says that doesn't

work, countries with a GST elsewhere seen an increase in the black

economy. Can you reassure us that money will come back?


Well that is not the advice that we had from the experts. The advice

that we had from the experts was that the introduction of a goods

and services tax, plus a number of other measures that we have introduced,

it's not just a goods and services tax but plus a number other

compliance measures we have brought in, will result in tax now not

being paid being paid in the future. The experience that I've

been told of in relation to New Zealand and other places has been

quite good as far as the black economy is concerned. You have got

to remember that the proposal that we are putting forward is more

failsafe in relation to the black economy than some of the systems

overseas. It's more effective and more comprehensive and therefore

more likely to succeed.


Prime Minister, as we leave you at the airport and a busy day in

Adelaide and a busy weekend with Liberal Party business, you are

sounding tired this morning if I may say, how's the energy?

There's a big sell ahead isn't there?


The energy levels very high perhaps the line's a bit thin.


Could well be. We will obviously see and hear much more of you

later in the day. Thanks for your time.


Thank you. Bye bye.

Transcript 10658