Tax debate won’t win election

We continue our efforts to foster reviewed debate on our tax system, in particular ensuring GST is part of the debate. We acknowledge that such a debate now is not an election winner, but we are hopeful that the new parliament, whom ever that may be, will take the opportunity to start renewed discussion on the issue.

We need to find ways to maintain internationally competitive tax rates yet fund government policy objectives. I’m not here to push a barrow on what the government should or shouldn’t spend money on, that’s for voters to decide. What concerns me is the impasse between state and federal governments. We need to have a debate. We need alternatives explored.

In this regard I notice the comments made by Mr Richard Court AC at our National Convention in relation to the expected tax revenue to be generated by the LNG projects in Western Australia and how they could be used to bridge the gap between state and federal government. This may or may not be an answer but unless it is explored, debated, together with other options, we will continue to be the subject of inefficient taxes and risk Australia’s competitiveness.

I recognise the importance of our volunteer network and its alignment with our goals and vision. I will be writing to each state councillor to engage with them and get their valued input in respect to our goals. Consultation ensures our continued alignment and reinforces the strong links that exist within our Institute.

Thank you to those members who have made themselves known to me at various functions or conventions. I appreciate your feedback and your kind words. I know our staff and presenters do also, so please make yourself known.

Till next time.


Stephen Westaway is President of the National Council at The Tax Institute.

The Tax Institute is Australia's leading professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.


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