Goods and Services Tax (Australia)
The GST (Goods and Services Tax) is a value added tax of 10% on most goods
and services transactions in Australia.
It was introduced by the Howard Government on 1 July 2000, replacing the
previous Federal wholesale sales tax system and designed to phase out a
number of various State and Territory Government taxes, duties and levies such
as banking taxes and stamp duty.
The idea for a broad-based consumption tax was first proposed by then federal
treasurer Paul Keating at the 1985 Tax Summit but was dropped at the behest of
then Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke after pressure from the ACTU, welfare
groups and business, which did not like its association with proposals for capital
gains and fringe benefits taxes.
The idea was refloated in 1991 by the opposition Liberal-National Coalition, and
was the centrepiece of the opposition's Fightback, platform at the 1993 election,
when Keating was Prime Minister. The opposition had difficulty explaining the
policy, as illustrated in leader John Hewson's Birthday Cake Interview, and
Keating's campaign exploited public distrust of the GST. The GST was seen as
the main reason for the opposition's surprise election loss of the 'unloseable
election' in 1993.
John Howard was re-elected leader of the Liberal party in 1995, and pledged to
"never, ever" introduce the GST. Howard led the Liberal-National Coalition to a
large victory in the 1996 elections.
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