Govt running tax scare campaign: Hockey

By a staff reporter

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has accused the government of running a scare campaign over the Coalition's plans for taxation.

In an interview with Business Spectator, Mr Hockey said he was not about to "cop a lecture from the Labor Party about honesty on tax".

"The Labor Party is trying to run this scare campaign about the GST, you know, some secret agenda," he said.

"Nothing compares with what they’ve done on the carbon tax; promising no carbon tax and the day after the election effectively saying 'here’s your carbon tax'."

The shadow treasurer said this week's budget papers were the "worst, most complicated and incomplete budget papers" he'd seen in nearly twenty years and that they forced the Coalition to adopt Labor's spending regime.

"There are some decisions that we don’t like...for example the changes to superannuation we don’t like and we’ve said that, but...these are the things we’ve got no choice about because we’re inheriting the mess," he said.

Mr Hockey said that there were $28 billion of cumulative spending cuts that had been identified in the 2012 budget but had not yet been legislated which would be enacted on by the Coalition.

“I went to shadow cabinet on Monday and spoke with my colleagues about $28 billion of savings from last year’s budget and I asked for the capacity to make the right decisions in response to the budget on Tuesday night and we’ve done that,” he said.

Mr Hockey defended the Coalition's plan for a commission of audit, saying it will have broad terms of reference and provides an "opportunity to redesign some of the structural delivery processes and structural mechanisms for the delivery of public sector support into the community". 

"It’s important if you do it [that] it will be led by people from the private sector with the support of people from the public sector," he said.

"If you’re going to go through that process, make it meaningful and make it structural.  

"It’s not hard to find cuts, but it is hard to make structural change that actually delivers a more efficient government."

Mr Hockey said he would consider issuing infrastructure bonds, reiterating his call to to push out the maturity date of government bonds to create a benchmark yield curve.

"And we will, if necessary, instruct the AOFM to build liquidity around that," he said.

"You don’t go straight to fifty years, as you know.  

"You’ve got to...build it out and build liquidity around it and I see that as a terrific way, as a starting point, to start to stimulate the bond market."