Democrat collusion on GST condemned
The meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Australia over the weekend of May 29-30 issued the following statement condemning the Democrat's collusion with the Howard Government on the GST. Those negotiating with the Howard Government on behalf of the Australian Democrats, in advocating support for the Government's tax package, the central feature of which is a Goods and Services Tax, have once again displayed their fundamentally conservative position. They have ignored the clear opposition of the majority of the Australian people to any form of GST. No matter how a GST is dressed up or what so-called exemptions are made, it remains inevitably a regressive tax which further assists in the process of transferring wealth from the many to the few. This is confirmed by the enthusiasm with which big business circles have welcomed the prospect of a GST and bemoaned any obstacle or hindrance placed in the way of its implementation. The existing taxation system is fundamentally progressive while a GST is fundamentally regressive. The new tax package does little to address the massive tax avoidance by big business and the wealthy. Meg Lees has done her party's members and supporters, the working people, low paid and pensioners of Australia a grave disservice and follows the equally dishonourable example set by former leader Cheryl Kernot in her support for the Howard Government's anti-trade union Workplace Relations Act. The Democrats' leader, Meg Lees, had insisted on foods being removed from a GST but this has been watered down to only "basic foods" — whatever that means. Other changes that the Democrats also claimed they would insist on, including environmental issues, have been abandoned. The Democrats know that a future government or even the present Howard Government will be able to make changes and whittle away the concessions they have made to establish the principle of a GST. Once it has been introduced, it is inevitable that its scope will be gradually widened to include all goods and services. Instead of this unprincipled act bringing credit to the Australian Democrats or placing them in the "big league", it is already bringing about a strong backlash, even among their own members. Far from keeping the Howard Government "honest" the leaders of the Australian Democrats have participated in a fundamental attack on the rights and living standards of the Australian people. They have deserted honesty and principle and are incurring the anger of wide sections of the Australian people. The Australian Democrats must reconsider their unprincipled decision. We call on individuals and organisations to forward protests or a copy of this statement to Meg Lees, leader of the Democrats, while supporting those Democrats who have indicated their opposition to the deal. Meg Lees: Phone (08) 8295 8911 (Adelaide) or Canberra (02) 6277 3991; Fax (08) 8295 8986; Email: email@example.com Lyn Allison: Phone (03) 9416 1880; Fax: (03) 9417 1690 Vicki Bourne: Phone: (02) 9247 3377; Fax: 9247 9681 Andrew Murray: Phone: (08) 9481 1455; Fax: (08) 9481 1679 Natasha Stott Despoja: Phone (08) 8232 7595; Fax: (08) 8232 7601 John Woodley: Phone (07) 3252 9129; Fax: (07) 3252 9851 Andrew Bartlett: Phone (07) 3252 7101; Fax: (07) 3252 8957.