The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 15:19 :50 ): My question is to the Leader of the Government and Minister for Employment: do you support the Premier's policy of increasing the GST rate to 15 per cent?
The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) ( 15:19 :17 ): I thank the honourable member for his question about the GST. The answer is that all issues of commonwealth‑state relations are a matter for the Premier.
The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: Yes or no?
The Hon. K.J. MAHER: However, before I was so rudely interrupted by the ever eager Leader of the Opposition pro tem—
An honourable member interjecting:
The PRESIDENT: Order! Let the honourable minister answer the question.
The Hon. K.J. MAHER: As the Premier has quite rightly pointed out, we need a mature national conversation about taxation and about how the future of the health and education system of the country will be funded. I am 100 per cent behind the Premier's position.
The federal Liberal Party have made $80 billion worth of cuts to schools and hospitals. This is the federal Liberal Party that went to the last federal election: 'No cuts to health, no cuts to education.' They could not have been clearer. In their first budget, they put it up there in writing. They were proud of it: $80 billion worth of cuts to health and education.
The Premier has come up with one possible idea to make sure that there is sustainable funding for health and education into the future. I note that the Liberal Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has been in the media in the last few days suggesting it might be a good idea for state governments to look at increasing land tax and payroll tax. This is the Liberal federal Prime Minister. On 5 February this year, Prime Minister Turnbull said on FIVEaa:
[The states] have to be prepared, I believe, to go to the ir citizens and say, for example, we want to , we need to , raise money, more money to spend on our schools and hospitals and we are going to increase this state tax or that state tax.
He went on to say:
Well, you know, actually some of the most efficient tax bases in Australia are the [ state ba sed taxes ] like land tax and payroll tax.
He then said on the Insiders program a couple of days later that states should look at increasing payroll tax and land tax. I'm sure that the Hon. David Ridgway and his geniuses on the other side will completely support their federal leader and come in behind and want to raise state taxes—land tax and payroll tax. They've got some questions to answer that I think they just won't be prepared to. That's why they will say nothing.
They will keep with their genius small target strategy of 'say nothing, do nothing', the Rob Lucas strategy that has been so successful in the last election and so successful at the Fisher by-election. There's only one person coming up with ideas—and that is Jay Weatherill, the Premier, compared to Steven Marshall, who will say nothing, not support anything and think he can sail into office. That's not what we're going to do. We understand that as a state government we need to put ideas forward. That's what people expect.
They are not even close to being an alternative government. By definition, 'alternative' means having another point of view or having some sort of different competing possibilities. They don't have them. They have nothing at all. They are not even close to being an alternative government. They don't have their own policies and it's not good enough.
The PRESIDENT: Supplementary, the Hon. Mr Ridgway.
The Hon. T.J. Stephens: How long did you rehearse that for, because it was rubbish!
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 15:22 :14 ): He's been weeks at it.
The PRESIDENT: Order! The honourable Leader of the Opposition has the floor.
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: What modelling has the government and your agency done on the impact of the policy of an increase in the GST to 15 per cent on jobs and jobs growth in South Australia?
The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) ( 15:22 :42 ): This was one possible idea that the Premier floated and it was an idea that was consistent with a share of the income tax coming back to the states to fund these things.
The PRESIDENT: Supplementary, the Hon. Mr Ridgway.
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 15:22 :52 ): Minister, are you saying you have a policy with nothing to back it up, no substance that it is going to be good for our economy?
The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) ( 15:23 :01 ): I will say again: we're coming up with ideas, they're coming up with nothing.