Support GST floor, Labor MPs urged
Former WA treasurer and senior Turnbull Government minister Christian Porter has called on WA Labor MPs to support the principle of a GST floor unequivocally, saying they campaigned on the issue and must support efforts to change the system.
Mr Porter could not say exactly when a floor would be imposed or at what level, but claimed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s speech last weekend in which he said he would work towards introducing a GST floor as the “most significant policy suggestion and principle offered on this (GST) issue”.
Mr Porter said he had been engaged in the GST debate for many years, and it was critical WA Labor acted in a bipartisan way.
“I saw Clive Palmer mail out to every family in WA that he was going to fix the GST and literally he did nothing — not come up with an idea, arrange a meeting, engage in any lobbying,” he said.
“Now I am watching (Labor MPs). Where are these guys?”
Mr Porter said it would be a matter for Mr Turnbull to negotiate, but he saw it as logical to impose a floor in about 2019-20 when WA’s GST share was projected to rise above 75 cents again.
In State Parliament last week, Premier Colin Barnett claimed Mr Turnbull wanted to act on the floor “this year”.
A spokesman for Mr Turnbull pointed to his speech last weekend and Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison’s comments on radio last week that a floor would be introduced after States’ GST shares had normalised.
New Labor Member for Perth and shadow assistant minister for WA Tim Hammond said it was difficult to express a view on Mr Turnbull’s comments because of their lack of detail.
He said Mr Turnbull had previously proposed lifting the rate of GST and then fundamentally reforming the Federation, but both ideas had been quickly abandoned.