Joe Hockey admits co-payment is a new tax - or a rabbit
"We didn't say we wouldn't raise any taxes": Joe Hockey addresses a live forum at Penrith Panthers Leagues Club for the ABC's Q&A with host Tony Jones, right. Photo: Wolter Peeters
Treasurer Joe Hockey has conceded the $7 Medicare co-payment
introduced in the budget amounts to a new tax - but denied the Abbott
government had lied to Australians that it would not introduce any new
Appearing on ABC's Q&A program, Mr Hockey was jeered
early on by the audience in Penrith in Sydney's western suburbs until
host Tony Jones asked for respect for the Treasurer.
No, I don't think you have to lie to get elected
"We didn't say we wouldn't raise any taxes. That's absurd
because we went to the last election promising to introduce a levy for
the paid parental leave scheme," Mr Hockey said.
Holding to account: Particpants at the forum prepare to ask the Treasurer questions. Photo: Wolter Peeters
"We said emphatically that the taxes would be lower under us
than they are under Labor and if you have a look at the Budget Papers
it actually shows that the taxes are lower under us than if Labor were
But the Treasurer accepted under questioning that the co-payment was a new tax.
"It's a payment. You can call it a tax," he said. "It comes
out of a pocket. It comes out of someone's pocket. A taxpayer's pocket.
You want to call it a tax, you can call it anything you want, you can
call it a rabbit."
He also conceded that the rise in the petrol excise was a tax increase.
The Abbott government has plunged in the polls and is under
fire for imposing those new taxes and cuts to family tax benefits,
tougher welfare eligibility, lower pensions and deregulated university
The government is also under fire from state premiers and
chief ministers of the territories for cutting $80 billion from health
and education funding over the next decade.
Mr Hockey dismissed claims by NSW and Victoria that the impact would be immediate, saying funding would increase.
"We are giving the states an extra $9 billion in net terms
over the next 4 years. They just got a $4 billion windfall from the
GST, an increase in $4 billion in the GST," he said.
Mr Hockey said the Coalition had not attempted to sneak into
government by keeping its plans secret before the September election.
"No, I don't think you have to lie to get elected," he said.