From Joe Hockey’s parting address just now:
Mr Speaker, our taxation system needs reform for the 21st century economy, integrity is crucial for that and through our leadership of the G20 we hardened the resolve of major economies to address base erosion and profit shifting.
Integrity is hugely important but the best way to get compliance is to have lower, simpler taxes. We abolished seven taxes and fixed 96 tax problems but reform had to go further and through a comprehensive review of the tax system.
I endeavoured, and failed, to keep all options on the table.
We must increase and over time broaden the GST, we must lower all income tax those people and companies are given more incentive to take risks and receive rewards.
As a minimum, we should aim for a 40-20-20 rule. 40% top personal tax rate at a much higher threshold, 20% tax rate for most taxpayers and 20% tax rate for businesses.
We should be wiser and more consistent on tax concessions to help pay for that, in particular tax concessions on superannuation should be carefully pared back.
In that framework, negative gearing should be skewed towards new housing so that there is an incentive to add to the housing stock rather than an incentive to speculate on existing property and we should never ever forget small business.
Then some guff:
Mr Speaker, the Abbott government was good at policy but struggled with politics. When faced with a choice, I would always prefer to do what was right than what was popular.
I admit that we could have done more to win over third-party endorsements and to win over the Senate. And we could have done more to win over the Australian people. We tried to achieve a lot in a short period of time and whilst we were dealing with significant domestic policy challenges in health, welfare and education, we underestimated the massive time requirements associated with national security and chairing the G20.
Nothing illustrated this better than the 2014 budget, where the government had more courage than the parliament. As my good mate, the outstanding minister for finance, Senator Mathias Cormann, will tell you, it is easier to spend money than to save money. Unfortunately, in modern politics it’s far easier to demolish good policy proposals than to build and implement them.
As I’ve said recently, Hockey is a gas bag and can’t dodge his fair share of blame for the Government’s failure but he had a much better grasp of what was required for the Australian economy than did his disastrous boss.