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Shorten attacks PM on GST

ABC
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Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has launched an attack on the Turnbull government’s reform agenda.

Mr Shorten used his address to the 2015 Economic and Social Outlook Conference in Melbourne to criticise a potential increase to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which he said will unfairly impact on lower-income households.

He said Labor would not support an increase to the GST which “inflicts the heaviest punishment on those least able to afford it”.

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“Jacking up the GST to 15 per cent is not innovative, agile or creative,” he said.

“This government’s fixation with increasing the GST shows that when all you’ve got is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

Mr Shorten also attacked the rhetoric around reform, with his speech stating that talking about change is easier than action.

“All too often, the term ‘reform’ is co-opted to add a veneer of credibility to lazy thinking and bad ideas,” he said.

“Reform must be more than a password we whisper in search of approval, or a buzzword tacked on to a poorly crafted policy.”

His speech comes one day after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s address to the conference, where he promised to focus on fairness.

While giving nothing away on his own view of potential changes to the GST, Mr Turnbull has warned against picking off isolated proposals.

“Fairness is absolutely critical,” he said.

The pledge follows the release of modelling, commissioned by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), that found increasing the rate of the GST to 15 per cent would have the biggest impact on low income earners.

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