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The principles underpinning an efficient and equitable tax system


The following is an edited transcript of Western Australian Senator Mathias Cormann’s presentation at The Tax Institute’s “Great Tax Debate”, held in Sydney on 31 August 2011. Mathias discusses the principles which should underpin an efficient and equitable tax system. He says that any Australian Government intent on advancing genuine tax reform should be prepared to genuinely engage and reach agreement with state and territory governments about the federal/state financial relations implications of any tax reform.

Based on this principle, he argues that the taxes introduced by the present Commonwealth Government were not designed on the basis of good long-term public policy, but were designed to generate additional cash for the government quickly. These include alcohol taxation, the tax on the northwest shelf gas project, the increase in the luxury car tax, the mining and carbon taxes. He argues that, having received the Henry Review report recommendations, the government should have engaged in proper, structured, open, transparent and inclusive consultation. Finally, he outlines the Coalition’s preferred approach to tax reform.

Author profile:

Mathias Cormann
Senator Mathias Cormann, Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation.
Current at 01 September 2011 Current at 26 July 2013


This was presented at The Great Tax Debate .

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Individual sessions

The Great Tax Debate - Panel B

Author(s):  Greg SMITH,  Henry Ergas,  Adam Creighton,  Cassandra Goldie

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The Great Tax Debate - Panel A

Author(s):  Mathias Cormann,  Rob Oakeshott

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A process to implement a tax reform agenda

Author(s):  Rob Oakeshott

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The inefficiencies in and distrortions caused by our tax system

Author(s):  Henry Ergas

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Tax reform: Priorities and prospects

Author(s):  Greg SMITH

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The Henry Review - A liberal critique

Author(s):  Adam Creighton

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