18 March 2009

Alcopops tax grab added to Rudd's growing list of policy failures

The ALP's gratuitous tax grab that was disguised as an initiative to curb binge drinking among teenagers has been defeated in the Senate by the socially conservative Senator Steve Fielding of Family First and the Coalition.

In spite of all their emotive rhetoric about how teenage girls cannot help themselves with these sweet tasting, colourfully presented alcoholic beverages, one year on from when the measure was first introduced they failed to provide any evidence that it had an impact on binge drinking.

To make matters worse, the ALP chose to give the tax revenue back to the liquor industry for purely political reasons, as Senator Mathias Cormann explains:

While we opposed this tax increase as a bad tax, we also took the view that the money collected by the government so far (without legal foundation as it turns out now) should not be returned to the liquor industry.

In fact the liquor industry did not want it back.

We bent over backwards, over the past two days, giving the government every opportunity to validate the $300 million collected so far and to invest all of it in genuine and effective measures to fight alcohol abuse in the community.

I moved three separate motions, (one together with Greens Senator Bob Brown) to give the Government the opportunity to validate the $300 million in revenue collected so far.

Recklessly, the Government voted against every single one of them. The reason? Political. They wanted to put maximum pressure on Senator Fielding to pass the tax.

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