Premiers Mike Baird and Jay Weatherill Unite To Promote Controversial Rise In The GST

01/02/2016 9:17 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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NSW Liberal Premier Mike Baird and SA Labor Premier Jay Weatherill have put their political differences aside to push for a GST increase to fund health care and education.

The two premiers united in solidarity on 7:30 Report on Monday night.

As Federal MPs returned to Canberra, Baird accused Opposition Leader Bill Shorten of putting the election campaign before the tax reform debate.

“We may approach the world in a different view, we may have different political badges, but what we're united on is doing the right thing by the constituents in both his State and my State and across the country,” Baird told host Leigh Sales on Monday night.

“And I think what's disappointing in this debate is people immediately look for the political opportunities to try and win an election on the base of scare campaigns, as an example.”

Premier Baird unveiled a “consensus” plan on Monday, campaigning to lift the GST from 10 to 15 per cent from July 2017, which would raise an extra $32.5 billion a year, giving each state $7 billion to fund health care and education.

Premier Weatherill “welcomed” the plan, dubbing it an “important contribution to the debate”.

The South Australia premier has remained outspoken on the GST increase, going against many of his Labor colleagues and Labor leader Bill Shorten, whose fight against a GST increase has become the underpinning of the opposition leader’s election campaign.

"Look, I have called for a national debate. I'm not going to complain when I get one,” Weatherill told Sales.

“I think I've received plenty of critique from both sides of politics. What I'm trying to do and what Premier Baird's trying to do is to level with the Australian people about the fact that we're not raising enough revenue to meet what they want us to do.

“We’ve spent decades in this country basically demonising taxation. But taxation is the means by which we educate our children, we treat our sick people, we actually provide for a more equal and more humane society.

“We're going in to bat for taxation to meet those needs and we also need to do it fairly and we're trying to get a national debate about that issue.”

A Newspoll released on Monday revealed 37 per cent of Australians would support a GST increase, which both premiers welcomed as “good news” on the program.

If the government were to increase the GST, both Baird and Weatherill said compensation to the disadvantaged would be “non-negotiable”.

On Monday, Scott Morrison pledged that he would be able to convince voters of the need to increase the GST, with the former Immigration Minister saying he's familiar with selling unpopular policies.

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