Whether or not the Liberal party has any actual plans at this moment to increase or broaden the base of the GST, we can learn from history.
We know that the original GST as proposed by John Hewson in the “Fightback!” policy document (and whatever you thought of the contents, that really WAS a policy document) was 15%.
We know that John Howard and Peter Costello originally wanted the current 10% GST to apply to everything including basic food until it was taken off in a deal with the Democrats to get the rest of the GST through the senate.
We know that when the Liberal/National coalition unexpectedly gained control of the senate in 2004, they initiated the deeply unpopular WorkChoices policy, despite having made no mention of any such policy during the election campaign. When John Howard was asked why he was instigating a policy he never took to the people, he said that everyone knew that workplace relations reform had always been his policy.
We know that many on Tony Abbott’s front bench were part of the Howard government that implemented WorkChoices. Indeed, they like to remind us of that fact.
We know that Tony Abbott has said it’s sometimes better to ask forgiveness than permission.
So whether or not there is any substance to the rumours that the Coalition plans to increase the GST or apply it to food or both, you have to look at their history and ask yourself a question:
“Do I feel lucky?”