Taxaing Times: A political retrospective
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Two years after the introduction o(the goods and services tax (GST) in Australio it is perhaps timely to renea on the broader political significance o(Australia's recent experience in relation to tax reform. The goal h~~t;. is not to comment on the effectiveness ofthe new regime, but to provide on assessment ofwhat the Australian experience tells us about the tax policy process and the broader issue ofthe governance ofAustralian economic policy. Can we interpret the eventual introduction o( a GST after thirty years o(struggle as a maturing o(Australian politics? Alternatively, are the deadlocks and protraaed political debates experienced in relation to tax reform in recent years likely to persist as (uture governments attempt to adapt the national tax base to the challenges o(the 21" Century? The (ollowing article will shed light on these issues by applying the political science literature to identify the charaaeristics o(the policy process which are likely to enable national governments to achieve potentially contentious tax reform proposals. Having established this framework, the study evaluates Australia's experience in relation to tax reform over the past thirty years. While the article notes several important developments between the Asprey Inquiry o(the mid-I 970s and the introduction o( the Howard Government's Anew tax system in 2000, it is argued that a combination ofhistoricaf and institutional features ofthe Australian policy environment continue to fimit the governance capacity ofthe Australian state. The article concludes by discussing the implications o(this finding (or the ongoing reform o(Australia's taxation system.
Australian Tax Forum
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