Twenty years on, GST’s lies hide a more banal truth — and reveal the impact of vested interests

While neoliberals are celebrating 20 years of the GST, there’s no evidence it delivered the kind of benefits promised at the time. And, as always, it reflects the power of vested interests.

The GST commenced twenty years ago today, and within neoliberal circles there’s plenty of commemoration. The GST is — to use the lie of Peter Costello — the “last great reform”, the last time when politicians were bold reformers, in dire contrast to the wishy-washy current generation.

It’s no mere exercise in nostalgia, of course, but the basis for a demand that further reform be undertaken, including of the GST — a demand made all the more urgent by the pandemic.

Rather than being the last great reform, there is no evidence the GST has produced any of the benefits claimed for it at the time by the Howard government and its media cheerleaders.