Tasmania’s Liberal senators have been urged to stand up for the state and consider crossing the floor over upcoming federal legislation to alter the GST distribution method.
The Federal Government has foreshadowed bringing to Parliament as early as next week legislation to change the GST distribution method.
But the Tasmanian Government wanted changes to the proposed legislation after releasing Treasury modelling last week that showed under at least two scenarios, Tasmania could end up with significantly less GST than it would under the current system.
The Government has said it can not and will not support the legislation in its current form and has pushed for a legislated “no worse off” guarantee to ensure no state or territory could receive less GST in future than what the current system would provide.
When asked whether the four Liberal senators should cross the floor if the Federal Government refused to legislate the change, Tasmanian Liberal Speaker Sue Hickey said: “I think they should”.
“I think they should be fighting for every single cent for our state,” she said.
Ms Hickey said it would be nice to see the senators “do something productive for Tasmania”.
‘Brash, rash threats’ not helpful: Abetz
In the past, Ms Hickey has clashed with conservative Liberal senator Eric Abetz, who asked her to explain how her decision to accept the nomination for Speaker from Labor and the Greens earlier this year was not “treachery”.
Premier Will Hodgman also urged Tasmania’s Liberal senators — Senator Abetz, Jonathon Duniam, David Bushby and Richard Colbeck — to stand up for their state.
“I have confidence, and certainly would expect, that all Tasmanian senators would stand up for our state, as the State Government is doing, and do what’s in the state’s best interests,” he said.
Don’t base GST decisions on three-year-old information, says Senator Abetz. (ABC News: Gregor Salmon)
Mr Abetz said Tasmania’s Liberal senators were working closely with state and federal treasurers to ensure every state benefitted from the reforms.
“The complex body of work that’s underway isn’t helped by brash or rash threats as has been suggested,” he said.
Senator Duniam said he would never vote for anything that disadvantaged his state.
“We will continue to work constructively with the Tasmanian Government to ensure we get the best deal possible for Tasmania,” he said.
Senators Colbeck and Bushby were contacted for comment.