INDEPENDENT Senator Nick Xenophon highlights that he has been “voted in to a job and to do a job without ideology and without a pre-determined position.”
That is why he is calling for an independent enquiry into the proposed scrapping of 30 percent rebate in the Federal Government’s budget. “There should be a commission of inquiry into what we should be looking at. If the numbers stack up why would you not increase the tax on the cigarettes?
“It would avoid risking damage to the health system if a lot of currently privately insured people where to shift to the public system.”
South Australian independent Senator Xenophon is one of seven critical votes the Government needs in the Senate if it can’t win Opposition support for the Budget.
He is concerned about the budget deficit and said to Neos Kosmos English Edition, “I am concerned with what are long term strategies to deal with debt. We’ll all be left with that.”
Xenophon is also keen to point out that he supported the stimulus package and is not averse to spending on “targeted and useful infrastructure project.” He warns, “At the end of day the more we spend on interest the less we’ll be spending on governement programs to help people.”
Supporters of the Rudd Government’s response to the Global Financial Crisis say that the projected deficit of $58 billion is on the lower end in comparison to other OECD nations.
This is an argument rejected by Senator Xenophon, “We went from a $22 billion surplus to a $ 58 billion deficit. That is a $80 billion turn around. It represents a significant turn-around in the budgetary position which is up there with OECD nations. It represents five percent of GDP.”
Everyone seems to be focusing on the possibility of the Prime Minister Rudd calling for a double dissolution if the budget is not passed through the Senate, something that Senator Xenophon is acutely aware off given how much depends on his position.
“Listen a double dissolution is up to the government, it’s not up to me. I want to work constructively with the government.
“Let’s separate the facts from the rhetoric and try to get a good outcome for all Australians,” he emphasizes, adding, “I think Australians would want to punish a government that goes to the polls to early without a good reason.”