By Ian Neubauer

A growing number of National and Liberal Party representatives are defying the Coalition’s back flip on the RTD tax bill, saying they will vote against or abstain to vote for it when it is reintroduced to Parliament this week.

National Party representatives who have come out to oppose the bill include party leader Senator Barnaby Joyce, Senator Fiona Nash and MPs Paul Neville and Darren Chester. They are joined by Liberal MPs Wilson Tuckey, Alby Schulz, Don Randall and Cory Bernardi.

A spokesperson for the National Party told TheShout today (Jun 24) there were strong views within the party on the issue.

“We have grave concerns about the basis of this new tax – about any new taxes for that matter,” the spokesperson said.

“We don’t believe it addresses the problem of binge drinking cited by the Rudd Government, but we’ve had to weigh that against the dire budgetary position that the Rudd Government has put the nation into in just 18 months. Our members have or are abstaining or voting against the [RTD tax hike] bill.”

Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia (DSICA) spokesperson Stephen Riden said the group will continue to present the case for the introduction of a volumetric approach to alcohol taxation.

“This tax will worsen the anomalies of the current alcohol taxation system. DSICA looks to the Henry Review to overhaul the current system and a rational approach to alcohol taxation be introduced,” he said.

“Only when this failed social experiment has been abandoned can all sides of politics come together with health groups and the alcohol industry to develop a meaningful and comprehensive strategy to address alcohol misuse in the community.”

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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