By Ian Neubauer
The Senate is likely to overturn the Federal Government’s hugely unpopular RTD tax hike, with a key crossbench senator saying today he would not support the bill.
Family First leading Senator, Steve Fielding, has said he will vote against the bill following the release of new industry data showing the tax hike has increased the number of standard drinks sold by 10 per cent.
“This new data confirms Family First’s concerns that the introduction of a 70 per cent [RTD] tax would simply push people to buy the cheaper spirits, which have higher alcohol content, without actually tackling the issue of binge drinking. It’s crazy to think that we have turned Australia’s binge drinking problem into a tax problem,” he said.
“If the Rudd Government is serious about tackling binge drinking, it would stop hiding behind its billion dollar [RTD] tax grab and immediately support Family First’s plan for alcohol warning labels and a restriction on alcohol TV advertising till 9:00pm.”
Other Senate members who have expressed reservation about the tax hike — and its consequences and true purpose — include representatives of the Greens, Independent ‘anti-pokie’ Senator Nick Xenophon and the Federal Opposition, which has described the tax hike as a “tax binge”.
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