In this week’s instalment of citizen journalism, leader of the Nationals in the Senate, Senator Barnaby Joyce, explains why his party will defy the Coalition and vote against the RTD tax hike when the measure is reintroduced into Parliament later this week.

"The National Party has made a commitment that they won’t support [the RTD tax hike].

Not supporting it means two things. It means you are either absenting yourself from the chamber when the vote is on, which happens when there is not a division, or if there is a division, there will be people crossing the floor.

[The RTD tax hike] has ramifications especially to workers in National Party electorates, such as Bundaberg, where they produce cans of Bundy and Coke. It is completely ridiculous that Bundy and Coke be associated with alcopos. When people think of alcopos, they thing of fizzy fruit drinks – alcoholic vodka and orange juice-type setups – that represent about 12 per cent of the total RTD market which are facing this tax.

The other thing [we are against] is the way it was presented – as a health measure. It was not a health measure, it was a revenue raiser. If the Government wants to bring it back and admit it has nothing to do with health but we need money to prop up the economy, then at least there would be some honesty in their motives.

But the money isn’t going back to health programs to reduce drinking, is it?  Perhaps a small portion of it is [but the bulk of] it is just going back to general revenue to prop the Government up.

So on that premise we gave our position in the past and on that premise we maintain our position. No National Party member voted for it in the lower house and I can’t see any National Party rep voting for in the upper house, either."

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The Shout Team

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

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