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Abbott uses Davos speech to outline Australia’s G20 aims

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia, gave an address today at the 44th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, setting out Australia’s priorities for its G20 presidency.

After highlighting a specific focus on measures to boost global trade, Abbott moved onto taxation. He said the November G20 summit in Brisbane will be used to work on finding a consensus among members for the principles of taxation.

“Taxes need to be fair as well as low to preserve the legitimacy of free markets,” said Abbott.

He has said that being serious on job creation means “we have to boost the private sector”.

“That means getting taxes down, that means getting regulation down in our national economies and internationally it means freeing up trade, it means trying to have less leaky national tax systems...” he added.

However, despite this low-tax rhetoric, Wayne Swan, Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister in the previous Labor government, told International Tax Review in an exclusive interview in 2012 that Abbott’s Liberal party was to blame for blocking a corporate tax cut that had been lobbied for by various business groups.

Swan said he supported a tax cut “if the business community can agree on a way to fund it from the business tax system”.

“Just to put this into context, we did propose a tax cut but incredibly it was blocked by the Liberal Party,” said Swan.

Abbott has also been vocal in stressing that international gatherings such as the WEF must be about implementing practical action, and not merely “talkfests”. If he sticks to that mantra, a corporate tax cut, among other measures, is surely on the cards for Australia in 2014.

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