A senior federal opposition frontbencher says while the previous Labor government took its time considering the Henry tax review it didn’t sit on it during an election campaign.
Neither did that report contain 900 pages of “secret budget cuts”, unlike the federal government’s commission of audit, Opposition Senate Leader Penny Wong says.
“If there is nothing to hide, why won’t Mr Abbott release it?” Senator Wong told Sky News on Monday.
She said there were 2.5 million West Australians who might be interested in what sort of cuts might be proposed.
The opposition has tried to turn up the heat on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to release the audit’s interim report ahead of the West Australian Senate election re-run in April.
The government received the interim report in mid-February.
Mr Abbott was repeatedly quizzed on the report during question time on Monday but he maintained it would be released at the appropriate time, after it had been properly considered.
“The job of government is not to bombard people … with paper,” Mr Abbott said.
The previous Labor government held the Gonski report into school funding for two months and the Henry tax review for four months, he said.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten asked why Mr Abbott was defying a Senate order to release the report?
Mr Abbott said Labor, in the last parliament, had failed to comply with over 40 Senate orders.
“So if this a fault on our part, the fault on their part is 40 times greater,” Mr Abbott said.
Treasurer Joe Hockey said Labor could “cry all it wants” for the report but they should know the answers because they created the problems.
The audit’s final report is due at the end of March and its recommendations will be used in forming Mr Hockey’s first budget in May.