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Costly education policies create interest

John Howard has put $9.5 billion on the table, $800 a year for parents with school-aged children. Kevin Rudd was less thrifty with $2.4 billion, offering a means-tested $750 rebate that excluded school fees.

Howard denied that high spending would increase the pressure on rising inflation and interest rates, saying that as long as the budget surplus continued to hit one percent of gross domestic product it meant the Coalition had successfully managed the economy.
Rudd expressed concern over the inflationary effect of Coalition spending but, given his own policy, was not ideologically opposed to rebates for education.
The third party in this spending spree is the Australian Democrats as the voice of protest while the expenses rise. Democrats tax spokesman Senator Andrew Murray said that both schemes would be costly to implement and would not be of much value to the public. "They're symptomatic of politicians buying Australians’ votes using Australians’ own money," he warned, listing the costs of tax infrastructure. "It's the extra paperwork, it's the extra staff, it's the extra IT systems, it's all the administrative costs."
Murray noted that both parties should instead make an effort to simplify the tax system.

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