The Henry Review is nearly two years in the making. In that time, Treasury Secretary Ken Henry and his panel have reconsidered every tax and every line of Australia’s two income tax acts, adding up to almost 6000 pages.

All of that analysis has now been boiled down into 1000 pages, and, according to the AFR‘s John Kehoe, Henry recently likened his reform proposal privately as like “five GSTs”.

No wonder then that Treasurer Wayne Swan has had the tome in his hands since December, presumably attempting to craft the most politically pain-free response possible.

The Review’s ambitious terms of reference state:

“The comprehensive review of Australia’s tax system will examine and make recommendations to create a tax structure that will position Australia to deal with the demographic, social, economic and environmental challenges of the 21st century and enhance Australia’s economic and social outcomes.”

In our Wednesday editorial, we suggested that Rudd, after dumping the CPRS, was not a Prime Minister who looked set to go for serious reform:

…the sort of courage and risk-taking that drove the Government’s response to the GFC back in 2008 is needed, and needed on a regular basis.

In today’s special Sunday edition of Crikey, our Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane, Business Spectator‘s Alan Kohler and Smart Company’s Patrick Stafford drill down into the details to determine whether Swan and co have the stomach for the real root-and-branch reform they initially requested back in those heady days of early power, before election year politics took hold.

And if the glitz and glamour of tax reform isn’t enough for you on a Sunday evening, check back to our Logies live blog on the Crikey website this evening as the Crikey team brings you up to the minute cutting edge commentary, live from 7.30 pm…

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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