Rob Oakeshott is quite correct in complaining we have a problem in our politics if we can't have a serious debate about the GST. Indeed, the letters "GST" appear to cause a profound terror in any party politician confronted by them.

The GST, the best economic reform of the Howard government after the independence of the Reserve Bank, was damaged right from the outset by the stupidity of the exemptions imposed by Meg Lees as part of the deal for her support -- a deal that, as if to demonstrate there is indeed some justice in politics, destroyed Lees's leadership, not to mention the rest of her party.