The introduction of a broad-based consumption tax in the form of a value added tax (VAT) in the United Kingdom (UK) and goods and services tax (GST) in New Zealand and Australia was politically challenging at the time. This article provides the rationale for their introduction and the process of that introduction in different political contexts. It discusses whether there are lessons that can be drawn as to the political indicators that may need to be present for implementation of significant tax reform, with particular reference to GST reform in Australia.

When the history of this Parliament, this nation and this century is written, 30 June, 1999, will be recorded as a day of fundamental injustice - an injustice which is real, an injustice which is not simply conjured up by the fleeting rhetoric of politicians. It will be recorded as the day when the social compact that has governed this nation for the last 100 years was torn up.

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, then in opposition, on the introduction of the GST.