By Janine Perrett

Those of us who watched the debacle of the Henry Report into tax reform in 2010 cannot help but think there is some karma for a Coalition that helped kill off that effort.

Fast-forward five and a half years.

So the GST debate is now over is it? 

Not likely. 

We were told we were having a conversation about the possibility of raising it and now the whole idea is dead. And, you would think by the hysterical reaction, the hope of any tax reform at all. 

Or is it?

Just because the Prime Minister appears to have ruled out the prospect of raising the tax by 50% the general consensus is that the whole idea of tax reform has been killed.

It hasn't. 

Let's just take a deep breath and be sensible for a moment.

Those involved in the debate, like myself, had heartily criticised the Abbott/Turnbull government for talking about major tax reform and then ruling out key ingredients before they even started.

Like any changes to the GST.

So when PM Turnbull arrived and put everything back on the table that seemed to be the correct move.

However my problem was that it went too far in the other direction. 

Treasurer Scott Morrison then became a crusader for a rise in the overall GST at the expense of everything else.

I have been critical of him for sounding like the Minister for a GST rise rather than a Treasurer discussing the broader issues.

During the whole financial crisis of this year, he seemed more obsessed with being a macho man scoring a political win on the GST then winning consensus on an entire package.

Paul Keating was right - this was lazy tax reform.

Scott Morrison is wrong. Only trying to ram through a GST rise is not tough. Tough is working out tax reform in other difficult packages and working that through and then selling that when there will be opposition from many different forces.

There are still plenty of other areas that need reform in our tax system; still plenty of areas where they can increase revenue from superannuation to negative gearing or capital gains tax.

Sure it might not raise as much money as the GST but it will be a good start.

Sure it will upset the business lobby but Malcom Turnbull was correct that we have to be convinced about the economic benefits of a GST rise. 

Given recent evidence that business leaders are more obsessed with their share price and bottom line and focused on cutting costs and slashing staff, I am not convinced they would have passed on any corporate tax cut to the broader community.

The Government certainly mishandled this debate. They should have put the GST rise forward as part of the overall tax package as promised.

White papers, green papers - it all got very messy.

Just bring forward a coherent package with all the alternatives, as promised, and then argue for what can be achieved.

Or better still, as I have argued since 2010, they already have a blue-print in the Henry Report, that much maligned and carefully researched proposal put forward five years ago.

Oh that's right. That was the one that had over 100 recommendations ignored in the hysteria generated by the Coalition over one mining tax proposal.

Now they are getting a taste of their own medicine.

This has to stop somewhere.