TREASURER Scott Morrison has invoked a Biblical reference to explain why the Turnbull government cannot go ahead with a GST increase.
Coming only a week after Mr Morrison said he had experience getting difficult reforms through parliament, he said on Monday that "sometimes you can't part the Red Sea".
Mr Morrison's change of heart in relation to the GST came after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Sunday rejected a rise in the GST in the wake of backbench unrest.
Mr Turnbull, under sustained Labor questioning on tax in parliament on Monday said the government was "carefully considering a whole range of proposals in relation to the tax system".
He said a GST increase reduced the "purchasing power of the average Australian". He said there was an argument that a "tax-mix switch" could provide an economic benefit.
"It is a question of balancing the increase of the GST on one hand and offsetting the income tax cut on the other," Mr Turnbull said.
The government, only five parliamentary sitting weeks out from the May Federal Budget, has not outlined any specific tax-reform proposals to put to the public ahead of this year's election.
Innovation Minister Christopher Pyne on Sky News on Monday said in relation to tax that "we are responding to events as they occur".
Mr Morrison said tax changes had to cut the overall tax burden, cut government spending and drive "jobs and growth".