Former Australian Liberal Party leader John Hewson said Australia had squandered the resources boom by not reforming the tax system.
He said both the ruling Labor Party and the opposition Liberal Party had failed to tackle major reforms ahead of elections due on September 7.
According to the latest Newspoll, published in The Australian newspaper, Liberal leader Tony Abbott is due to comfortably win the election and oust Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
"We have this pretty vacuous debate with very minor differences between the two sides. Basically, Rudd wanting to live down his past and Abbott wanting to not only draw your attention to it but also to suggest that there is a more stable, more reliable government alternative," Hewson told CNBC on Monday.
He said Australia needed to create a simplified, competitive tax system, but instead the tax system had become more complicated with "tinkering at the margins".