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Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Page: 5535


Ms JULIE BISHOP (2:38 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the recent statement of the Canadian Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, who said of the supertax:

If it is what it appears to be, a significant tax increase, that’s another competitive advantage for Canada.

And I refer to the recent statement of the Chilean mining minister, Laurence Golborne, who said—and I quote from an article headed ‘Chile mining to benefit from Australia tax changes’:

The situation in Australia is a tremendous opportunity for Chile …

When will the Prime Minister back down from his bad tax policy that will damage the competitive advantage Australia has had over its rivals in the resource export sector?


Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —I always welcome questions from the member for Curtin. It is of passing interest to everybody that any national government will spruik its national book at a particular time. Of course, what is interesting is how markets themselves behave. I would again draw the attention of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to what has happened in equity markets in recent times. First and foremost, can I advise the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, who cut a striking figure as a protester over there in Perth, I thought, chanting the revolutionary song, that revolutionary motto, ‘Billionaires united shall never be defeated’—protest by Prada, designer demos; it was good—


Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This is a serious point of order.

Government members interjecting—


Mr Pyne —The Prime Minister was asked a serious question. Rather than commenting on the dress sense of journalists and MPs, he should answer the question.


The SPEAKER —Order! The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. I will give him the call again when the House comes to order.


Mr Pyne —This is a serious point of order. He was asked a serious question. Rather than commenting on the dress sense of journalists and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, he should answer a serious question.


The SPEAKER —The member for Sturt will resume his seat. The Prime Minister has deflected. It was not his preamble. He will now return to the question. The Prime Minister is responding to the question.


Mr RUDD —Furthermore, I would say in response to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that she should pay some attention to the fact that Australian resources have fallen by about three per cent, which is less than all comparable resources indices in the world. The Canadian index has fallen by four percentage points, the Australian index by three. This is since the introduction of the RSPT announcement on 2 May.

Also, can I say to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition: I know that facts always create a problem when you are dealing with fear. Facts always get in the road of fear. Not only did Australian resource stocks fall by around three per cent; Australian major banks over that same period of time have fallen by nine per cent. So I would suggest that, when you have got a change in the index—


Ms Julie Bishop —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I asked the Prime Minister why he was handing a competitive advantage to Chile and Canada—


The SPEAKER —The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume her seat. The point of order is on relevance. The Prime Minister is relating and will relate his material to the question.


Mr RUDD —The Deputy Leader of the Opposition asked specifically about Canada and she also asked about Latin America. Can I draw her attention to the fact that Australian resource stocks have fallen by three per cent since the introduction of RSPT announcement; Canadian resource stocks have fallen by four per cent, where there has been no RSPT announcement. I would think that says something by way of a matter of fact. Furthermore, Australian resource stocks have fallen by three per cent in that period of time; general stocks have fallen by nine per cent in that period of time.


Mr Hockey —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It goes to relevance, about the comments of foreign governments saying—


The SPEAKER —The member for North Sydney will resume his seat. Again, his point of order is on relevance. The Prime Minister knows the requirement to relate his material to the question and he is doing so.


Mr RUDD —Can I also say that against the overall performance of, say, the Australian resource stocks against Canada, which is the point I have just referred to, I have here Brazilian resource stocks which are down nine per cent over the same period of time.


Mr Hockey —What about the Somali stock exchange?


The SPEAKER —Order! The member for North Sydney will cease interjecting, and I implore the Prime Minister to ignore the interjections.


Mr RUDD —I have not yet seen this morning’s report from the Somali stock exchange. Brazilian resource stocks, which are actually host to a company called Vale, in the period since the announcement of the government’s tax reform on the mining industry have collapsed nine points and the Australian resources are down three points. I simply go back to the core question of fact as opposed to fear. It would be very useful if the member for Curtin, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, actually engaged in a little bit of factual research rather than simply xeroxing the releases that have been produced by others. Again I go back to that great protest in Perth along the lines of: ‘What do we want? Tax cuts for billionaires. When do we want it? As soon as the MCA wants.’

Mr Speaker, you know something, we are actually on about the national interest here. We are on about tax reform for the nation. We are on about how you get better super for working families. We are on about how you bring about tax cuts for 2.4 million Australian businesses. We are on about how you give tax cuts to the corporate rate for 770,000 Australian businesses and we are on about how we deliver infrastructure for the good people of Western Australia, the good people of Queensland and the other resource producing regions of the country. That is what we are on about. Mr Speaker, can I say to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition: just pay a little bit of attention to the facts before you stand up at the dispatch box and seek to promote fear.