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Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Page: 4441


Mr NEUMANN ( Blair ) ( 18:20 ): I am very happy to speak in relation to this particular piece of legislation, the Tax Laws Amendment (2011 Measures No. 3) Bill 2011. The Rudd government and now the Gillard government has been a government of significant reform. The shadow minister mentioned the technical aspects of this bill. I do not intend to go through those, but I want to say a couple of words in relation to the reforms we have undertaken with respect to tax.

Those opposite have criticised us for being a government of big tax. They have criticised us for being a government that imposes tax regulations. In fact, many of the regulations that we have deleted and many of the tax reforms we have undertaken have made a significant impact. We accept that those opposite, for example, made changes in income tax when they were in government. They reduced the level of income tax. So did we. We acknowledge that the whole thrust of reform to tax laws in this country has been to ease the burden on Australian taxpayers, streamline the systems, make technical changes and do it by way of schedule, as the shadow minister said today.

One of the things we have done in relation to this matter is simply to put a big focus on tax laws amendment in this budget. I have spoken many times, as the member for Casey correctly pointed out, on tax laws. In fact, I think at times he has made shorter speeches than I have and at other times I have made shorter speeches than he has. Often there are technical things. Sometimes they are particularly unsexy, particularly uninteresting, but they make an impact. They make an impact on people's lives, they make an impact on business and they make an impact on farms. Some of those things have been exempting Australian government disaster relief payments from income tax, for example. There are disaster income support things. You may ask, Madam Deputy Speaker, why we would do those sorts of things, In reality, making a difference through tax laws amendments to people who have been flood affected makes an impact.

These changes were outlined by the member for Casey and, as the member for Lilley, the Treasurer, said in his budget speech, they do make a difference to people's lives. This legislation, though technical, as the member for Casey said, really has an impact on our overall corporate system. It makes an impact by creating consistency and it makes an impact on the way we actually run our system. We need integrity in our system and we need operational effectiveness. I think both sides of politics accept that. If people have faith in the tax system, they are more likely to pay tax. They see the value of it in health, education and roads. So I am happy to support this legislation. I am pleased the opposition is in support of it and I commend the legislation to the House.

Debate adjourned.