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Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Page: 921

Minerals Resource Rent Tax

Mr PYNE (SturtManager of Opposition Business) (14:39): I remind the Prime Minister that earlier in question time she stated that she was quoting from Don Argus when asked about his statement that the treatment of royalties under the mining tax is unsustainable and undesirable. Will the Prime Minister correct the record given that Don Argus has never made that statement? If she cannot even get basic facts right like these, why should Australians have any confidence in her capacity to manage a $1 trillion economy?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:40): Thank you very much. To assist the shadow minister, I should have said that I was quoting from the GST distribution review report. Let us go through the chronology so that it is very clear to everybody where this information is available. On 2 May 2010, the Henry review recommended a resource rent tax and the resource superprofits tax was announced. On 2 July 2010, I, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Resources and Energy entered a heads of agreement with some of Australia's biggest miners about a profits based tax. Then a policy transition group was led by Mr Don Argus—well-known in the resources sector—and Minister Ferguson. That was announced on 2 July. The membership and the terms of reference were announced on 3 August. It did its work and the report was received on 22 December 2010. On 24 March 2011, the government announced it would accept all 98 recommendations of the group. The government then formed the resource tax implementation group to work on legislative drafting. Then of course we in this parliament dealt with the legislation. The legislation was passed on 19 March 2012 and assented to on 29 March 2012. Issues involving state royalties were referred to the GST distribution group and its report was released on 30 November 2012. So it was available to anyone who wanted to study the issue and be fully apprised of the issues from 30 November 2012. So all of that work has been done, all of that work is available and all of that work is capable of being absorbed by anybody who wants to sit at a desk, read documents, think deeply and consider the nation's future.

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, I appreciate the Prime Minister's response but, given Don Argus has such strongly held views in the opposite direction, will she apologise to him for verballing him at the beginning of question time?

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: I am answering the shadow minister's original question, the one he asked. So all of that material has been available on the public record for people who are interested in public policy, the functioning of the economy, jobs and growth. That means, by definition of course, it has not been studied by the opposition, and that has been transparent today.

What I would say to the opposition is that behind this little game they are playing today actually lie some very important questions for the Australian economy. Do you believe that Australians are entitled to the benefits of the mineral wealth in their grounds—yes or no? We say yes; you say no. If you do believe that, do you believe taxes should be efficient and profits based? We say yes; you say no. Do you believe it is appropriate for state governments to keep jacking up inefficient taxes on the minerals industry? We say no; you say yes to inefficient Liberal taxes. That is the nature of the political debate. Jobs and growth on this side; inability to deal with economic— (Time expired)