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Tuesday, 9 May 2017
Page: 5

Mr McCORMACK (RiverinaMinister for Small Business) (12:14): I rise again to speak on these amendments to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan) Bill 2017. The shadow Treasurer talked about 'Choice Day'. Indeed, it is Choice Day. Labor can come in here and they can vote for the Ten Year Enterprise Tax Plan. They can vote for lowering the company tax rate. They can vote for a redefinition of what a small business actually is. They can vote for jobs for Australians. They can vote for more hope and for more prosperity for Australians. Or they can continue to be obstructionist. They can continue to be negative. They can continue to run small businesses down. As I said before, in my summing up, when I go around I do not just sit in darkened little rooms, like the member for Fenner, and write stupid little press releases and not always get them quite right. What I do—

The SPEAKER: The minister will not use unparliamentary language.

Mr McCORMACK: Well, they are not very well written press releases, Mr Speaker, with all due respect. What I do is to get out and about—out and about, right throughout the electorates of Australia. In fact, I visited 24 electorates in recent weeks—24 electorates! I heard how companies and how small businesses want some relief. They want the 27½ per cent; indeed, they want the instant asset write-off. And that is something that the member for McMahon also once aspired to. In Hearts & Minds in 2013, in a chapter on promoting growth through cutting company tax, he said:

… Keating knew that the corporate tax rate needed to be cut to make Australia competitive, that capital and investment would flow to tax-competitive nations and that this was an important job-creation move. Today capital is even more mobile than it was then and it is important that our corporate tax rate is competitive.

Well written! The member for Fenner ought to take some lessons in how to write from the member for McMahon. He continued:

And the United Kingdom, facing a much tougher fiscal situation than Australia's—

bear in mind that this was 2013—

cut its company tax rate to 23 per cent in April 2013, to be reduced further to 21 per cent in April 2014.

And he also wrote:

At 30 per cent, our company tax rate is now above the OECD average … it is how the rate compares to that of our competitors that counts.

That counts—indeed, so true! And here is the pivotal moment. We talk about epiphanies and here it is—this is the member for McMahon, writing in Hearts & Minds in 2013. Are we all listening? This is good—you need to listen up to this! He said:

… it's a Labor thing to have the ambition of reducing company tax, because it promotes investment, creates jobs and drives growth.

Why, then, does the member for McMahon come to the dispatch box and talk about running businesses into the ground?

I put this: he just said to the House: 'Here is the challenge, here is the opportunity. Here is the choice. It's "Choice Day".' Back small business or go to the next election and say that you are going to increase tax. What is it? Will Labor repeal this when in government? Will Labor, if they ever get back into the government—and God help us, if Labor ever do get hold of the Treasury benches again—overturn reducing the company tax rate to 27½ per cent for businesses with up to $10 million in turnover? Will they overturn the decision to back small business, to make small business able to have a go, to make small businesses able to be their best selves, to make small businesses able to create jobs and to make small businesses of up to $50 million turnover able to reduce their company tax rate to 25 per cent?

Or will Labor, indeed, overturn that and go back to 30 per cent? What is it? What is it going to be? I invite the shadow Treasurer to come back to the dispatch box and indeed tell us what it is going to be. He is right: it is Choice Day. It is a big choice day. We have a choice to back small business to be able to create more jobs and more opportunities, thereby getting more Australians to work, or for Labor to oppose this by coming to the dispatch box and saying that after the next election they will increase small business company tax rates. There is the clear decision. The member for McMahon said, 'We will fight you all the way to the election.'

Well, we will! Indeed, we will fight you all the way to the next election, because we stand up for small business. We stand up for lowering the company tax rate and we stand up for more small businesses being able to take advantage of the instant asset write-off, to be able to invest in their capital equipment and in their businesses, and to be able to employ more Australians.

I would have thought that Labor, once the party for the worker, would also have stood up for the same things. (Time expired)