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Tuesday, 9 May 2017
Page: 9


Mr McCORMACK (RiverinaMinister for Small Business) (12:34): The member for Rankin was in the member for Lilley's office when the member for Lilley was the Treasurer. The member for Lilley stood at this very spot—he did not do a great job—and said during a budget night speech:

The four years of surpluses I announce tonight—

I mean, what an absolute joke! The member for Rankin probably had a hand in writing that speech—absolutely ridiculous. There is not as big a deficit, Member for Rankin, as the member for Lilley produced with you in his office writing his speeches and providing advice. I mean, really! Come on! Be a little bit fair dinkum.

I would like to quote now from the member for Fenner, because he has made some interesting remarks. I read his contributions very carefully, as do the readers of the Fairfax papers. He said in a speech delivered at the corporate tax and transfer pricing summit, reported on 18 November 2015:

… Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen—

Dr Leigh interjecting

Mr McCORMACK: Please be quiet, Member for Fenner, so you can listen to what you wrote, because you might need to take this in:

… Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen have outlined Labor's long-term objective to lower Australia's small business tax rate to 25 per cent.

There you go—25 per cent. That is what we are trying to do, Member for Fenner. He continued:

We know this can't be done tomorrow with the deficit as it is … we've called on the Government to work with us on achieving that objective in the years ahead because we understand the corporate tax rate is part of the calculus that affects investment.

Then he was on Sky News, on AM Agenda on 21 March 2016.

Dr Chalmers interjecting

Mr McCORMACK: Yes, he went on Sky, Member for Rankin. Kieran Gilbert was interviewing him—a good bloke, Kieran Gilbert. He quizzed the shadow Assistant Treasurer and said:

… if you look at the current situation in terms of the corporate sector, you've got 28.5 per cent for small business and 30 per cent for big business. It makes sense to get them on the same level doesn't it?

The member for Fenner answered:

Long term that would certainly make sense.

Well, this is long term, Member for Fenner. This is a 10-year enterprise tax plan. But in the short term we need to get the company tax rate down to 27½ per cent. We need to make sure that more small businesses are eligible, and that is why we are lifting the threshold of turnover from $2 million per year to $10 million per year. Labor does not always understand that just turning over, say, $5½ million does not mean you are taking that home. In many cases, some of the small business people opening their doors very early of a morning, closing them very late at night, going home, doing all the domestic things that small business owners and operators do and then getting stuck into the paperwork—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr McCORMACK: They laugh over there, but they do not understand that small businesses might have high turnover but low profit margins. Indeed, some of these owner-operators are taking home less than the people they employ. How is that fair?

What we want to do on this side is give them a bit more money so that they can reinvest in their business if they so choose. Many of those small businesses do choose to reinvest in their business, and by doing so they employ more Australians, and that is a good thing. They employ more Australians. I would have thought that Labor—once spelt with a u and once a party that supported—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr McCORMACK: I think it might have been, so you might just check your facts on that. Anyway, we will ask the member for Fenner to do an op-ed on that, perhaps—but either/either. Labor, with a 'u' or without—it matters not—talked about workers. It was supposed to be the party for workers. By opposing this very good legislation, this very good bill before the House today, Labor is showing that it does not stick up for workers. Labor is showing that it does not want small businesses to get some relief, ease some of the burden and be able to put on more Australians—to hire that young apprentice, put on that older Australian and give somebody a go, perhaps in their first start or perhaps to give somebody who has been long-term unemployed a crack at a job, because the best way out of welfare is by having a job. I would have thought that for this country's small businesses—the millions of small businesses across this country who employ 5½ million Australians—those opposite would have wanted to ease the burden, ease that pressure and enable those small businesses to employ even more Australians. We need those small businesses to be humming along nicely. We need them to be able to create more jobs for more Australians.