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Tuesday, 9 May 2017
Page: 7

Mr McCORMACK ( Riverina Minister for Small Business ) ( 12:24 ): The shadow Assistant Treasurer talks about that great movie Convoy—'So we crashed the gate doing ninety-eight. I says, "Let them truckers roll, 10-4."' That is what Labor did when they were in power. It was the debt truck out of control. How hypocritical of him to come in here and talk about a debt truck, let alone a convoy. Labor has not produced a surplus since 1989, so I would not be talking about debt trucks if I were you, shadow Assistant Treasurer. I would not be talking about—

Mr Albanese interjecting

Mr McCORMACK: Leave! Go and put another media release out about the member for Maribyrnong. It was a good one yesterday.

Labor's hypocrisy on the government's enterprise tax plan is a repudiation of decades of bipartisan support for small and medium sized businesses. On 3 June 2016, former Labor Party president Warren Mundine wrote in TheDaily Telegraph:

Past Labor leaders understood government can only create the conditions for jobs and enterprise to thrive. It's business that generates economic growth through investment and innovation. Federal Labor don't seem to get this.

They did not seem to get it when Warren Mundine wrote that in 2016. I would argue, as would those behind me, as would the small business community and as would many Labor leaders of the past, that it still rings true on this day—'choice day', as the shadow Treasurer said.

Many past Labor figures, figures in the Rudd government, commissioned Ken Henry to review the tax system. The final report, released in August 2008, recommended a tax burden on Australian business, focused on the need to support small business to grow the economy. Former Prime Minister Paul Keating, in a speech in Bankstown back in 1993—the member for Fenner likes to dig into history, so here is one for him—said:

We will need to grow companies committed to Australia, with workers committed to Australia.

Our success as a nation will depend upon our companies …

It was true then and it is true now.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, in question time on 13 March 2012, said:

People who care about small business would care about delivering a tax cut to small business. People who care about small business would be interested in delivering an instant asset write-off benefit for small business.

So why does the member for Fenner, why does the member for McMahon and why does the member for Maribyrnong want to oppose that now? Why would they want to oppose giving it to more small businesses than just those with under $2 million turnover? Why wouldn't they want to give it to businesses with a turnover of up to $10 million? Why wouldn't they want to lower the company corporate tax rate to 27½ per cent for businesses up with a turnover of up to $10 million? Why wouldn't they want to get on board with the Ten Year Enterprise Tax Plan, so that eventually businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million could take advantage of a company tax rate of 25 per cent?

Greg Combet, in question time on 14 February 2012, said:

That is why we are introducing important reforms that will boost productivity, lift workforce skills and improve the competitiveness of the economy. How are we doing it? Labor wants to help companies invest, and one of the important ways of doing that is to cut the company tax rate

That is what Greg Combet said. Wayne Swan is still in the building. He is still the member for Lilley. Back in March 2012 he was the Treasurer. He said:

That is why we are putting in place the big economic reforms to ensure prosperity for the future. That is why we on this side of the House want to cut company tax by one per cent

Mr Thistlethwaite interjecting

Mr McCORMACK: I have far more material. I have reams more material. I have gathered that material from real businesses and from real people running those real businesses in Queensland and in the ACT. It does not matter what state or what territory you go to, whether it is in Gippsland, whether it is in Melbourne—in your home town, Mr Speaker—or wherever it is, companies want the tax rate lowered. Companies want access to that instant asset write-off. Companies want this side of parliament to continue to back them, but they also want that side of parliament to back them. They cannot understand why that side of parliament just wants to be a roadblock in their pathway to success, in their pathway to prosperity, in their pathway to making sure that there are more Australians employed. That is what we want to do. We want to back a tax cut for small businesses. We know that small businesses always reinvest any money that they get, or almost always, into their business and into creating job opportunities for more Australians, sooner.