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Thursday, 3 June 2010
Page: 5290


Mrs BRONWYN BISHOP (12:23 PM) —In rising to speak to the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2010-2011 and related bills I do so in the heat of what is a full-on debate about a brand new tax, a supertax. It is well named because it is a tax on superprofits but it is also a tax on people’s super. As I have said before, for every dollar that goes into Mr Rudd’s pocket by way of taxation that is a dollar less for people’s superannuation. This impacts on the standard of living for Australians who are on fixed incomes provided by their savings in their superannuation.

Last night I attended, as many others did, the Mineral Council’s dinner. We heard many fine speakers point out just how bad the big new tax on so-called superprofits is for Australia. We are seeing advertisements that are being put out currently by the Labor Party in the guise of legitimate government advertising but which, in fact, are just plain old Labor Party advertising paid for by the taxpayer—$38 million worth. The main content of their advertising is to try and say that mining companies do not pay their fair share of tax. They conjured up this figure of somewhere between 13c and 17c in the dollar by finding some obscure report put together by a PhD student supervised by a professor, which was submitted to the Henry review as a footnote. They have seized on this report, which was a mixture of Australian and New Zealand figures and so unreliable that it was withdrawn from the draft upon which the government is basing its statements.

Yesterday in the parliament we quizzed the Treasurer continually about the pie chart that he has put out asking him whether it had any modelling significance, any real basis, or was it just dreamt up in his office. For question after question he obfuscated. He talked around the side of it, he would not answer the question and finally he did say it was made in his office. We should understand that the Treasurer has form. Back in 2000 he was exposed on The 7.30 Report by a journalist called Wayne Sanderson who brought to light the fact that the now Treasurer and then member for Lilley, who lost his seat in ‘96, had tried very hard to keep it by giving a brown paper envelope to Lee Birmingham which contained $1,400 in $50 notes. The envelope was then taken by the said Lee Birmingham to the Democrats campaign manager with whom Mr Birmingham said Mr Swan had spent some time only a day or two before. Lee Birmingham delivered the brown paper envelope containing $1,400 to the Democrats and the Democrats in return gave their preferences to Mr Swan.

This matter Mr Swan said was a terrible thing. He had not paid for those preferences at all—high dudgeon. It was referred to the Australian Federal Police. Mr Swan came out and said he had been cleared, but I think what was actually said by the spokesman for the Australian Federal Police was, ‘There is no further action in relation to Wayne Swan.’ The Federal Police spokesman said, ‘I can’t say there was no case to answer, but no further action will be taken.’

This is the same Wayne Swan who is telling us that the mining companies in fact do not pay their share of tax when the Taxation Office’s own figures show that they are paying in excess of 40c in the dollar. When you count up royalties paid and corporate tax paid, that is the amount that they are paying. Yet in these deceptive and lying ads there is no mention made of the corporate tax which those mining companies are paying. It is no wonder that they are in high dudgeon and angry about the way in which they are being derided and ridiculed as an industry when, in fact, they are—I like the words—the new sheep’s back on which we ride to prosperity.

We have seen the promise that the Prime Minister made when he was Leader of the Opposition that he would never allow an advertising campaign to be rolled out unless the Auditor-General gave it the tick-off. Never mind politicising the Auditor-General, he was going to be the stamp of approval for the integrity of the ads. So what are they like? They did not like the job the Auditor-General was doing, so they created a new committee headed up by Mr Alan Hawke who found that the Auditor-General was undermining the authority of the secretaries and that the Auditor-General should be sacked and guess what? Mr Hawke got the job. But that was too much for this Prime Minister—he sacked him too and used the let-out clause so that he could get the Cabinet Secretary to respond to the Treasurer and say, ‘It’s a national emergency, we’ve got to spend this money.’


The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr KJ Thomson)—Order! The time allotted for this debate has expired. The debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting. The member for Mackellar will have leave to continue speaking when the debate is resumed.