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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1337

Capital Gains Tax

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:01): My question is to the Prime Minister. In question time on 22 February last year, the Prime Minister ruled out increasing capital gains tax saying, 'Increasing capital gains tax is no part of our thinking whatsoever.' Given that Mr Phillip Coorey in the Financial Review reports today that the government is planning to increase capital gains tax on property, can the Prime Minister confirm once and for all: is the government going to make changes to capital gains tax?

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:01): The only party that is committed to increasing capital gains tax is the one opposite. Their recklessness with tax policy, increasingly higher taxes, higher deficit and higher debt—they approach it with the same recklessness that they have energy policy, mindless of the damage that they do to Australian families and to Australian businesses right across the nation.

Ms Plibersek interjecting

Mr TURNBULL: The honourable member calls out for a bit more clarity. Well, it would be nice to see that from the members of the opposition—one bumbling interview after another. Despite the indefatigable and courageous members of the press gallery forging on, trying to get an answer—they tried four times with the Leader of the Opposition but could not get an answer on the ABC about the cost of the Renewable Energy Target. They could not get one from the member—

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume his seat. Just before I call the Leader of the Opposition, I caution members about interjecting. I have said what I said earlier in the week; they all remember it. The member for Sydney has been warned every day this week and this morning at about 9:31 am, so don't be surprised: if you interject again, you will be out of the chamber. It is a promise. The Leader of the Opposition on a point of order.

Mr Shorten: Just a point of order on relevance: yes or no—are you going after capital gains tax changes? Yes or no?

Mr TURNBULL: Going after capital gains tax changes is the opposition; it is the Labor Party; it is the only major party in this chamber that has a set of economic policies, every one of which is guaranteed to undermine investment and undermine employment—every single one. Whether it comes to tax, whether it comes to energy, whether it comes to regulation—right across the board—they want to stop trade, stop investment and stop employment. And when they are asked about it, the incoherence is extraordinary—absolutely extraordinary!

Last night, David Speers, doing his best, asked about the Renewable Energy Target. He asked the shadow Treasurer about the Renewable Energy Target. Mr Speers said, 'What about the impact to the budget?' It is a fair question. And this was the answer from Chris Bowen, 'And … the … the … again … the electricity … ah … trading scheme post, you know … it … it … it… where some people, where some … um … it cancels each other out, so yes.' That was the answer.

In this age of cyberwarfare, has a malevolent hacker intercepted the honourable member's neural circuits and inserted a random word generator? What is going on? What does it mean? Is it in code? We have some of the finest cryptographers in the world—will they be able to crack it? The extraordinary thing is, he is often very coherent. As he said in his book, Hearts & Minds, 'It's a Labor thing to have the ambition of reducing company tax, because it promotes investment, creates jobs and drives growth.'