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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 725


Mr BUCHHOLZ (Wright) (14:18): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer update the House on how the government is working to reduce cost-of-living pressures for hardworking Australians; and is the Treasurer aware of any comments supporting an internationally competitive economy and tax system in order to protect the living standards of all Australians?

Mr MORRISON (CookTreasurer) (14:18): I thank the member for his question, and I particularly thank him for his key role in organising the A50 event in Sydney last Thursday and Friday, which brought $17 trillion of funds under management by those who came to Australia last week—so, well done. It is an excellent initiative. And the member would be aware of the remarks made by the Reserve Bank governor on Thursday night. Before I draw attention to those comments, I draw attention to the comments by the shadow Treasurer on 7 October 2009 in an interview he gave to Ross Greenwood. He said:

One of the weapons in the armoury of the Reserve Bank is the signal that they send—the signal that they send through those sorts of public speeches etcetera and that is often very significant. The Governor makes no apologies for using that and I think that's appropriate.

Now, the governor of the Reserve Bank had a message for the member opposite last Thursday night, when he said:

… we need to make sure that our tax system is internationally competitive. One example of this complication is in the area of corporate tax, where there is a form of international tax competition going on in an effort to attract foreign investment. Like other countries, we face the challenge of responding to this, while achieving a balance between recurrent spending and fiscal revenue.

This government is responding to that challenge. Those opposite are frustrating the government from responding to that challenge. Those opposite have run out of excuses as to why they refuse to support a policy in this place that they themselves advocated when they were in government. But they have another excuse. Their other excuse was that apparently we cannot afford it. But when the Leader of the Opposition said 'the benefits to investment and growth from lower company tax rates', when he made that speech, the deficit was $41.5 billion and rising. And none other than the shadow Treasurer said this:

… the United Kingdom, facing a much tougher fiscal situation than Australia's, cut its corporate tax rate to 23 per cent in April 2013, to be reduced further …

Now, today the shadow Treasurer says the Reserve Bank governor has got it all wrong because there is such a thing as dividend imputation. Well, it was not introduced yesterday, Shadow Treasurer! It has been around for a long time. When you were arguing for company tax cuts—and on this side of the House we know that that changes necessary for businesses to be able to remain competitive and to support the jobs of those who work for them. Those opposite are quite happy to loll around and corporate boardrooms when their government and talk up to the business community and say, 'We're all for changing corporate tax rates,' but when it does not suit them, like we know with this Leader of the Opposition and those who sits on the opposition front bench, they change their tune when the politics dictate. The only reason those who are opposed to the changes that are going to make Australian businesses competitive— (Time expired)