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Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Page: 7163


Mr BRENDAN O'CONNOR (GortonMinister for Housing, Minister for Homelessness and Minister for Small Business) (21:27): I have got about a minute and a half to answer a five minute question and I would like to say a couple of things. In relation to the carbon price reforms that this government is introducing, the one thing we will not do is apply the sorts of impositions that occurred under the Howard government when they introduced the GST which turned every small business in this country into an unpaid tax collector. We will not be doing that. There are no obligations to account for carbon omissions, there are no obligations to report for small businesses and indeed there are no direct taxes on small businesses, and we cannot say that for GST, can we? The facts are—

Mr Billson interjecting

Mr BRENDAN O'CONNOR: You've had your go, Bruce! Just calm down and let me just say a few words. In relation to all the other matters, it is one thing to promise something and it is another thing to do something. The difference between what the member advocates on behalf of small business is that he seems to have advocated it after they left government; that is the problem. See, you have got to do it, Bruce; you cannot just say it. We have actually enacted these policies because they help small business. And, arising of out the budget, as I was talking about, enhancing business confidence, can I say that two particular initiatives—the loss carry-back initiative, a great Labor reform, and the instant asset tax write off—were well received by the small business community because they will provide cash flow for that very important sector. Small business is the engine room of our economy; it employs almost five million Australians and I am very proud to be a cabinet minister for that portfolio and that constituency.

Mr Billson: And you'll take my question on notice?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The question is that the proposed expenditure be agreed to. Member for Cunningham, were you seeking the call?

Ms Bird: I was just wondering if we have time to do some more questions.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, and someone is seeking the call! I call the member for Werriwa.