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Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Page: 254


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance) (13:21): It is interesting that Senator Milne is now interested in modelling the economic impact from changes in policy because there is a significant and demonstrable growth impact on the economy which is very good for all of the firms that the Senator Milne is concerned about from scrapping the carbon tax. Scrapping the carbon tax will help all of these firms be more profitable, create more jobs, employ more Australians and invest more in research and development.

You are trying to make it harder for businesses to be successful and then want to give them a subsidy from the taxpayer. You want to make it harder for businesses to be successful, grow their businesses, employ more people and help us grow the economy more strongly and then, after you have done that, after you have hindered businesses from growing more strongly, you want taxpayers, the mums and dads of Australia, the working families of Australia, to help fund a special 133 per cent tax deduction for businesses generating more than $20 billion in assessable income. That is what you are doing.

Senator Carr, in his lengthy contribution as part of the Labor-Green filibuster, tried to suggest that the reason they were opposing this is that it was all supposed to be about the jobs package; this was not supposed to help repair the budget. He has misled the Senate again. I am quoting here directly former Treasurer Mr Wayne Swan from a speech he gave to the Australian Business Economists Breakfast on 22 February 2013. The title of the speech, if you want to google it, Senator Carr, is 'Challenges and choices in a post-GFC world'. This is what he said, and I quote former Treasurer Mr Swan directly from when he was defending this measure which you are now opposing. Mr Shorten was too weak to force you to support it in the same way as Ms Gillard and Mr Rudd had forced you to support it. This is what Mr Swan said:

We said we would remove the R&D tax concession for large companies with a $20 billion Australian turnover or more, to ensure innovation spending is directed to where it will have the biggest benefit. This saving will also deliver benefits to the bottom line over and above funding the package - so it's a down payment on the repair that the budget needs.

So do not come in here with your confected outrage, attacking the coalition because we are doing the hard yards in progressing a budget measure which the Gillard Labor government, with Mr Swan as Treasurer, initiated, banked in their budget and failed to legislate. We understand what this is all about. You are running a factional war inside the Labor Party. You have told Mr Shorten that, unless he backs you on this, your personal vendetta, you would not be supporting him, and Mr Shorten rolled over. That is exactly what happened. In the past when I have said this, you had a big Cheshire-cat smile on your face because you felt quite proud of having been able to do that. Do you know what? That is the problem with the modern-day Labor Party under Mr Shorten. Mr Shorten does not have what it takes to put the national interest ahead of his political self-interests, trying to stay on top of the factional dynamics inside the Labor Party.

We cannot let the national interest get caught up in that. All we are doing is progressing a Labor Party budget measure, with a slight amendment in order to take into account some legitimate concerns that were raised, and facing up to the reality that Labor and the Greens are blocking everything and anything in the context of political self-interest.