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Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Page: 4349


Ms MACKLIN (Jagajaga) (14:53): My question is to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister confirm that since coming to office he's proposed increasing the GST, proposed broadening the GST and proposed state-based income taxes, only to abandon all of these policies? Now that government members are pushing to dump the big business handout, will the Prime Minister once again be humiliated by his backbench, forcing him to dump yet another of his signature tax policies?

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:54): I thank the honourable member for Jagajaga, and I thank her for giving me the opportunity to talk about tax. Mr Speaker, we believe in lower tax. We believe that everyone should pay their tax. That's why we passed the multinational tax avoidance legislation. The honourable member's party voted against it. She may well reflect on that. They voted against legislation to ensure that multinationals couldn't avoid tax. As a result of that and other legislation, $7 billion of additional revenue has come into the Australian company tax net. So we're making sure tax is paid, but we want it to be lower because, as the member for Fenner observed, humans—and possibly other mammals, but at least humans; he can opine on humans!—are encouraged by lower tax. They do work more when there is lower tax.

And of course the Labor Party even has one endorsement after another for lower tax—particularly the member for McMahon, who wrote a book about it. The Leader of the Opposition was very eloquent standing right here some years ago and saying that lower company tax creates more investment, more jobs, better jobs and greater productivity. So we understand all of that, and that is why we're seeking to reduce tax wherever we can consistent with guaranteed essential services, whether they are health, schools, national security, infrastructure or ensuring that we bring the budget back into balance. We live within our means, which we are doing, bringing it back into balance a year earlier. So that is what we're doing on our tax commitments.

Labor, on the other hand, wants to whack the Australian public with over $200 billion of new tax and, most shamefully of all, a $5-billion-a-year tax grab on self-funded retirees, on older Australians who have chosen to put their savings that they put aside into a self-managed super fund or into an account of some kind, and they've got Australian blue-chip shares which pay franked dividends. And they have quite rightly been able to take those dividends in cash as a refund from the taxation department just like a wealthier person or a person with a big portfolio can use that franking credit to offset tax from other sources of income.

It's been fair. When it was introduced by Peter Costello, it was endorsed by Labor. And now the honourable member and her colleagues want to grab that money from Australia's most vulnerable citizens. (Time expired)

Mr Gosling interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Solomon is warned.