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Monday, 19 October 2015
Page: 11541

Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (13:26): I am pleased to speak on the Tax Laws Amendment (Combating Multinational Tax Avoidance) Bill 2015. I would like to start by picking up on a few comments by the member for Fraser, the shadow Assistant Treasurer, when he talked about what Labor believes is the importance of having private companies declare their taxation records and make them public. That simply shows why those who sit on the other side of this chamber are completely unfit for office. They do not understand business. They do not understand the risks that entrepreneurs take to create jobs and to spread wealth in this country.

Firstly, the other side propose a threshold of a $100 million turnover and that once you reach that turnover, even if you are a private company, you have to you make all your taxation records open to the public. Why a $100 million threshold? Why not $95 million, $90 million or $50 million? What guarantee can the Labor Party give that they would not lower that threshold and make all private companies disclose their records?

Think of a company that has a turnover of $90 million. What a disincentive it would be for that company to go out there and expand their sales, expand their market and create new jobs if they knew that once they hit that magic turnover mark of $100 million they would have to make all their taxation records public. It is correct that a public company makes its records public. That is because the public can invest, buy and trade in those shares. That is why the taxation information, sales and profitability of that company need to be public. That is why private companies remain private—so that there taxation records remain between themselves and the taxation department.

The other reason why such records need to be kept confidential is negotiations—something that people on the other side do not understand. If you are firm negotiating with a Coles or Woolworths, the aim of that negotiation for those big buyers is to try to screw as much rebate and margin as they can from you. If you are company that has had to make your profitability records public, that information will be known to the person you are negotiating with. It will put you at a tremendous competitive disadvantage in those negotiations. It would be the same circumstance if you were making an offer to buy a home and the seller of the home was able to get hold of your tax returns to know what your salary was the previous year.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Goodenough ): It being 1.30 pm the debate is interrupted in accordance with standing order 43. The debate may be resumed at a later hour.