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Monday, 19 March 2012
Page: 3213


Ms O'DWYER (Higgins) (11:05): For the very first time in this place, I actually rise to agree with the words of the federal Treasurer. He is 100 per cent right when he says:

… ultimately when it comes to our mining tax reforms, history will judge our actions.

It certainly will. But history can be a very harsh critic.

History will judge the mining tax, the carbon tax and the 20 new or increased taxes which have been brought about by this government. History will also judge the pink batts debacle, the waste and mismanagement of the school halls program, the green loans, cash for clunkers, the complete debacle with the live cattle trade, the set-top boxes, computers in schools, the dismantling of border protection—and the list goes on. History will in fact judge not only this Treasurer but this government. I do not have the same optimism as the Treasurer that the judgment will be in the government's favour, because the MRRT is yet another example of the shambolic way this government governs.

We should not forget that this is not the government's first version of the mining tax. Who could forget the RSPT? Depending on whose version of events you believe, the Treasurer or the former Prime Minister's, the resource super profits tax was introduced without proper consultation—a very common theme with this government—and with no chance for the industry to look at the impact it would have on industry and on investment, particularly infrastructure. It led of course to the deposing of Kevin Rudd as a one-term Prime Minister—something that is quite unheard of.

Let us make no bones about it: this legislation has been cooked up to try to quieten all the voices of discontent and all the alarm that was raised when the government said it was going to introduce this tax. In doing so, it is an admission that the original tax was inherently flawed and that the Treasurer was the architect of this flawed tax. This tax is no better.

The incompetence of this government knows no bounds. Let us understand the circumstances in which this government brought together this tax: the three biggest miners in a closed room, with no public servants, determined this new mining tax. In fact, there were reports that the mining tax was actually written on one of the miner's computers. It is no accident that there is going to be a market valuation method to determine how the tax should come about. This means that smaller miners are going to be disproportionately disadvantaged. They are going to bear the impact of this tax and it means that the investment and risk that they take, and the jobs investment as well, will be under significant threat.

The incompetence of this government knows no bounds. Only last week Bob Carr said, 'Look into our eyes, look into our eyes, there will be significant tax cuts' as a result of this great big new tax. They say, 'Look into our eyes, look into our eyes, there will be an increase in superannuation.' But at the same time that we are looking into their eyes, the Treasurer is reaching around into the back pocket of every Australian citizen and pinching their wallet. This government call this a tax reform, but it is like everything else: a great big new tax hike. Of course, this will be compounded by the carbon tax and the other 20 new or increased taxes that this government have brought about.

The government can only introduce supposed tax cuts by imposing great big new taxes first. We all know that the government are simply talk on this. The government have not delivered tax cuts. The only tax cut they have been able to deliver was the one introduced by the former government when Peter Costello was Treasurer. Since then, all they have been able to do is increase taxes. That is why we oppose this mining tax. (Time expired)