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Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Page: 6391


Mr WALLACE (Fisher) (15:54): Talk about leading with your chin! The shadow minister over there really has led with her chin on this MPI. The government's 'unfair cuts'—I suppose the opposition are talking about the tax cuts, are they? Is that what they're talking about, the tax cuts? I don't know. This government has overseen some of the most significant income tax reductions in Australian political history. Ninety-four per cent of Australian workers will be paying 32.5 cents in the dollar. Australians will be getting to keep more of their hard-earned money. This is what it's all about. This is what good government is all about. It's ensuring that Australians get to keep more of their hard-earned money and spend it the way they choose. They can spend it on their family, or if they have their own business they can reinvest it into the business. But those on that side of the House would have no idea what I'm talking about when I talk about reinvesting in their own businesses, because they're all union hacks. That is an absolute fact.

The tax cuts that we passed through the Senate just last week were absolutely the best tax reductions in Australian political history. We're trying to do the same thing with corporate tax. On this side of the House we believe that Australians should pay the least amount of tax that is necessary. Those on the other side believe that paying tax is a privilege. If that's a privilege—I guess it just goes to the mind set and to the difference between us and them.

Let's look at the Fair Work Commission. The Fair Work Commission is an independent body. Some of the members opposite are lawyers. Perhaps they may have been decent criminal lawyers in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions but they seem not to understand the concept that the Fair Work Commission has made this decision. They talk about the government making this decision in relation to Sunday penalty rates but they know—at least the lawyers over there should know—that it wasn't the government's decision. It was in fact the independent umpire' decision. It's worth restating the transcript of an interview with Neil Mitchell and the Leader of the Opposition in April 2016:

MITCHELL: … Will you accept their findings given this is an independent body assessing penalty rates for Sunday, if you're Prime Minister?

SHORTEN: Yes.

MITCHELL: You'll accept them?

SHORTEN: Yes.

MITCHELL: Even if they reduce Sunday Penalty rates?

SHORTEN: Well, I said I'd accept the independent tribunal …

Yet, here he is today, surrounded by his Labor colleagues, refusing to accept the decision of the independent umpire. You can't have it both ways. The Fair Work Commission is independent. The Fair Work Commission made a 500-page decision based on almost 6,000 submissions, 143 witnesses and 39 days of hearings. It is the Fair Work Commission that you established and stacked with your own commissioners. But, because they made a decision you're not happy with, you constantly say that this is not fair, that it is not right. It's your people who made that decision, so you don't have a leg to stand on when it comes to complaining about the Fair Work Commission. Before the penalty rate decision for permanent staff on Sundays, a bed and breakfast had to pay $10 an hour more than a five-star hotel. How can you call that fair? (Time expired)