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Monday, 22 September 2014
Page: 10077


Ms HALL (ShortlandOpposition Whip) (11:17): I have to say that the first thing that the member for Hughes has demonstrated is that he has absolutely no idea about aid at all, absolutely no idea about poverty and absolutely no idea about what is happening in developing countries. I have to say that the member for Hughes stands condemned for standing up in this chamber and showing such contempt for developing countries and showing a total lack of knowledge of anything to do with aid and development. I do not know how a member of parliament can actually get to this place with such limited knowledge as we have seen from the member for Hughes.

The member for Hughes talks about budgets and deficits. Everything that a government chooses to do is about priorities. The government that he is part of has a priority of introducing a Paid Parental Leave scheme whilst at the same time cutting money from a budget to provide assistance to developing countries. Talking about the free market being responsible for the improvement in developing countries once again shows he has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. Has he looked at what has happened when companies like Nestle market baby formulas in countries where there is extreme poverty? Has he looked at the exploitations that have taken place in relation to the free market? It has made it easier to exploit people in developing nations. It has made it easier to increase the level of poverty and it has done absolutely nothing whatsoever to improve the situation.

I really do not know what Putin's Russia and Vietnam have to do with this wonderful motion that the member for Newcastle has before us today, which is about the Millennium Development Goals and progress towards making poverty history. It is about improving public health in developing countries. It is a program that is about linking in to shine the light on tax dodging and corruption, using Australia's position as chair of the G20. It is also about taking this opportunity to get rid of the scourge of tax dodging. Christian Aid has highlighted this, and since 2008 developing countries have lost more than US$160 billion through two forms of multinational corporate tax dodging: price transferring and false invoicing.

I am surprised by the member for Hughes's contribution, but I do not think that there are many members in this House that actually do not want to see extreme poverty and hunger eradicated throughout the world. I think that most members of this parliament want to see the Millennium Development Goals reached. I see that this is a way that we as a country can use our role to actually show leadership and to bring about some changes. I really feel that it has been a missed opportunity.

Oxfam called on the G20 ministers to rein in multinational tax cuts. The world's finance ministers need to crack down on avoidance is what Oxfam says. Oxfam's Helen Szoke said that the international tax regime was 'broken' and needed fixing. Reports from the weekend's G20 actually show that we have failed. We have failed. We have not stepped up to the mark. We have made minimal changes. We have given lip-service to multinational tax evasion. We are actually leading to its entrenchment.

I have to finish by saying this government's contribution to multinational tax evasion has been to open loopholes. We closed them; this government is opening them. It stands condemned for that. We want to see poverty eliminated worldwide.