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Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Page: 159

Fringe Benefits Tax

Mr WYATT (Hasluck) (15:05): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer inform the House how the government's pledge not to proceed with the previous government's fringe benefits tax changes will help many car dealerships in my electorate of Hasluck?

Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (15:05): What a good man the member for Hasluck is. Thank goodness he is back. Labor did everything they could to stop him, but he is an outstanding representative for the people of Hasluck and Western Australia. We are proud to have him as a member of our team.

The Labor Party, just before the election, announced a $1.8 billion tax on the car industry. In fact, they were so concerned about it that the member for McMahon had to ring from Moscow to ensure that the member for Griffith had not gone weak in committing to a $1.8 billion slug on the car industry. That was instructive enough, but this goes into the category of Labor taxes designated 'what were you thinking?'

The carbon tax is in that mix, and all six versions of the mining tax are in that mix. Every tax that Labor came up with was pretty much in that mix. But the fringe benefits tax changes to motor vehicles is in the category designated 'what were you thinking?' That tax alone was like a baseball bat to the back of the car industry in Australia at a time when it was vulnerable. It actually turned out that the people who were most significantly affected by the changes to the fringe benefits taxes on motor vehicles were people earning less than $70,000 a year. What has the Labor Party got against hardworking but low- and middle-income Australians? It always does that, whether it is in relation to self-education expenses or fringe benefits tax changes on motor vehicles. It actually hit the people who were driving Australian cars, such as Toyotas, Commodores, Fords and a range of other vehicles, and it was hitting those people earning less than $80,000 a year the hardest.

The member for Grayndler went out and said they were driving Maseratis. Well maybe in the inner west of Sydney they are driving Maseratis and earning $80,000 a year—and I had better call the tax man about that—but the fact is that it hurt the lowest income Australians. It hurt the charities. As the Prime Minister knows, when we met with the charities they were the ones who were being slugged the hardest. The Salvation Army, for example, confirmed it would have to raise an additional $4 million a year to comply with the Labor Party's announced changes in relation to fringe benefits tax for vehicles. Just think of those poor buggers out there, standing outside railway stations with cans, trying to raise money for the causes they know are important—and the Labor Party did not even think about that. The Salvos were going to be hit with an extra $4 million bill. That is the problem with this mob. They do not understand the implications of their decisions. It comes back to the fact that when it comes to tax, when it comes to the budget and when it comes to the economy you cannot trust Labor.

Mr Abbott: I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.