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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1633


Dr LEIGH (Fraser) (14:39): My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, reports today confirm that the Australian tax office will recover $1 billion in new tax revenue because of a program funded by the previous Labor government, but your government is cutting 4,700 staff from the tax office. Why is Labor the only party that is willing to give the tax office the resources it needs to tackle corporate tax dodgers?

Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (14:40): Seriously, the hide! The hide of these guys. Over 3,000 staff have gone from the Australian Taxation Office, and that was announced by Labor. That was announced by Labor. We have not had any additional cuts other than implementing what Labor announced before the last election.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr HOCKEY: How did that happen? Oh no!

A government member interjecting It was in a tutorial!

Mr HOCKEY: They have set you up, old son. They have set you up. They do not like your book. They do not like your support of government policy. They have set you up with that question, because this guy over here cut thousands of jobs out of the Australian Taxation Office. We simply implemented what you announced, and now he has set you up with that question. You had better fact check. Go to the internet—try Wikipedia; Google it.

I will tell you something. The fact is that we are the ones who are actually doing something about inappropriate activities by multinationals. We have taken a multipronged approach. Number one, Labor had 96 announced but unlegislated taxation measures. We cleaned them out, and where they could be implemented, we did implement them, particularly in relation to this thin-capitalisation rules. The Deputy Secretary of the Treasury said, before the Senate estimates, that the coalition government has implemented the policies; what the previous government proposed was un-implementable. It was un-implementable, with massive unintended consequences for Australian corporates that wanted to expand offshore. So, we are the ones that actually made the hard decisions and delivered the hard decisions in relation to the thin-capitalisation rules.

Labor announced that they were going to crack down on the 25 largest companies in Australia with a turnover in excess of $20 million that were taking advantage of the R&D process. They never legislated for this. We came into government and said that this was an appropriate thing to do. We introduced the legislation, and Labor voted against it. Labor voted against their own tax integrity measures. They have the hide to come in here and give us a lecture about tax integrity when they are voting in favour of larger businesses against small business; when they are in voting in favour of getting the rorters an even break, rather than supporting us in our campaign to make sure that multinationals that are not paying their fair share of tax are brought to account. Through the G10 attendance with this Prime Minister, through the OECD with our combined effort, through our own legislation, and through our policy announcements, we want to make sure everyone pays their fair share of tax. Sadly, the Labor Party does not.