Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 10 May 2018
Page: 2903

Budget


Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:05): My question is to the Minister for Finance, Senator Cormann. In question time yesterday, the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and this minister were all asked to provide the parliament with the revised total cost of corporate tax cuts over the 10 years from 1 July 2018, both legislated and proposed to be legislated by the Turnbull government. The Prime Minister and the Treasurer each refused to answer on three occasions and the Minister for Finance twice. So on eight occasions the government refused to tell the parliament what their corporate tax cut plan costs. So I ask again: what is the revised total cost of corporate tax cuts over the 10 years from 1 July 2018, both legislated and proposed to be legislated by the government?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:06): As Senator Wong well knows, I dealt with that question yesterday. Let me say to the Labor Party that, unlike the Labor Party, we don't have a policy to increase taxes on business. Why don't you cost your own policies? We're not going to do the work for you.

We know that the Labor Party are all about increasing taxes on business. We know that an increased tax on business is an increased tax on jobs. We know that they're quite happy to send investment and jobs overseas, because that is the way under the Bill Shorten Labor Party. That is not our way. We want Australians today, and into the future, to have the best possible opportunity to get ahead. We understand that the businesses that employ nine out of 10 working Australians need to have the best possible opportunity to be more successful and more profitable into the future. We understand that Labor's plan for higher taxes on business, putting businesses in Australia at a disadvantage compared to businesses in other parts of the world, would put Australian workers at a disadvantage compared to workers in other parts of the world. But we know that Labor are all in favour of helping workers in other parts of the world at the expense of Australian workers.

That is not the approach of the Liberal-National Party coalition. We are in favour of helping working families around Australia get ahead, and that is why policies to support businesses be more successful, so they can hire more Australians and pay them better wages over time, are reflected in our budget. They have been reflected in our budget for some time. I answered the question in the chamber yesterday: in the period 2016 to 2027-28, the cost of the unlegislated business tax cuts is $35.6 billion.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong, a supplementary question.



Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:08): Yesterday, the Prime Minister refused to say whether the total cost of his corporate tax cuts over the 10 years from 1 July 2018 is more or less than $100 billion. So I ask this minister: is the total cost of the government's corporate tax cuts over the 10 years from July 2018, both legislated and proposed to be legislated, more or less than $100 billion?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:08): Unlike the Labor Party, we don't have a policy to increase taxes on business. We don't have a policy to increase taxes on jobs. So we let the Labor Party do their own costings. What we do know is that, so far, the Labor Party want to increase the tax burden on the Australian—

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cormann, please resume your seat. Senator Wong on a point of order.

Senator Wong: The point of order is direct relevance. The finance minister didn't even try to go to the question at all, which was: 'Is it more or less than $100 billion?' He immediately went to the Labor Party. I know he might be obsessed with us. We are interested, as the parliament is, in the cost of the tax cuts. That was the question. Are they more or less than $100 billion?

The PRESIDENT: The minister has been speaking for 16 seconds. I note the minister has 44 seconds to continue to answer.

Senator CORMANN: As I indicated to the chamber yesterday, the cost of the remaining unlegislated business tax cuts is $35.6 billion in the period to 2027-28. What we do know is that Labor's tax hikes on small and family businesses, on investment, on electricity, on families and on retirees are, so far, more than $220 billion. What we do know is that Labor's tax hikes would hurt the economy, would hurt families and would cost jobs. That's what we know. Has Labor updated its costings in relation to its $220 billion in tax hikes? Is it now $300 billion? Is it $350 billion? How much money are you prepared to take out of the economy to hurt the economy, hurt families and put jobs at risk? (Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong, a final supplementary question.







Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:10): Does the minister recall that in 2016 and 2017 the government engaged in the same cover-up tactics, refusing to answer the same question, and was dragged kicking and screaming by the parliament and the Australian people to reveal the total cost of its tax cuts? I ask this minister: why is this government so determined to hide the cost of its corporate tax cut from the parliament and the Australian people?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:10): We know that Mr Shorten was severely embarrassed yesterday because people across Australia have seen that any rolled-gold guarantee from the Labor leader cannot be trusted. This is just part of the diversionary tactics of the Labor Party.

Senator Wong well knows that no government re-costs measures that have already been legislated. Senator Wong is asking me to provide updated costings for measures that have already been legislated by this parliament. That is not something that she ever did. That is not something that any government has ever done. She is asking me to do something that no government of any persuasion has ever done. Let me assure Senator Wong again that by 2026-27, when our business tax cuts would be in place in full, our surplus would be 1.2 per cent of the share of GDP. After having taken full account of all of the policy settings and all of the economic parameters, our budget would be in surplus by 1.2 per cent. (Time expired)