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Thursday, 10 May 2018
Page: 2906

Budget


Senator MARSHALL (Victoria) (14:16): My question is to the Minister for Finance, Senator Cormann. In question time yesterday, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer both refused to tell the parliament the separate cost of each of the three steps of the Turnbull government's personal income tax plan. Will the minister now tell the Senate the separate cost of each step of the government's seven-year personal income tax plan?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:17): We have provided information to the parliament and to the Australian people in relation to the cost of our measure on the same basis that that sort of information has been provided by governments of both political persuasions over a very long time. Indeed, it is entirely consistent with the Charter of Budget Honesty. The cost over the forward estimates is $13.4 billion, and in an abundance of openness and transparency we've also let the Australian community know that the cost of our income tax relief package for hardworking Australians is $140 billion over the medium term.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Marshall, a supplementary question.



Senator MARSHALL (Victoria) (14:18): In question time yesterday the Treasurer twice refused to provide the parliament with the year-by-year cost of the government's personal income tax plan over its seven years. Will the minister now tell the Senate the year-by-year cost of the government's personal income tax scheme over those seven years?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:18): We've done better than that. Instead of providing the information over seven years, we've provided it over the medium term, which is budget year plus 10. Over the budget year plus 10 the cost is $140 billion. This is the latest shifty political strategy by the Labor leader, a Labor leader who wants to increase taxes on every Australian, a Labor leader who wants to increase taxes by more than $220 billion on electricity, driving up the cost of electricity; on small and family business; on investments; on income; on housing; on savings; and on retirees. There is nobody in the Australian community who would be safe from Labor's high-taxing agenda, which would hurt the economy, hurt families and cost jobs. This is all just a great Labor diversion. Labor yesterday was found out. Bill Shorten personally was found out yesterday. The people across Australia know they can't trust him. They know they can't trust a single word he's got to say tonight.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Marshall, a final supplementary question.



Senator MARSHALL (Victoria) (14:19): Why is the government refusing to tell the parliament and Australians how much its enterprise tax plan will cost, how much each element of its personal income tax plan will cost and how much it's personal income tax plan will cost each year? Does the Turnbull government think that the parliament and the Australian public don't deserve to know how much its policies will cost?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:19): Repeating the same wrong assertion doesn't make it true. We've provided the information about the cost of our measures in the usual way, consistent with the requirements of the Charter of Budget Honesty.

What the Australian people want to know is whether or not the Labor Party is going to stand in the way of income tax relief to reward and encourage hardworking Australian families. Is the Labor Party going to support our plan for lower taxes for hardworking Australians, or are you going to push higher taxes, again, on every Australian? That is what the Australian people want to know. They're not interested in your political games. We have a leader of the Labor Party who every Australian now knows cannot be trusted. He once gave a rolled gold guarantee to Kevin Rudd: I'm 100 per cent with you—

The PRESIDENT: Senator Collins on a point of order.

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Macdonald.

Senator Jacinta Collins: I am not touchy at all. Time and time again the minister is referring to either the opposition leader or the opposition. The truth of the matter is that these are simple questions in relation to your budget—answer them!

The PRESIDENT: Senator, on the point of order, the minister was being directly relevant.

Senator Jacinta Collins interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Let me finish before you interject on me, Senator Collins. The minister was being directly relevant. I accept that ministers occasionally stray in their answers for a sentence or two. Most ministers have done that, but the minister was at the commencement of the question—

Senator Jacinta Collins interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Can I please finish the ruling, and then make another point of order if you want. The minister was directly addressing the question—not in the term that all senators may like—at the commencement of his answer. He has 14 seconds to return to that.

Senator CORMANN: Mr Shorten once gave a rolled gold guarantee that he supported company tax cuts, 100—

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong on a point of order. We got to two seconds at that point. I can't rule on two seconds. Senator Wong, I can't rule on two seconds. I will be honest, I didn't even hear the words.

Senator Wong: The point of order is relevance. Mr President, you gave quite courteously an—

Government senators interjecting

Senator Wong: I'm being nice. This is nice Penny. It might be hard to recognise, I know—

Government senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: I will let the chamber come back to order. Order on my right. Senator Wong, on a point of order.

Senator Wong: Mr President, you gave a courteous indication requesting that the leader of the government return to the question, and the leader of the government commences his answer then with 'Mr Shorten'—really?

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong, I do need to hear completion of a sentence to be able to rule on relevance.

Senator CORMANN: In relation to a question on company tax cuts, Mr Shorten once gave a rolled gold guarantee that he supported company tax cuts, because they lead to more investment, more jobs and higher wages. The Australian people know they can't trust a single word he's got to say. This is all just part of the distraction.

Senator Wong: What are you so frightened of?

The PRESIDENT: Order, Senator Wong.