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Thursday, 28 June 2018
Page: 4340

Taxation


Senator SINGH (Tasmania) (14:00): My question is to the minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. Despite making a $794 million profit last year, Optus sacked 400 workers. When Optus has made a $794 million profit, does the Turnbull government really expect the 400 former Optus workers to believe they'd still have a job if the Turnbull government got its way and handed another $80 billion to big business?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:01): What I can say to the Australian people is that if we ensure that all businesses in Australia have access to a lower, globally more competitive business tax rate, there will be more job opportunities across Australia. When individual businesses have to restructure their business because of what is happening in the market, there'll be better opportunity for them to find another better job elsewhere. But, of course, if the Labor Party continue to stand in the way of a lower globally more competitive business tax rate, what they're doing is helping businesses overseas take investment and jobs away from Australia. That is the implication of the Shorten plan. The implication of the Shorten plan for higher taxes means less investment, lower growth, fewer jobs, higher unemployment and lower wages. I say to the people of Braddon, the people of Longman and the people of Mayo: if you don't want to see higher taxes on families, on business, on retirees, on investors, on home owners, on electricity, on everything that moves that Bill Shorten is pushing, send Bill Shorten and Labor a message by putting him last. That is the message that I would put to the Australian people in Longman, in Braddon and in Mayo.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Singh on a supplementary question.



Senator SINGH (Tasmania) (14:02): Despite making a $4 billion profit last year, Telstra has announced that it will cut 8,000 jobs. When Telstra has made a $4 billion profit, does the Turnbull government really expect the 8,000 Telstra workers to believe they'd still have a job if the Turnbull government got its way and handed another $80 billion to big business?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:03): What I want the Australian people to believe is that if there are lower, globally more competitive business taxes in Australia, all businesses in Australia will have a better opportunity to be viable, profitable and successful into the future, and more jobs will be created than there otherwise would be. Individual businesses, from time to time, in a competitive environment, domestically and internationally, will face challenges and will have to position themselves for their future viability and profitability. But if we make sure that every single business in Australia has the best possible opportunity to be successful, to be viable, to be competitive and to be profitable into the future, all Australians, right across Australia, will have the best possible opportunity to get a good job, a well-paid job, a better job, to build a career and to secure higher wages over time. That's what the Labor Party used to believe. The Labor Party actually used to argue this point. Mr Shorten used to argue this point. Mr Bowen used to argue this point. But the Labor Party has turned socialist and they have turned against the Australian people. (Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Senator Singh, a final supplementary question.



Senator SINGH (Tasmania) (14:04): Given that profitable companies are sacking workers and given that even business won't commit to creating jobs if they get the Turnbull government's corporate tax cut, isn't it clear that the Turnbull government will say and do anything to get their way and hand $80 billion to big business?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:04): What I would say again to the good people of Braddon, Longman and Mayo is that when we came into government in 2013 we inherited a weakening economy, rising unemployment and a rapidly deteriorating budget position. Since September 2013, as a result of our national economic plan for jobs and growth, more than a million new jobs have been created—more than 400,000 new jobs last year. We'll put our plan for the economy and jobs next to yours any day, because if Labor goes back to its bad old days of higher taxes on everything that moves—higher taxes on business, higher taxes on families, higher taxes on electricity, higher taxes on investment—it will hurt the economy, it will cost jobs and it will leave families around Australia worse off. Our plan is for lower taxes so that we can get more investment, stronger growth, more employment and higher wages on the back of stronger employment. That is what we are delivering. And you know what? The evidence is there that our plan is working. This is not the time to change direction. (Time expired)