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Thursday, 28 June 2018
Page: 4366


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (15:30): I want to have a little game with Senator Pratt and Senator Keneally and ask them this question. It's like a game of 'Who am I?' or, perhaps, 'Who said this?' I will ask Senator Pratt who said this:

If you are against cutting company tax, you are against economic growth.

Who said that? Let me give you a three-part suggestion on who it might be. It could have been Malcolm Turnbull, it could have been Senator Mathias Cormann and it could have been Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard. There you are—that should make it easy for you to pick who said that. Actually, it's a trick question, because all three of them said that. Ms Gillard, in March 2012, said:

If you are against cutting company tax, you are against economic growth.

Let me give you more:

... reducing company tax ... promotes investment, creates jobs and drives growth.

Who said that? No answer? I can give you the answer to that one: that was the Labor shadow Treasurer, Mr Chris Bowen, who wrote a book about it. He said:

... reducing company tax ... promotes investment, creates jobs and drives growth.

Here we are. My friends opposite haven't done very well in answering those questions, so how about these:

... cutting the company tax rate increases domestic productivity and domestic investment.

…   …   …

More capital means higher productivity and economic growth and leads to more jobs and higher wages.

Who said that?

Senator McGrath interjecting

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Yes, you've got it right, Senator McGrath: it was none other than Mr Bill Shorten, in August 2011. So there we go. If Mr Shorten said, in August 2011, 'Cutting the company tax rate increases domestic productivity and domestic investment. More capital means higher productivity and economic growth and leads to more jobs and higher wages,' then I ask the next Labor speaker, whom I guess is Senator Keneally: what changed Mr Shorten's mind? What changed Ms Gillard's mind when she said, 'If you are against cutting company tax, you are against economic growth'? They're her words; they're not mine; they're not Senator McGrath's. They are the words of the Labor Prime Minister.

Mr Shorten—I've given away the answer before I've asked the question—said this:

Any student of Australian business and economic history since the mid-1980s, knows part of Australia's success was derived through the reduction in the company tax rate.

That's what Mr Shorten said; not me, not Senator McGrath. Not even Senator Cormann said that. That was Mr Bill Shorten, the Leader of the Labor Party, who is now saying, 'Corporate tax cuts are bad for Australia.' I'll even hang around for a little while to hear Senator Keneally explain to me why those three Labor luminaries—and there are many others as well—were so precise and clear and emphatic and dogmatic about the fact that cutting company tax increases productivity, improves wages, creates jobs and drives growth. They are very clear; there's no misunderstanding of those words. And I'll wait around for a minute or so of Senator Keneally's speech to let her tell me why those three Labor luminaries said that just a couple of years ago and suddenly now they are stating the exact opposite position. I'd be fascinated to hear the answer.