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Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Page: 246

Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance) (12:46): Senator Carr is just throwing around red herrings. Senator Carr knows very well that it is absolutely a standard procedure, that it is absolutely the consistent application of relevant methodology, for consolidated groups to be the basis on which to claim the refundable tax offset.

Senator Kim Carr: Oh, so we are talking about consolidated groups?

Senator CORMANN: Of course we are. That is actually not a big revelation; that is actually what matters. It is absolutely consistent—it is absolutely standard procedure to assess these things at the level of consolidated groups. Otherwise, if you do not, you actually facilitate and encourage all sorts of manoeuvring to avoid relevant tax and other obligations, which I am sure Senator Carr would not want to be party to encouraging.

If Senator Carr does not like the methodology put forward by the Palmer United Party, which the government has agreed with, it is free to him to say that he would prefer to go down the path of the original Gillard-Swan Labor government measure. If Senator Carr is saying, 'Actually, I'm really worried about this alternative way of doing it,' the objective of which is to ensure that, whether you are a business operating out of Australia that generates most of its profits in Australia or whether you are a business operating in Australia which generates large parts of its profits in other parts of the world, you are going to be treated the same, that is the effect of using a cap instead of the assessable income methodology. If you say you prefer to go back to the assessable income methodology, tell us now and we will pass the legislation based on the way that Labor initiated it and banked it in their last budget.

But I suspect that that is actually just another red herring, because you have rolled your leader, Mr Shorten. You have rolled him, where Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan were strong enough to stand up to you in the national interest. You are just here, joined with Senator Milne, trying to keep up a special interest for rent seekers that are particularly profitable.

Senator Kim Carr: BHP are rent seekers, are they? BHP are now rent seekers?

The CHAIRMAN: Order!

Senator CORMANN: You are here protecting a special interest for companies generating more than $20 billion in assessable income. That is what you are doing, and you are doing it as part of your ongoing political battle inside the Labor Party against Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan—and everybody knows it.