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Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Page: 4184


Mrs MOYLAN (2:20 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to Mr Jones, of Merriwa, who wrote to the Prime Minister on 10 May. In his letter he writes:

I am particularly concerned with the tax on super profits for the mining industry … it is not just money at stake, what about employment, housing, and small business viability, they are all at risk … it is bad policy … and one which I cannot support … I am not involved in any way to the mining industry. I am just a simple man who is trying to keep my head above water and looking forward to a happy retirement in 10 years.

Can the Prime Minister assure Mr Jones and the 778,000 self-funded retirees in Australia that the government has done an analysis on how the new mining tax will affect them? If so, will the government release it?


Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —I thank the member for Pearce for her question because it goes to superannuation earnings and it goes to the overall performance of an economy upon which those earnings are based. The letter that she referred to from her constituent went to a number of points, one of which was the impact on employment, another was the impact on small business and the third was in relation to superannuation. On the question of employment, to which she referred in her question, can I say to the member for Pearce that the impact on GDP which is projected as a result of the introduction of the government’s tax plan—


The SPEAKER —Order! The Prime Minister will resume his seat. The Manager of Opposition Business.


Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The question went to whether the government had done an analysis of the effect on self-funded retirees of their great big new tax on mining. It is not within the—


The SPEAKER —The member for Sturt will resume his seat. In response to the point of order raised by the member for Sturt, I refer him to the matters quoted by the member for Pearce from the letter of 10 May. They form part of the question. At the point at which the member for Sturt interrupted the Prime Minister for his point of order, the Prime Minister was responding to those matters that were quoted from the letter.


Mr RUDD —Firstly, on the question of the impact on employment, if the honourable member reads the documents released by the Treasury, she will see that the analysis contained within them projects an increase in employment as a result of the implementation of the government’s tax measures. The reason for that is that we are boosting the overall cost competitiveness of Australian business at large, and the employment consequences of that across the entire economy are significant, particularly when you look at the concentrations of employment which lie both within and beyond the mining sector. Secondly, she referred to the small business sector. I would have thought that, in terms of the impact of the government’s tax package, the cut to the company rate—30 per cent of small businesses are incorporated—and the impact—


Mr Hockey —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It goes to relevance. The question was very specific. Does the $9 billion come from profit or does it come from—


The SPEAKER —The member for North Sydney will resume his seat. I hope the member for North Sydney has got the supplement to the question off his chest and feels happy, but it is beyond the standing orders. On relevance, under any version of relevance that is being used: the question quoted a letter and in that letter there was an expression ‘What about certain matters?’—employment and small business were included—therefore the Prime Minister is responding to the question and he is in order. But I simply say to the member for North Sydney that the device of coming to the dispatch box on a point of order and using it to add to the question is not in order.


Mr RUDD —Firstly, the overall impact of the government’s tax reform plan is to increase employment across the Australian economy. Secondly, can I say to the honourable member on the point that she raised from her constituent on the matter of small business, small businesses will benefit first of all—the 30 per cent of them which are incorporated—from the overall two per cent reduction in the company rate and, secondly and most significantly, for all 2.4 million Australian businesses, the impact which arises from the $5,000 each year tax write-off which is possible against the assets which they invest in. Can I say therefore to the honourable member, on the question of the impact on small business, there are two specific measures contained in the government’s overall tax package which assist small business.

The honourable member then goes on to ask about superannuation earnings, in particular for self-funded retirees. All superannuants have an interest in the long-term performance of Australian equities markets and in the other investments which superannuation funds make. Can I draw the honourable member’s attention to what the Treasury’s analysis says about the future performance of the Australian mining sector as a consequence of the broadening of the base of the mining sector which is achieved by these reforms: a 4.5 per cent increase in mining activity and an increase in employment in the mining sector. Over time, you can see that therefore this is a sound set of reforms for the mining industry as it looks to the future.

Therefore, whether it is the economy at large or the mining sector in particular, the government stands by these reforms. They are good for the economy, they are good for growth, they are good for employment, they are good for business and therefore they are good for the long-term investments and therefore returns to Australian superannuants. I conclude by saying this for the millions upon millions of Australian workers who stand to benefit from having their superannuation guarantee level increase from nine per cent to 12 per cent: we stand on the side of better super for working families; the Leader of the Opposition stands on the side of ripping that super away from working families.