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Thursday, 14 February 2013
Page: 1452

Minerals Resource Rent Tax

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:01): My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind the Prime Minister of her statement one day after she personally renegotiated a heads of agreement with the big three miners, and I quote:

… I've obviously stamped my authority on these negotiations …

Given that the tax has collected just 10 per cent of the revenue forecast, is the Prime Minister still satisfied with the outcome she negotiated?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:01): I refer to my answers earlier this week on this question. I do believe that Australians are entitled to a share of the mineral wealth within their grounds. I do believe that businesses, at the peak of the profitability cycle, should pay a tax: the minerals resource rent tax. I worked hard with Australia's biggest miners to make sure that we had an agreement and got this done. It is, unashamedly, a profits based tax. We have seen volatility in commodity prices, we have seen a strong Australian dollar, and that has had implications for revenues. But, as the Treasurer has said to this House repeatedly across this week, when you design an arrangement like the minerals resource rent tax you are designing a revenue stream that matters to the nation not just now but into the future. It will matter to the nation's children and grandchildren.

I have to say that I am a little bit surprised that the Leader of the Opposition would today, of all days, decide to ask a question on tax, because the Leader of the Opposition has been out doing media interviews today, and it is no surprise that they have retired him from breakfast television because he just cannot hold up under questioning. The Leader of the Opposition has said today that the right amount of company tax is the current rate. What that means is one of three things: he has walked away from his paid parental scheme—

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, on a point of order: the Prime Minister was asked whether she was satisfied with the outcome she negotiated on the mining tax. She is not even attempting to answer that part of the question. She is just ranting against the Leader of the Opposition.

The SPEAKER: Up until that point, the member for Sturt's point of order was valid. I was actually going to call the Prime Minister back to the question. But the continual abuse of points of order is wearing thin. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: My point to the parliament is this: we are very happy to debate, in this parliament and beyond, economic matters and taxation matters based on the facts and based on a real understanding of the future. What is apparent from the Leader of the Opposition's media interviews today is that he cannot hold up in a discussion on tax policy, not even his own, for five minutes. He does not even know his own tax policy. He has made a major gaffe today. He needs to be explaining to the Australian people how, if the current amount of company tax is right, is he going to fund his paid parental leave scheme? Has he cancelled his paid parental leave scheme? Or is he out looking for another $2.7 billion worth of cuts?