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Monday, 26 March 2018
Page: 2150

Senator GICHUHI (South Australia) (17:25): The current shadow Treasurer, when asked in 2015 whether he agreed with the statement that 'company tax falls hardeston the workers', said:

It's a statement of fact , which I agree with.

And I agree. These are lucid comments made in more simple -minded times. We cannot allow the politics of the day to intrude upon sound economic policies and practices. Let us all support policies that accord with what is best for all Australians and Australian businesses. We cannot afford to submit to a spirit of fear, to d ivision or to economic propaganda.

Contrary to popular opinion, the vast majority of business es in Australia pay their fair share of tax and do not engage in sophisticated tax avoidance strategies. The Australian Taxation Office has received over $ 600 b illion in company tax over the last decade. Roughly 20 per cent of all Commonwealth taxation revenue in 2017-18 is expected to come from company tax.

The problem we have as a nation is not too little tax received from companies but too much reliance on this taxation. Our companies are compliant and consistent in their contribution to this country, but we've become over - reliant upon this revenue , compared to other OECD nations. Australia's corporate tax revenue in 2015 was over 5.2 per cent of GDP, exceeding the OECD average of 2.9 per cent of GDP. Two decades ago, we ranked in the top five countries in the World Economic Forum's global competitiveness index. Thanks to our stagnant corporate tax rate, we have now fallen to No. 21. Our high rate has become the second - greatest factor in why international investors have been reluctant to do business with Australia. A modest , incremental, competitive and certainty-enhancing initiative is before us. I urge the Senate to pass this vital piece of legislation for the benefit of all Australian s and Australian businesses.

Debate adjourned.