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Monday, 18 October 2010
Page: 435

Mr BILLSON (1:51 PM) —It has been for almost a year that the coalition has been calling on the Labor government to be clear about its intentions regarding more than two million independent contractors. These self-employed people have been beavering away, creating wealth and opportunity for our nation, while the Labor Party has been threatening a tax assault on these very hardworking Australians. Prior to the 2007 election the Labor Party came out and said, in clear, simple, plain language, there will be no change to the tax laws. Since that time we have heard some of the most weasel words that we have heard in this parliament as the government flips and flops around, while plotting an attack on these self-employed people, with meetings of those from its highest levels—ministers and the Prime Minister herself—with union representatives on how to assault the commercial affairs of these legitimate independent contractors while all along they have never been able to re-utter those simple words that there will be no change. Last Wednesday, in a very targeted, selective briefing, Bill Shorten, the Assistant Treasurer, said:

… “Let me be clear to AFR readers—we have no desire to change those laws, or make life difficult for self-employed working people.

Why did he simply say there will be no change? Why did he not simply make it absolutely clear there will be no transformation and no assault on these people? Are these slick-billy words or are these assurances we can take to the bank? People want to know. I call on the government to be simple, frank and straightforward and say there will be no change to these laws— (Time expired)