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Wednesday, 25 October 2017
Page: 11906


Mr MORRISON (CookTreasurer) (10:33): The amendment that is put forward by the opposition is not supported by the government. I'm a little puzzled as to why the shadow Treasurer hasn't come in to speak to his own amendments and has delegated this duty. If he really wants to own these, he should actually come in here and put his reasons for them rather than delegating it to the intern to go and put these issues forward in this place.

To deal with what has been put forward, the shadow assistant minister has just exposed the Labor Party on this issue. He says there's no funding gap on the NDIS—which is wrong, by the way; the budget papers clearly demonstrate a $55.7 billion funding hole. But the Labor Party have just said clearly here that there is no need to raise additional revenue to support the NDIS. So they are using people's disabilities as an excuse to raise levies on the Australian public. They have just admitted to this. I mean, if it weren't obscene enough that they couldn't live up to their own principles, as ordinary as they were, when they were in government, they now come in here and use people's disabilities to whack up levies on the Australian public. They don't believe it is necessary to raise additional revenue to support the NDIS.

So what is the purpose? He says it's to reduce the debt. He says it's to reduce the deficit. Under the Labor Party's election policies at the last election, the deficit was higher. Their position is to have a higher deficit. They're not reducing debt as a result of this; they're just spending even more money on things they don't have the courage to come in here and explain to the Australian people: why they want to increase the levy.

I'm going to be straight with the Australian people: we need to increase the Medicare levy by half a per cent to make sure that the National Disability Insurance Scheme is fully funded. Australians are fair-minded people. They understand that if you're unfortunate enough to have been born with a disability, that in this country you should be given every opportunity to realise your potential—just like any other Australian. I don't think there's an Australian in this country who doesn't think that's a fair thing and who isn't prepared to put their bit in, to put their fair share in, to make sure that all can benefit, particularly when they themselves might be in a position where they have to draw on that. The lack of faith shown by the Labor Party in the Australian people and their sense of fairness on this issue is abysmal, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

We understand that Australians would be prepared to step up for people with disabilities. The Labor Party used to think that; they are just using people's disabilities as an excuse to raise levies.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Rob Mitchell ): A point of order?

Ms Catherine King: Imputation of members, Mr Deputy Speaker. That was an outrageous thing you just said: withdraw it!

Mr MORRISON: I won't withdraw it, Mr Deputy Speaker. I won't withdraw it, because it's a fact—

Ms Catherine King: Deputy Speaker—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: You have been asked to withdraw—

Mr MORRISON: I won't withdraw it, Mr Deputy Speaker!

Ms Catherine King: Then throw him out, Mr Deputy Speaker!

Mr MORRISON: I won't withdraw.

Ms Catherine King: You've been asked by the Speaker to withdraw—

Mr MORRISON: I haven't actually, you've asked me!

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I just said that I'll ask you to withdraw that. I don't think that's appropriate—

Mr MORRISON: Mr Deputy Speaker, I withdraw. Let me rephrase: the Labor Party has said clearly that this levy does not need to be raised to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme. That's what the shadow assistant minister at the table has said. What is then the purpose of raising this levy? It has been done under the guise—the truth on the government's part—to pay for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Those opposite do not support that purpose for this levy, but they want to increase the levy anyway. They're doing it in a bill that is designed to help people with disabilities, but they have no intention to use the money to help people with disabilities. So the glass jaw of the opposition on this has just been demonstrated and they have been called out.

But on top of that, it's bad tax policy. The effective marginal rate of tax that applies to how they propose to deliver this in their amendment would mean that in the absence of phasing arrangements a taxpayer might incur an additional tax liability of $435.39 on the first $1 earned above $87,000. That is an effective marginal tax rate of 43,539 per cent. It's a daft idea in the practice of policy, and it's a heartless idea in the absence of morality on the part of the Labor Party.

The SPEAKER: The question is that the amendments be agreed to.