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Thursday, 24 May 2018
Page: 4598


Mr BOWEN (McMahon) (14:43): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to his previous answers. Is the Prime Minister aware that last night, at 7.18 pm, the House voted on an amendment which would have given 10 million Australians a tax cut of up to $928, nearly double the government's scheme? Is the Prime Minister further aware that he actually walked into the chamber and voted against that amendment?

Mr MORRISON (CookTreasurer) (14:44): We're as one, as always.

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer will resume his seat. The Manager of Opposition Business?

Mr Burke: On a point of order: the question goes to whether the Prime Minister was completely unaware, giving his previous answers—

An honourable member interjecting

The SPEAKER: Whoever's interjecting up there—the member for Wright, just button it for a second. I'm trying to listen.

Mr Burke: Unless the Treasurer has the authority to argue that he was equally unaware and didn't have a clue how he was voting either, only the Prime Minister can answer that question.

The SPEAKER: And, as the Manager of Opposition Business knows, the Practice is very clear: the Prime Minister can refer any question to any minister. The Treasurer has the call.

Mr MORRISON: I thank the Prime Minister for the opportunity to respond in relation to the events of last night and what was voted on in this House. What the Labor Party came in here and sought to do last night was to turn a $143.95 billion tax relief plan into a plan of $74.35 billion in tax relief. Labor came in here and tried to halve the tax relief that we were seeking to implement as a government to reward hardworking Australians to work even harder. When Labor failed to do that, they decided to support the government's plan. So, the Labor Party last night voted to cut in half the tax relief for working Australians that what was put forward in the budget—to take $143.9 billion down to $74.35 billion.

The Labor Party are so addicted to tax that they now have $290 billion in higher taxes—aspiration-sucking taxes, job-destroying taxes, economy-weakening taxes—and I'm not surprised that the shadow Treasurer, 'snowflake' over there, has walked away from his commitment, his solemn pledge, that taxes as a share of the economy should not rise above 23.7 per cent. He's walked away from that because he has no hope—not a snowflake's chance in hell for old snowflake over there—to be able to deliver on that pledge. We know at the last election he took taxes as a share of the economy, on their projections, to 25.7 per cent. Since then, he's only taxed higher.

You know what it says about a Treasurer who's not prepared to control taxes? It means they are not prepared to control spending. This shadow Treasurer does not have the stomach for control of spending—not the stomach to control the spending of all the big spenders that line that side of the opposition frontbench. He doesn't have the mettle to stand up to the Leader of the Opposition or the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. If he sat around the ERC table, he would be the biggest pushover to ever sit in that chair. And so his only answer is this: 'I can't stop my colleagues in the Labor Party spending, so I'll just have to help them raise taxes.'

The SPEAKER: I remind the Treasurer on referring to members by their correct titles. I wasn't sure who he was referring to, but he should refer to members by their correct titles and then he will be in order