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Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Page: 3348


Mr PASIN (Barker) (14:28): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer update the House on the importance of developing policies that return the budget to balance and grow the economy? How is the government reducing the tax burden on hardworking Australians to improve their standards of living, secure their jobs and make it easier for them to find employment and save for their retirement?

Mr MORRISON (CookTreasurer) (14:29): I thank the member for Barker for his question. As he knows, in the budget, we announced tax cuts for wage-earners, and they have already passed this parliament. We announced tax cuts for small businesses, to extend the definition of a small business from $2 million to $10 million, which would benefit 2.2 million Australians working in 100,000 companies. That has been opposed by those opposite. In the budget, we announced new superannuation tax concessions for working Australians who earn up to 90 per cent of their income from non-wage sources like running a business. That is opposed by those opposite. In addition, we proposed in the budget new super concessions for women and carers returning to the workforce to be able to catch up on their superannuation with new concessions. That is opposed by those opposite.

Instead, those opposite have another proposal. They think all of that should not be happening—small business should be paying more tax, and those who are earning an income through a business should not get access to superannuation concessions. But, by alternative, they believe that foreign workers in this country should be given a tax cut—that is the proposal put by those opposite—which will cost the budget $500 million. Those opposite are proposing a tax cut for foreign workers while, at the same time, saying small business owners and people working for small businesses should be paying more tax.

Today, I read a transcript of someone who I thought would be supporting the coalition's position of ensuring that Australian jobs would come first. He said:

We've got a big issue when you have got people coming here on 457, 417 visas, these are visas—

this is the backpacker visa—

which give people from overseas temporary work rights in Australia yet we've got auto-electricians and mechanics and carpenters who can't get work in Australia. This government should be prioritising Australian jobs.

That is what the Leader of the Opposition said on 9 November, today. And what he is suggesting to help Australian workers is that we should be giving foreign workers a tax cut—and not just a tax cut, but a tax cut that is unfunded and which they want to hit Australian taxpayers for with a $500 million hit to the budget. They want to reduce the savings of Australians. They want to hold on to higher tax rates for small businesses, but they want to give foreign workers a big, fat tax cut. What a bunch of hypocrites! At the end of the day, we on this side will deliver real tax cuts for Australian workers. (Time expired)