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Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Page: 3929


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (15:06): I move:

That the Senate take note of the answers given by the Minister for Finance (Senator Cormann) to questions without notice asked by Senators Keneally, Sterle and Collins today relating to corporate taxation.

The first thing I have to say, in taking note, is here we again have Senator Cormann with another triumph of ideology over the facts. Ideology is just being backed out nonstop, incessantly, by this senator in complete contradiction to the facts.

Senator Cormann denies the fact that Republican Senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio had rubbished the claims that corporate tax cuts would lead to an increase in wages. Senator Rubio referenced the experience in the United States, which recently also slashed corporate tax. He said:

In fact they bought back shares, a few gave out bonuses; there's no evidence whatsoever that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker.

That's the reality in the United States. That's also the reality in Canada, where the tax cuts did not result in more jobs, did not result in more investment. What it did result in was share buybacks, money going into the pockets of individuals and massive salary increases for the executives of the corporations in Canada and the US. That's exactly what happened.

What Senator Cormann needs to understand is that there is no invisible hand of the market out there. This nonsense that we hear all the time that the market will self-regulate, that the market will balance—what a load of rubbish! For the Leader of the Government in the Senate to stand here, after we've seen the global financial crisis, after we've seen the behaviour of corporations around the world, and defend that sort of behaviour and argue that that's the market at work is an absolute nonsense.

Senator Cormann just gets up and goes into top gear; he just talks and talks and talks. Unfortunately, not much of it makes much sense. It might make a bit of sense to the ideologues in the rabble of a government that sits across the other side of this chamber, but it doesn't make much sense to the pensioners across the country who have watched the attacks by this coalition on their pensions. It doesn't make much sense to the underprivileged and those that are in need of support in this country, who are being attacked by this rabble of a government. It doesn't make much sense to the workers out there that are being denied their capacity to negotiate with their employers for a wage increase.

For Senator Cormann to get up here and say: 'Well, you know, if we give more money to big business and if we hand $17 billion to the banks, everything's going to be okay. There'll be more jobs. There'll be more investment,' is absolute nonsense. That is not what's happened, and that's exactly why the Business Council of Australia refused to sign off on a commitment that they would create more jobs or that they would invest more. The Business Council know that that is not what happens. The Business Council know that, if you give these tax cuts to businesses in this country, the bulk of it will go back to individual shareholders and go back to the executives of the companies. It won't flow through to ordinary workers, who would end up going out and would need that money to spend. The money will go to the banks. The money will go to the big end of town. The money goes into banks. The money goes into family trust funds. The money goes into all of the areas that will not create more activity in the economy.

If you want to actually get the economy moving, you'll give more tax cuts to the low paid, you'll look after pensioners and you'll look after people that need the money, the people that will go out and spend that money to create jobs and create economic activity. This triumph of ideology by Senator Cormann over the facts defies reality; it defies what's happening out there. What happened in the global financial crisis? Workers lost their houses. Workers lost their jobs. That's the market at work. (Time expired)