Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 3743

Taxation


Senator KITCHING (Victoria) (14:00): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. Can the minister confirm that, not satisfied with giving investment bankers a $7,000-a-year tax cut, the Turnbull government now wants to give the banks they work for a $17-billion tax cut?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:01): What we want to do is give Australians, today and into the future, the best possible opportunity to get ahead. On this side of the chamber, we understand that jobs don't grow on trees. We understand that jobs are created by viable, profitable businesses and if we make decisions in this parliament to put businesses in Australia at an ongoing, deliberate, structural competitive disadvantage compared to businesses in other parts of the world where business tax rates are much lower then we put workers here in Australia at a competitive disadvantage because, in the end, nine out of 10 working Australians work for private-sector businesses. Their future job opportunities, their future job security, their future career prospects, their future wage increases depend on the future viability and the future profitability of the businesses that employ them and pay their wages.

I know that Mr Shorten and the Labor Party, which used to support the proposition—

Senator O'Neill interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order, Senator O'Neill.

Senator CORMANN: that it's important for Australia to be globally competitive, have made a decision to sell out the interests of workers across Australia.

Senator O'Neill interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order, Senator O'Neill.

Senator CORMANN: The Labor Party has decided to help businesses around the world to take business and investment away from Australia. The Labor Party has made a decision to help businesses overseas lock in their competitive advantage as a result of the decisions in those countries to lower their business tax rates. Do you know what? We are a relatively small domestic market with a relatively small domestic capital market. We compete for capital and for access to markets around the world with businesses around the world. If we make it harder for business in Australia to be successful, we make it harder for Australians to be successful. If we make it harder for the businesses that employ millions and millions of Australian workers—

Senator O'Neill interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order, Senator O'Neill.

Senator CORMANN: to compete with businesses in other parts of the world, then we're making it harder for Australian workers to be successful. The truth is that having one of highest business tax rates in the world here in Australia will damage our economy, cost jobs and be bad for working families around Australia.

The PRESIDENT: Before I call you, Senator Kitching, I'm going to remind senators on both sides of the chamber that I'm going to be particularly insistent on being able to hear the questions asked so that I may rule on subsequent points of order if they are raised. Senator Kitching, a supplementary question?









Senator KITCHING (Victoria) (14:03): Last week, the Turnbull government sided with One Nation to oppose Labor's plan to double income tax cuts for low- and middle-income earners. Why can the Turnbull government find $7,000 a year for investment bankers and $17 billion for the big banks but not find an extra $400 a year for an aged-care worker earning $40,000 a year?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:03): The necessary funding for the important social, health and other services that Australians rely on is reliant on a strong economy. If we continue to make it harder for Australian workers to be successful, if we continue to make it harder for Australian businesses to be successful, our economy will be weaker and will be in a weaker position to pay for the essential services Australians rely on.

Senator O'Neill: You're not answering the question.

Senator CORMANN: I'm precisely answering the question. Of course, the Labor Party can't accept that the Australian Senate made a decision last week. Last week, the Australian Senate decided to provide income tax relief to all working families around Australia, prioritising low- to middle-income earners in the first instance, but, yes, providing income tax relief to all working families around Australia to ensure that they've got the right incentive, the right encouragement and the right reward for effort, because that is good for the economy as a whole. (Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Senator Kitching, a final supplementary question.





Senator KITCHING (Victoria) (14:04): Senator Cormann, isn't it clear that the Turnbull government is always going to choose investment bankers and big banks over low- and middle-income workers?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:05): No, that is not correct. I reject that absolutely and unequivocally. Everything we do is to ensure that all Australians and, in particular, low- and middle-income earners, have the best possible opportunity to get ahead. Those people who get hurt the most by lower growth, by weaker growth, are low-income earners—those wanting to get into the jobs market, those wanting to work additional hours, those wanting to move from part-time to full-time. It is well established and Labor is clearly not interested in the evidence. If the economy grows more strongly, it proportionally benefits low-income earners more than anybody else. We want all Australians to have the best possible opportunity to get ahead, and having a stronger economy, having more jobs created into the future, is a very important part of that. And do you know what? When you create more jobs, it actually improves the bargaining power of workers, because if you create more jobs they get higher wages, because if there's less— (Time expired)