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Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Page: 29

Senator ABETZ (9:34 PM) —This will be my last attempt. Senator Fielding is treating this place with absolute contempt in his refusal to answer very basic questions as to the meaning and the purpose of his legislation. What on earth is meant by ‘car of a kind specified in regulations made for the purposes of this definition’? Not a single example has been profert to this place, but we are supposed to vote for his amendment. We as an opposition are not in that game. We believe there has to be clarity. But clearly what has happened is somebody helped him stitch up these amendments and I am not sure that he necessarily fully understands their implication.

What then does ‘tourist activity’ mean? Surely we are entitled to know whether there is going to be a limitation on tourist activity to, say, just ecotourism or only tourism out of a city area. Surely we are entitled to know that.

He tells us that he is willing to take the government at face value. I am prepared to do that, just as long as I am told what it is that I am taking at face value. But we cannot be told whether the tourist activity will include the stretch limo for an international tourist from an international airport to the Crown Casino, or whether it will be an ecotourism venture up in Cape York. Surely we are entitled to know what that terminology means. If Senator Fielding and Family First cannot explain that and nor can the government, nor the Greens nor Senator Xenophon, it shows that in their desperate bid they have struck up a deal supporting each other’s amendments without actually knowing what they mean and what they will mean for the future and what the regulations are going to mean.

Indeed, I will be looking very closely at the regulations, and I would be interested to know whether a timetable has been offered to Senator Fielding in relation to the meaning of tourist activity because—and I say this to him—if the government does not bring down regulations, there will not be any tourist activity to which this exemption will apply, and he will have really bought a pig in a poke. This will not come into being until tourist activity has been defined, but we take it at face value. We have no idea what it means or when it is going to be introduced. Unless Senator Fielding has got a guarantee as to when the regulations will come in and the breadth of them, the Labor government and the Greens will have got his vote on amendments that I am sure in his heart he does not agree with in exchange for something that may never come into force. On that basis, we as an opposition simply cannot support such poorly drafted legislation.

Question agreed to.

Bill agreed to, subject to requests.

Bill reported with requests; report adopted.

A New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition—General) Amendment Bill 2008

A New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition—Customs) Amendment Bill 2008

A New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition—Excise) Amendment Bill 2008

Bills—by leave—taken together and as a whole.

Bills agreed to.

Bills reported.

Progress reported.