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Tuesday, 10 November 2015
Page: 8179


Senator DASTYARI (New South Wales) (18:38): What an extraordinary display from the minister. The notion that simply supporting measures that improve the legislation and create greater transparency will put at risk a giant multinational tax avoidance bill by this government is a demonstration of what a cop-out position this government is intending to take. Let's be very clear. If this amendment is supported by the Senate, the Senate tonight can, should and, I suspect, will support the bill as a whole. If the government chooses not to support its own legislation because steps have been taken to improve it, that will highlight—it will put in neon lights—what a cop-out, pathetic, weak, embarrassing position this government is prepared to take.

This amendment by Senator Xenophon will improve the bill. It deserves support. We have said from the start that we do not believe this bill is perfect. In many areas we do not believe it goes far enough, but it is a good set of measures. It is a disgrace, a disappointment and a cop-out that the government is trying to hold to ransom the political parties and Australian taxpayers by these kinds of tactics. Senator Xenophon should be commended on an amendment that will improve this bill. I know the Australian Greens plan to move a similar amendment with a lower threshold. Those of us on the Labor side of politics believe that $1 billion is a better threshold than $500 million, but, to be honest, they are very similar amendments—the $1 billion threshold is a just a judgement call that has been made on our side of politics. If the government is prepared to not support its own legislation because it has been amended to include measures to improve transparency—wow—that would say a lot about this government.