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Thursday, 3 December 2015
Page: 9766


Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (09:36): Let's understand why we are going to be dealing with the motion that the minister has moved. We are dealing with this motion because the Australian Greens have done a dirty deal with the government and they want to bring the deal on for a vote. In the dead of night last night, what we know is that the Australian Greens sat down with the Treasurer and cut a deal to sell out the crossbench and the Labor Party, cut a deal to sell out Australian taxpayers and cut a deal to lessen the transparency that this Senate was insisting on, all so that they could show that they were players. They are the tax transparency traders. That is what the Australian Greens are: the tax transparency traders.

The motion moved by the minister is different to the one which was circulated to the chamber and which would have got agreement. There were all of the fine words from the minister about consultation and so forth. We would have agreed to the motion as previously circulated, but at 10 past nine what we get is a motion which includes this bill, the tax legislation, because Senator Di Natale and his colleagues have suddenly decided that they do not care about transparency in relation to firms earning over $100 million.

I am reminded of Senator McKim's contribution on the citizenship bill. As part of the 'Nick the leader' campaign that we were all watching with great interest, he stood up and had a go at us for doing deals in the dead of night, and so forth. On the citizenship bill public inquiry, a bill was out for everyone to see. We still have not seen the amendments you have cut a deal on and we are about to have to vote on them, because you have done a deal with the government. We still have not seen the amendments. How much transparency is that? How is the dead-of-night dealing going, Senator McKim? I do not know if Senator McKim knows that he is going to be voting for a motion which brings the citizenship bill on. That is what the Greens are going to do: they are going to bring the citizenship bill on, as part of their deal with the government to limit tax transparency.

What we are being asked to vote for is a motion which brings on a dirty deal that the Greens have done overnight and that this chamber has still not seen. We have seen some nice little press releases from the Australian Greens. Senator Whish-Wilson, who was previously with us on this issue, now decides it is time to attack the Labor Party on this issue.

Senator Siewert interjecting

Senator WONG: I know Senator Siewert wants to yell at us. You have sold out Australian taxpayers and you will vote with the coalition to sell out Australian taxpayers.

The PRESIDENT: To the chair.

Senator WONG: This is the Australian Greens' Meg Lees moment. The Meg Lees of Australian politics. That is what Senator Di Natale wants.

The PRESIDENT: Pause the clock.

Senator Canavan: Mr President, I rise on a point of order. Senator Wong has repeatedly referred to other senators not through you, chair, and I ask you that she make those comments through you.

The PRESIDENT: On the point of order, Senator Canavan, remarks have to be directed to the chair, not through the chair. Senator Wong, you have the call.

Senator WONG: Mr President, I will direct this remark to you: how humiliating that the Australian Greens are being defended by Senator Canavan. Senator Canavan's views on almost every issue are diametrically opposed to the Greens and he heckles them at every turn when they ask questions in question time and when they speak. Senator Canavan now, because they have done a deal with the government, is springing to the defence of the Australian Greens. How humiliating: the National Party having to defend the Australian Greens because they have done a deal.

Senator Siewert interjecting

Senator WONG: Senator Siewert says, 'This is only an hour's motion.' This is not just an hour's motion; this is the delivery of the deal. This is a motion which ensures we first debate the tax legislation that you have done a deal on. So this hour's motion is intrinsically tied up with a deal that was done in the dead of night by Senator Richard Di Natale and which was pushed through his party room this morning. They were out there backgrounding on it, but no amount of backgrounding will change this fact: the Australian Greens will vote for less tax transparency in this country—end of story. The Australian Greens will change position and ensure that the tax transparency that this Senate was insisting on will be diminished. Who will lose out and who will win out of that? Taxpayers lose out and companies earning over $100 million will win. The Australian Greens are on the side of companies earning between $100 million and $200 million. What are the values of the Australian Greens, one wonders? I expect this from the coalition. I expect better from the Australian Greens.