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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 8693

Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (20:52): This in essence is the debate we have been having all night. The threshold used to be $252 million. We thought that was too high. That was at a time when Senator Wong thought the threshold for agricultural land should be the same as for all the relevant assets—that is $1 billion. Of course, you would struggle to find any foreign acquisition that would reach a $1 billion threshold. Labor has moved down from that $1 billion proposition to $50 million. Some people in this chamber, Senator Lazarus in particular, supported by Senator Lambie and Senator Madigan, suggested a zero dollar threshold, which we do not agree with. Senator Xenophon suggested a $5 million threshold. We suggested a $15 million threshold which should be cumulative. That is openly and transparently what we have put on the table because that is what we believe is appropriate in the context of agricultural land. That is our recommendation to the Senate.

We can go around and around in circles. Some people would say the threshold should be higher; some people say it should be lower. We think our recommendation to the Senate is well founded and it is based on obviously extensive public consultations in opposition before the last election.