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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 8694


Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (20:56): The minister has not addressed why this is cumulative. He avoids the questions when he does not want to answer them but the reality is there is a special deal here in relation to agricultural land that does not apply to any other sector of the economy. There is no public policy rationale that the minister has articulated other than that it is their judgment. I think we have traversed many of the issues in this debate but before I move our amendments I will make the point that the minister sought to say that the Liberal Party knows a lot more about business than the Labor Party. Certainly it appears in this debate that that is not the case because we have seen the Business Council, the Food and Grocery council, the AiG and other business groups be highly critical of the government's approach and it does not appear that the government has listened.

Senator Cormann: Let us test it at the next election.

Senator Canavan: It was tested at the last one.

Senator WONG: Who is speaking for the government—Senator Canavan or Senator Cormann?

Senator Canavan: We are together.

Senator WONG: Senator Canavan, I know you have to vote with the Greens. I know the Greens are who you have gone with and I know that must be an interesting experience for you.

Senator Canavan: We have had a good run with the carbon tax andthe mining tax. They were top of the poll.

Senator WONG: It is interesting, isn't it, Senator Canavan? We are trying to have a debate in here and until you came in we were having a sensible one. Trust Senator Canavan to make sure that debate goes off the rails. Trust him to do that. That is probably why he is where he is and we have Senator Scullion at the front of the party, and good on him. I make this point, too. If he wants to know what business thinks, I invite the minister to read the BCA's press releases and the public comments from the Food and Grocery Council and from other business groups. I would also point this out. As I said at the start, our starting point is jobs and ensuring that we have investments that create jobs for Australians. The minister has said—I cannot recall precisely the words but essentially that there would not be any impact on foreign investment activity in this country. Just today, since the Greens deal has come to light, we see Colliers head of agribusiness that the new laws would slow business down: 'This will slow activity.' So the government is voluntarily engaging in a proposition which will ensure this slows activity. We know slower economic activity means fewer jobs for the people who send us here. We do not see why that is in the national interest. With that, I seek leave to move items (1) to (10), (12) to (14) and (16) to (21) on sheet 7778.

Leave granted.

Senator WONG: I move opposition amendments (1) to (10), (12) to (14) and (16) to (21) on sheet 7778:

(1) Schedule 1, item 3, page 5 (lines 14 and 15), omit the definition of agribusiness in section 4, substitute:

   agribusiness has the meaning given by section 26A.

(2) Schedule 1, item 3, page 5 (after line 27), after the definition of Australia in section 4, insert:

   Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification Codes means the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification Codes, as in force from time to time, published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

(3) Schedule 1, item 3, page 26 (lines 21 to 33), omit subsection 19(3), substitute:

(3) This section does not apply for the purpose of determining under paragraph 47(2)(b) (meaning of notifiable action—general) whether a foreign person acquires a substantial interest in an Australian entity.

(4) Schedule 1, item 3, page 30 (lines 30 and 31), omit subsection 26(1), substitute:

(1) A business is a sensitive business if the business:

   (a) meets the conditions specified in the regulations; and

   (b) is not an agribusiness.

(5) Schedule 1, item 3, page 31 (after line 5), after section 26, insert:

26A Meaning of agribusiness

(1) An Australian entity or Australian business is an agribusiness in the circumstances set out in the following table.

Australian entities and Australian businesses that are agribusinesses

Item

Column 1

This kind of Australian entity or Australian business …

Column 2

is an agribusiness if …

1

an Australian entity

(a) any one or more of the following entities (the agribusiness entities) derive earnings from carrying on a business of the kind mentioned in subsection (3):

   (i) the entity;

(ii) a subsidiary of the entity; and

(b) the amount of those earnings before interest and tax, derived by the agribusiness entities in the most recent financial year for which the financial accounts of the entity have been audited, exceeds 25% of the amount of the total earnings for the entity.

2

an Australian entity

(a) any one or more of the following entities (the agribusiness entities) use assets in carrying on a business of the kind mentioned in subsection (3):

   (i) the entity;

(ii) a subsidiary of the entity; and

(b) the value of those assets exceeds 25% of the total asset value for the entity.

3

an Australian business

(a) the business uses assets in carrying on a business of the kind mentioned in subsection (3); and

(b) the value of those assets exceeds 25% of the value of the total assets of the business.

Meaning of total earnings

(2) The total earnings for the entity is the total of all earnings before interest and tax derived in Australia in that year by any one or more of the following:

   (a) the entity;

   (b) any subsidiary of the entity that carries on a business of a kind mentioned in subsection (3).

Classes of business

(3) The business must be carried on wholly or partly in any of the following classes of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification Codes:

   (a) any of the classes in Division A (agriculture, forestry and fishing);

   (b) any of the classes in Subdivision 11 of Division C (food product manufacturing), other than any of the following:

      (i) class 1113 (cured meat and smallgoods manufacturing);

      (ii) class 1132 (ice cream manufacturing);

      (iii) class 1162 (cereal, pasta and baking mix manufacturing);

      (iv) a class in group 117 (bakery product manufacturing);

      (v) class 1182 (confectionery manufacturing);

      (vi) a class in group 119 (other food product manufacturing).

Mixed earnings and mixed -use assets

(4) Earnings that are derived from carrying on a business that is not wholly in a class mentioned in subsection (3) may be apportioned, on the basis of publicly available information, between the part of the business that is in the class and the other parts of the business.

(5) The value of assets that are used in carrying on a business that is not wholly in a class mentioned in subsection (3) may be apportioned, on the basis of publicly available information, between the part of the business that is in the class and the other parts of the business.

(6) Schedule 1, item 4, page 35 (lines 23 to 25), omit "A different threshold test applies for certain significant actions taken in relation to agribusinesses."

(7) Schedule 1, item 4, page 36 (lines 11 and 12), omit paragraph 40(2)(a).

(8) Schedule 1, item 4, page 36 (lines 28 to 30), omit the note.

(9) Schedule 1, item 4, page 37 (lines 30 and 31), omit paragraph 41(2)(a).

(10) Schedule 1, item 4, page 38 (lines 3 to 5), omit the note.

(12) Schedule 1, item 4, page 40 (lines 7 and 8), omit:

A notifiable action is a proposed action by a foreign person:

   (a) to acquire a direct interest in an Australian entity or Australian business that is an agribusiness; or

   (b) to acquire a substantial interest in an Australian entity; or

   (c) to acquire an interest in Australian land.

Generally, the action is only notifiable if the entity, business or land meets the threshold test. A different threshold test applies for certain notifiable actions taken in relation to agribusinesses.

   Substitute:

A notifiable action is a proposed action by a foreign person:

   (a) to acquire a substantial interest in an Australian entity; or

   (b) to acquire an interest in Australian land.

Generally, the action is only notifiable if the entity, business or land meets the threshold test.

(13) Schedule 1, item 4, page 41 (lines 3 and 4), omit paragraph 47(2)(a).

(14) Schedule 1, item 4, page 43 (table item 1), omit the table item.

(16) Schedule 1, item 4, page 54 (table item 1), omit "a direct interest in an Australian entity that is an agribusiness, or".

(17) Schedule 1, item 4, page 55 (table item 5), omit "a direct interest in an Australian business that is an agribusiness, or".

(18) Schedule 1, item 4, page 55 (table item 1), omit "a direct interest in an Australian entity that is an agribusiness, or".

(19) Schedule 1, item 4, pages 55 and 56 (table item 2), omit "a direct interest in an Australian business that is an agribusiness, or".

(20) Schedule 1, item 4, page 57 (table item 1), omit "a direct interest in an Australian entity that is an agribusiness, or".

(21) Schedule 1, item 4, page 57 (table item 4), omit "a direct interest in an Australian business that is an agribusiness, or".