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Thursday, 21 June 2018
Page: 3542


Senator STORER (South Australia) (09:43): The Senate is the house of review, and its job is to thoroughly scrutinise each and every bill brought before it. The motion moved by the government yesterday did eliminate debate on the Personal Income Tax Plan. It gave barely 30 minutes for debate on amendments to the biggest tax cuts in Australia's history, and it should not have met with majority support. It goes against the principles of accountability and transparency, which are of paramount importance and which were the key fundamental plank of the Nick Xenophon Team, upon which the Centre Alliance senators now sit in this chamber, so I am very disappointed in that action yesterday by them. It is still unclear what their position is. I believe that they should be very clear in terms of their support for stage 3 of the tax plan.

The crossbench in particular should be holding the government to account through ensuring enough time is given to debate amendments. I had proposed several amendments to the income tax bill that I did not have the full opportunity to speak to. My proposal, if I had had time to further discuss it, would have saved nearly $100 billion, compared with the government's plan, while still extending targeted tax relief to low- and middle-income earners, and these savings would help us return to surplus sooner, pay down debt quicker and free up money to spend on critical social and infrastructure programs. That's why I am speaking in favour of this motion. I urge all other crossbenchers to do likewise.