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Thursday, 21 June 2018
Page: 3544


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaMinister for Communications, Minister for the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (09:49): I can't help but observe that, among those opposite, there is a condition that we can diagnose as procedural amnesia. It's important to have an institutional memory in this place. The truth is that sometimes in this chamber, when it comes to procedural manners, you win some and you lose some. That is the nature of democracy. In any forum, you've got to get 50 per cent plus one to carry your proposition, and in this place yesterday we got 50 per cent plus one. So, when those opposite are reflecting on the manner in which this important legislation is being dealt with, they are reflecting on the chamber itself. They are reflecting on the collective majority decision of senators in this place. The will of the Senate is that this personal income tax cut legislation be dealt with in the manner that is occurring. That is the will of this place—nothing more, nothing less.

As we extensively recounted yesterday, those opposite used a guillotine on 188 occasions during the period when they were last in government. To date, during the period that we have been in government, we have used the guillotine on four occasions—188 as opposed to four. There are times when it is appropriate to ask the Senate to facilitate the conclusion of the consideration of legislation. That's something that we have done sparingly and it's something we have done on this occasion. It's also something that will be manifested today when those on the other side of the building send a message to this place after they have considered the legislation before them. This is an appropriate expression of the will of the Senate in a procedural sense.

We on this side of the chamber want to facilitate Australians keeping more of what is theirs. That's the proposition: we want Australians to keep more of what is theirs. Those opposite want government to take more and keep more from the Australian people.

Senator Cameron interjecting

Senator FIFIELD: Those opposite have indicated that, if we are successful in passing the legislation, they will seek to repeal elements of our Personal Income Tax Plan. But we all know they don't want to repeal just parts of our Personal Income Tax Plan; they ultimately will want to repeal the lot. The Labor Party, ultimately, will want to repeal the lot because they don't believe that when you cut taxes you're giving back to the Australian people what is theirs. They don't believe that you're allowing the Australian people to keep more of what is theirs, more of what they have earned. Those opposite believe that every dollar in the economy belongs to the government—that's certainly Senator Cameron's view of the world—and that the government, on occasion, will benevolently allow members of the community to have some of the government's money.

Those opposite see a tax cut as an expenditure measure. They see tax cuts as an expenditure measure because they believe government owns every dollar, and a benevolent government, on occasion, might allow the community to keep some of what they earn. That is the proposition of those opposite. That is the belief system of those opposite. That is the world view of those opposite—that everything belongs to the government and, on occasion, it might throw the community a bone. That's not our view. Our view is that members of the community work hard, they earn their money and they should keep their money. They should make a contribution to the community, but they should keep an appropriate portion of what they earn.