Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 18 June 2018
Page: 3050

Income Tax


Senator KENEALLY (New South Wales) (14:09): My question is to the Minister for Finance, Senator Cormann. The Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Minister for Finance have repeatedly refused to be up-front about the cost of the government's personal income tax plan. Will the government finally tell the parliament the year-by-year cost of each element of its personal income tax plan? Why is the Turnbull government willing to spend taxpayer money to undermine the independent Parliamentary Budget Office costings of Labor's policies, but not be up-front about the costings of its own?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:09): The government has released all of the appropriate information and more, and let me just correct what Senator Keneally just said. This is a saving, a major saving, for working families around Australia. We on this side of the chamber want to help working families get ahead. We are providing income tax relief to provide cost-of-living-pressure relief for low- and middle-income earners but, of course, we want to ensure that we address bracket creep right across the board. We want to ensure that all Australians, all working Australians, have the right incentive, the right encouragement and the right reward for effort, because we understand that bracket creep is a drag on economic growth. If the economy grows more slowly, you know who is the first to hurt the most? Low-income earners. A stronger economy is good for low-income earners because it means they get better opportunities to get ahead—to get a job, to get a well-paid job, to get a better-paid job and continue to get ahead.

The Labor Party doesn't understand this. The Labor Party under Bill Shorten is pursuing an antibusiness, anti-opportunity, antigrowth policy.

The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Cormann, please resume your seat. Senator Collins on a point of order.

Senator Jacinta Collins: The point of order is that the minister is failing to respond to the question. The question is not what he thinks the Labor Party does or does not understand. The question is again quite clear: will the Turnbull government finally tell the parliament the year-by-year cost of each element of its Personal Income Tax Plan? It's not, 'What do you think is appropriate, Minister?'

The PRESIDENT: Senator Collins, there were other elements to that. That was one element of the question. I caught Senator Cormann's answer to part of the question upon his commencing his answer, and he is continuing to present material that's relevant to it.

Senator CORMANN: We on this side of the chamber stand for encouraging the Australian people so that they have the best possible opportunity to get ahead. We stand for more investment, stronger growth, more jobs and higher wages. Those on that side of the chamber stand for a socialist agenda that will make all Australians poorer. You stand for an antibusiness, anti-opportunity, socialist, politics-of-envy agenda that will leave all Australians worse off; that will lead to less investment, lower growth, fewer jobs, higher unemployment and lower wages. That is going to be the choice for the Australian people at the next election: do they want more jobs and higher wages or fewer jobs, higher unemployment and lower wages under Bill Shorten and the Labor Party?

The PRESIDENT: Senator Keneally, a supplementary question.







Senator KENEALLY (New South Wales) (14:12): Will the minister provide the year-by-year cost of each element of the government's Personal Income Tax Plan to the crossbench?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:12): The government has provided all of the appropriate information in the public domain.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! I'll call Senator Keneally when there's order. Senator Collins! Senator Carr! Senator Keneally, a final supplementary question.



Senator KENEALLY (New South Wales) (14:12): Why does the minister think the crossbenchers should not be given the full information to inform them about the impact of all three stages of the government's Personal Income Tax Plan? What does the Turnbull government have to hide?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:13): I'm very keen for the crossbench to be very aware of the impact of our personal income tax cuts compared to yours. Under the Labor Party—

An opposition senator: Tell us the cost!

Senator CORMANN: Well, I'll tell you what the cost is going to be. Under the Labor Party approach, the cost to the Australian people would be $70 billion in higher taxes—

The PRESIDENT: Order, Senator Cormann. Senator Wong on a point of order.

Senator Wong: The point of order is direct relevance. The minister was asked why the crossbench should not be provided with the full information as to the impact of all three stages of the government's income tax plan and what the government has to hide. He's now answering about Labor's policy. How is that directly relevant?

The PRESIDENT: I note the minister has been speaking for 20 seconds. He has 40 seconds left—

Senator Jacinta Collins interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Senator Collins, I am answering the point of order raised by your leader. He has 40 seconds remaining in his time to answer. But I also note that the second part of the question, the final words, are rather open ended, and that is easier to be directly relevant to than a specific request for information.

Senator Jacinta Collins: Like 'What's the federal government got to hide?'

The PRESIDENT: Yes.

Senator Wong: Mr President, perhaps you could clarify how an answer about Mr Shorten is directly relevant to: 'What has the Turnbull government got to hide?'

The PRESIDENT: You'll note that the first part of my response to you was that the minister has been speaking for 20 seconds and has 40 seconds left to come to the answer.

Senator CORMANN: Let me be very direct: the government has nothing to hide. The government is very proud of its $144 billion worth of personal income tax relief for hardworking families around Australia, prioritising low- and middle-income earners, but providing bracket-creep relief for all working Australians. We're certainly very keen to ensure that the crossbench understands that the Labor Party wants taxes on hardworking families to be $70 billion higher. You want to put your hand into the pockets of hardworking families and take more of that money for yourself? Let me tell you: if you ever get back into government, Labor is actually not that good at spending it. Labor, in government, is not that good at spending people's money. We want the Australian people to have more of their own money. (Time expired)