28 March 2018

Speech: Matter of Public Importance – Taxation

It’s regrettable that the member for Jagajaga has so fundamentally distorted this situation with pensioners. Perhaps one of the Labor Party’s greatest shames, when they were in government, was when they callously moved 80,000 single parents from the single parent pension onto Newstart. Even Kevin Rudd, the former Prime Minister, said that that was a day of great shame. The most vulnerable, mainly women but some men, in our community were savagely attacked by the Labor Party, and Kevin Rudd said sorry. What a shame that the member for Jagajaga has no sense of regret about that whatsoever.

The Labor Party also increased the pension age from 65 to 67, so there is an enormous amount of hypocrisy. We joined with the Greens to pass a pension increase to the most vulnerable of pensioners. And, yes, there was an adjustment in the threshold to people on the part-pension, because we didn’t feel it was appropriate that if you had assets of $1.2 million a part-pension was payable. We brought some fairness back into the system, and now that’s just under $900,000. That is still a very significant amount of money. Many pensioners would love to have that amount of money in their bank account. When we made that adjustment, which was based on fairness, we also increased the pension to $170,000 of the most vulnerable low-income pensioners, and the Labor Party rejected that legislation.

This reflects how little they really care about pensioners. We’ve seen that in spades with this shocking attempt to grab the cash, tax refunds, from pensioners and self-funded retirees. The Leader of the Opposition has bungled his own tax backflip. He can’t even execute a backflip with any sense of clarity. He’s now admitted that this is going to be a $3.3 billion or more tax on retirees every single year, if he gets his way. This is not just a shocking attack on the self-funded retirees around our nation, it is a shocking attack on pensioners. There is no pension guarantee. Anyone receiving a pension will still see their super fund lose its franking credits—potentially, costing pensioners thousands of dollars a year. The member for Maribyrnong, the Leader of the Opposition, and Labor do not care about pensioners. They do not care about self-funded retirees. This, frankly, is a shocking mess of a policy.

Our government’s focus is on building a strong economy and standing up for those who most need our help. That’s why we will fight this policy every step of the way. Very proudly, we have absolutely attacked multinational tax avoidance. Again, we have to join with the Greens to do so. This will include a range of legislation to ensure that multinationals pay their fair share of tax. As a result of this legislation, the ATO has identified 38 large companies and expects that some $7 billion in income will be returned to the Australian tax base.

Our focus is on driving jobs for all Australians: increasing job opportunities; driving business investment; driving confidence. We are absolutely determined to pass our company tax cuts so that all companies, big and small, can share in this prosperity. This is, of course, a policy that Labor previously agreed to and supported. The member for Lilley, sitting opposite me, in 2010 banked $600 million in his budget, with a one per cent cut in the company tax rate, delivering $450, on average, to all workers for the year, and he bragged about how well that was for the economy. The member for Lilley has never explained that. He sits there shaking his head. What the member for Lilley doesn’t understand is the absolute hypocrisy— (Time expired)