House debates

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Tax Laws Amendment (2010 Measures No. 5) Bill 2010

Second Reading

9:41 am

Photo of Joe HockeyJoe Hockey (North Sydney, Liberal Party, Shadow Treasurer) Share this | Hansard source

What about the LPG tax increase? Tightening restrictions on medical expenses before you can claim them on tax—that was $350 million. Increasing the luxury car tax, $555 million; the flood levy, $1.8 billion; and then, No. 13, lucky 13—the carbon tax. How much is it going to raise? We do not know. The government does not know. How much is it going to apply to various industries? The government does not know, so we do not know. Who is going to be exempt? Well, the government does not know, so we do not know. All the government knows is that it is imposing a new carbon tax right across the Australian economy, and the Treasurer, as deputy chair of the committee responsible for the recommendation, did not have the guts to turn up to the announcement. So much change! So many tax increases! The Treasurer cannot even be bothered turning up.

We are a party of accountability. We are a party of responsibility. We are a party of transparency. Even though we did not win government, we are quite properly seeking to implement our policies as if we were elected to government. After all, half the Australian people voted for us. After all, we hold more seats in this place than the Labor Party. After all, we have policies that we believe will grow the Australian economy, reduce the burden of taxation and make it easier for people to meet their bills head on. In committee, we are going to introduce a similar but not exactly the same amendment to this bill which will give Australians a receipt for their taxation contribution and explain to them in detail where their hard earned tax goes. This receipt, a core part of our election commitment, is about transparency and accountability.

Of course, as I shall say again and again during the committee stages of this bill, we are asking this parliament to let the sun shine in to give Australians full transparency about where their hard earned bucks are going. It was the Prime Minister who said, ‘I will open the curtains and let the sun shine in.’ It was the Independents who said, ‘This is a new paradigm. This is a new environment where there will be total transparency.’ Let them vote our way this time. Let them vote for transparency and accountability. This government are scurrying away from their tax summit commitment, which of course the Independents identified as one of the reasons they were going to back the Labor Party. They said that. That is one of the reasons they were backing the Labor Party: the Labor Party are going to have a tax summit by 30 June 2011.

You know what—in the first few weeks of 2011 the government announced two new taxes: a flood tax and now a carbon tax. Let me say to you: the whole year is turning out to be a tax summit—not just one or two days in June but the whole year—but the problem is they are not abolishing any taxes and they are not reducing any taxes. All they are doing is announcing new taxes and higher taxes. So, from our perspective, we say, ‘Let the sun shine in. Open the doors of the parliament. Let the people see exactly how wasteful the Labor Party are in government.’ That is their form. As my leader said, the Labor Party have never seen a tax they did not like and have never seen a tax they did not want to hike. That is their form.

I see the member for Canberra watching intently. As a new member, I would say to her, ‘Run away. Run away. Do not be associated with this mob because, ultimately, even the good folk of Canberra—as the highest average net earning people in the country—will come to understand that sooner or later you cannot trust Labor with money and sooner or later you just cannot trust them with tax.

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