House debates

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

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

Second Reading

9:56 am

Photo of Shayne NeumannShayne Neumann (Blair, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I speak in support of the Tax Laws Amendment (2010 Measures No. 5) Bill 2010. Let the sun shine in; open and transparent. What about the Charter of Budget Honesty that those opposite so fearlessly touted when they were in government? Guess what—they did not comply. Did they submit their costings before the last election? They hid things. It was secret. They did not want to reveal to the Australian public the full extent of their economic irresponsibility. They somehow came up with the notion that they had $50 billion worth of savings. Guess what—when the Australian people, in their infinite wisdom, decided to construct the parliament the way it is and there were negotiations with respect to who should form government, they had to come clean. They had to submit their election promises to the Treasury and to the Department of Finance and Deregulation—and guess what. The shadow Treasurer can wax lyrical and sing songs all he likes, but, when it was really revealed, there was a $10.6 billion fiscal black hole. Talk about irresponsible. Those opposite have form.

They talk about their history. Let’s have a look at their history with respect to tax. We have the GST, which he mentioned. Let’s think about the ratio of tax to GDP—never below about the mid-20s. It never got to 20.9 per cent, which we have presently. The Howard coalition government were the biggest taxing government in the history of the country—far more than this. They talk about economic responsibility. How many tax bills and how many savings are they trying to stop on the red carpet in the Senate? We have seen a performance by the shadow Treasurer that would be good for an Oscar, but the reality is that it is on the red carpet that they are playing their economically irresponsible and silly games, and here he can say all he likes—‘I’m the member for North Sydney. I’m the likeable, lovable cuddly bear’—but the truth is that they are acting irresponsibly in the other place. The shadow Treasurer can come in here and give us his little sermonettes, but they started acting irresponsibly when they were on this side of the chamber. Whether it is Work Choices or taxing the devil out of the Australian people, that is what those opposite did. What they thought about economic responsibility was to privatise everything they possibly could and send people to the scrapheap. That is their idea: take away people’s rights at work.

The shadow Treasurer was given a lot of licence by you, Deputy Speaker Scott, with respect to taxation. He sat in the Cabinet. He was responsible for Work Choices and he was responsible for every economic decision they made.


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