House debates

Thursday, 3 November 2011


Minerals Resource Rent Tax Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — General) Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Customs) Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Excise) Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax Assessment Amendment Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — General) Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Customs) Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Excise) Bill 2011, Tax Laws Amendment (Stronger, Fairer, Simpler and Other Measures) Bill 2011, Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Amendment Bill 2011; Second Reading

12:46 pm

Photo of Andrew RobbAndrew Robb (Goldstein, Liberal Party, Chairman of the Coalition Policy Development Committee) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to speak today on the Minerals Resource Rent Tax Bill 2011 and associated bills. I think the comments by the most recent speaker, the member for Wakefield, say it all. He mentioned early in his speech that 'any mug can deliver a surplus in a growing economy'. I remind the member for Wakefield that the government he is a part of have proudly talked about keeping the economy growing and yet at the same time have presided over the three biggest deficits in this country's history—by a country mile.

This is the level of economic incompetence that is running this country. This is what we have to deal with. This is what industry has to deal with. This is why we have seen such enormous frustration from industry, not just the mining industry but also so many other areas of industry, who are just gobsmacked by the economic illiteracy of those opposite—and it was characterised today by the member for Wakefield. He said it all, and he said it on behalf of all his colleagues. They do not understand business. They do not understand economics. They are all about politics and spin.

We heard recently from the CEO of the New South Wales Minerals Council, Dr Nikki Williams—and, again, I think this says it all:

"We are the darlings of the business pages, yet we painted as demons in the early general news.

"We help treasurers keep budgets healthy and give Australia the strength to stave off the threat of recession, yet our industry is a lightning rod for the most adversarial of political debates."

The report goes on:

Dr Williams said Australia was in the middle of one of the longest mining booms in the nation's history.

"Yet we face multiple policy, regulatory and legislative challenges that might collectively render our sector a less attractive destination for international investment than countries such as Indonesia, Colombia or even Mongolia," she warned.

This is at the heart of the problem that we have with this stupid tax, this dangerous tax, this tax born of envy and paraded as a subject of envy when in fact it is ensuring that Australia, in a policy sense, once again under this government shoots itself in the foot.

The attempted implementation of this mining tax over the last 18 months has been one of the most shambolic policy episodes this country has ever seen. This legislation comes 18 months after the Treasurer announced his half-baked so-called resources super profits tax. The first version brought down one Prime Minister, who had not even seen out a term. This second version is contributing significantly to the imminent demise of another, if we are to believe the private talk of those opposite—and are they talking! And are they worried! The member for Wakefield should be in one of the safest seats around, but even he has problems.


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