House debates

Monday, 27 May 2013


Tax Laws Amendment (Disclosure of MRRT Information) Bill 2013; Second Reading

8:41 pm

Photo of Bert Van ManenBert Van Manen (Forde, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

It is interesting to listen to the contribution of the member for Fraser. Most of the last 10 minutes he spent rehashing the old furphies about coalition policy and direction and makes the comment that $26 billion is our potential shortfall in getting rid of the carbon tax and the mining tax. I would like to contrast that with five years of deficits totalling probably a net $150 billion. I'll pay the $26 billion any day!

I rise in support of the Tax Laws Amendment (Disclosure of MRRT Information) Bill 2013 because the amounts of the MRRT instalments paid either quarterly or yearly is information that should be disclosed and made available to the public. This amendment seeks to make changes to this effect, amending the confidentiality of taxpayer information provisions in division 355 of part 5 of schedule 1 of the Taxation Administration Act 1953. Importantly, it seeks to remove the smokescreen that has been used by this Labor government to avoid any kind of transparency over expected revenues.

This is a very important and necessary amendment to the taxation act following this government's comprehensive failure of the implementation of the MRRT and the consequent failure to deliver on the forecast of expected revenue. The mining tax has been a complete failure, starting with the member for Griffith losing his position as the country's Prime Minister over the original resources superprofits tax, and it has had quite a few iterations in between. The Treasurer failed to engage in genuine tax reform discussion with the state and territory governments, opting instead for a cosy meeting with the managing directors of the three biggest mining companies behind closed doors. Surprise, surprise: we finished up with an MRRT that suited the mining companies and the failure of the government to actually understand the consequences of what it negotiated.

Failing to consult with the state and territory governments in a genuine discussion about the implications arising from the MRRT is one of the reasons why this failed tax is in such a poor state of affairs today. We said right from the start that this tax was not going to work and that it would never raise the kind of money this government said it would.

This government is very good at aspirations but hopeless when it comes to delivery. As Lord Kelvin famously said, without numbers, '…your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.' Unfortunately, even with numbers your knowledge may be unsatisfactory; this government proves this adage every single day. To quote Terry McCrann:

The message has been blunt and very simple. The global demand outlook for our commodities is weakening; while at the same time we are making Australia an increasingly unattractive place to invest. From a combination of raw cost escalation, and regulatory, environmental and sheer bureaucratic bastardry.

Further to Mr McCrann's comments, a report from Citigroup's Edward Morse is even more unequivocal. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writes that:

It is the classic pincer movement of supply and demand, with Chinese imports of iron, copper, coal, and oil cooling at just the wrong moment.

And he quotes Morse as saying:

It is now clear the commodity super-cycle is over. The overall slowing and the restructuring of the Chinese growth model should mark a watershed in global commodity markets. For many industrial metals, China, in fact, was responsible for all of net global demand growth after 1995.

Before the financial crisis, this government underestimated revenue, and since then it has overestimated it. When it comes to forecasting revenue, they appear to be suffering from economic dyslexia. The forecast revenues from the mining tax—personally and secretly negotiated by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Treasurer, Mr Swan, in June 2010—have collapsed from an initially projected amount of $22.5 billion to $3.3 billion, and in this financial year we have seen a total of $200-odd million. We just continue to see more— (Time expired)


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