Wednesday, 20 November 2013
Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2013; Consideration in Detail
The debate from the Labor Party in relation to the Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2013 has been predictable. We have seen Labor rail against the various measures that are contained within this bill. And I get it. I get that the Labor Party genuinely hold the view that the abolition of the various incentives within the bill is, for some, a regressive step. I get that. But the reality is that the coalition's approach stands in stark contrast to Labor's approach. We do not do these things because we are cruel people—as we heard in some of the more outlandish claims from members of the Labor Party. We do not do these things because we like to inflict pain on the Australian community—again as we heard put forward in some outlandish comments by the Australian Labor Party. We make these hard decisions because they are necessary decisions.
When members of the Australian Labor Party and the Greens stand up and rail against the Liberal Party cuts and the National Party cuts and say, 'How can you do this?' I will explain the reason. And I will explain the reason in the chamber in exactly the same way as I have explained it in the community. And do you know what, Madam Speaker? The general community gets it. The general community understand why we have to have cuts. The only people who do not get it are the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens. And do you know the reason they do not get it, Madam Speaker? It is not because they are thick—some might say that, but it is not because they are thick. The reason they do not get it is because they do not want to get it. The Labor Party and the Greens want to go down a populist path. They want to be able to stand in the chamber and say, 'We fought for the schoolkids bonus.' They want to be able to stand in the chamber and say, 'We fought for accelerated depreciation.' They want to be able to stand in the chamber and say, 'We fought for the tax loss carryback.' That is the reason they do it. But what they always neglect to say is that none of these measures are affordable. They always neglect to say that because they pursued these policies over the last six years, Australia went from net assets to being $400 billion in debt. They always neglect to say that because they pursued these policies the Australian people now have seen the five biggest budget deficits in our nation's history. And do you know what, Madam Speaker? The Australian public get it. They understand that this kind of unsustainable spending is not in our national interest. They understand that the inevitable end destination of Labor's spending, borrowing and taxing is to end up like states like Greece.
The only thing that separates where we are today and a nation like Greece is time. Make no mistake: if the Australian Labor Party still occupied the Treasury benches, together with their mates in the Greens, they would still be spending, they would still be taxing, they would still be borrowing, and they would do it term after term, holding themselves out as the great defenders of the Australian workers. But they are not that.