House debates

Monday, 8 February 2016


Tax Laws Amendment (Implementation of the Common Reporting Standard) Bill 2015; Second Reading

4:21 pm

Photo of Alex HawkeAlex Hawke (Mitchell, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister to the Treasurer) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to sum up the debate on the Tax Laws Amendment (Implementation of the Common Reporting Standard) Bill 2015. I thank the members on this side of the House who have contributed to this debate. I say to the opposition: could you please put an end to the confusing speeches about combating multinational tax avoidance. The House has before it only one amendment, but people listening to this debate might think from the opposition's comments that the opposition has a great concern about multinationals paying tax. But members of this House will recall that on the last sitting night of 2015, here in this chamber, the government debated its Tax Laws Amendment (Combating Multinational Tax Avoidance) Bill 2015. They kept us here until the middle of the night. Yes, it was the House's view that we should gag the shadow Assistant Treasurer, the member for Fraser. It was a popular view in this House that we should gag the shadow Assistant Treasurer because he is quite verbose.

Back to the important substance of the matter: the Labor Party under Bill Shorten, the Leader of the Opposition, and Chris Bowen, the shadow Treasurer, voted against the government's measures—the Tax Laws Amendment (Combating Multinational Tax Avoidance) Bill 2015. The Labor Party voted against it. I want to say to the Australian public that the Australian Greens voted for the government's bill. You may think the Greens are from the hard left of politics, but they are more economically responsible than the Australian Labor Party. They voted with the government for our bill, our measures, to make sure that multinationals pay their fair share of tax. There is only one political party in this country that voted against the government's measures to introduce multinational tax arrangements and that was the Australian Labor Party.

Once again today you would think this was some sort of controversial matter. This matter is completely noncontroversial. This bill is about implementing an agreed position with the OECD—the common reporting standards. That is the agreed position with the OECD. The Labor Party have one pious amendment before us today—that is it. You would think from listening to them that they had put a series of complex amendments to this bill. The amendment before this House is:

… “while not declining to give the bill a second reading—

so they have learnt something from 2015; that is, they are not going to oppose this bill—

the House condemns the Abbott-Turnbull Government for making Australia a laggard, not a leader, in implementing strong measures to stop multinational profit shifting.”

So their only amendment is to attach to this bill a Greens style set of words to have a crack on the way through. No substantive amendments to this bill have been proposed to this House—none. There are no substantive amendments to this bill so every speech you have heard from the Labor Party has been about nothing. We are debating nothing yet again. The shadow Assistant Treasurer is here arguing for measures that he has not even had the gumption to put forward in technical amendments.


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