Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for Higgins for the question. I start by saying that thinking about a profits based tax is not new to this government. I remind the member for Higgins it is something the industry has desired for a long time. It is something that her previous employer, the then Treasurer and her predecessor the former member for Higgins, failed to front up to. I say that because tax reform has never come to Australia. Government’s capacity to deliver on tax reform requires strength of leadership. It is in that context I also remind the House that the findings and recommendations of the Henry tax review were not thought about in terms of the public debate.
The consultation process, including with individual companies and the Minerals Council of Australia, went on for almost two years. I am sure the member for Higgins, like me, also read the musings of the Secretary of Treasury in a number of speeches he made about the potential concepts that might be embraced and the development of a minerals tax proposal with respect to putting in place a profits based tax system in Australia, something that industry long campaigned for. I simply say that these issues were also raised with me on a number of occasions by industry in the lead-up to the Henry tax review. My problem was that given my knowledge—
Yes, it is very broad ranging. It is about tax reform and the capacity of the opposition to actually deliver any decent policy outcome. I remind the House that we will deliver a profits based tax system in Australia, something that the minerals industry accepts. I also remind the House that the minerals industry basically accepts that it should be paying more taxation in Australia.
I simply say, from the government’s point of view, that I was involved in cabinet processes, as I should be, and in doing so I was not in a position prior to the release of the Henry tax report to have serious consultations and discussions about the content—not until it was publicly released and not until after the government brought forward its response to the report. So, having talked about the concepts with industry prior to its release, I simply say: I am now involved in detailed consultations about its implementation.