House debates

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Questions without Notice


2:00 pm

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Now that a majority of senators have rejected the Prime Minister's company tax plan, will the Prime Minister advise Australians—right here, right now—whether he will take his $65 billion tax giveaway to big business to the next election?

2:01 pm

Photo of Malcolm TurnbullMalcolm Turnbull (Wentworth, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

As usual, the Leader of the Opposition is kicking off question time with a misleading statement. The Senate has not voted on the enterprise tax bill. That's a minor detail of fact that the opposition doesn't seem to be able to come to grips with. But the reality is very, very straightforward. The Leader of the Opposition said in 2012 that 'any student of Australian business and economic history since the mid-1980s knows part of Australia's success was derived through the reduction in the company tax rate'. And, indeed, the member for Fenner—that economic wizard over there on the frontbench—said some years ago, in 2011:

We recognise that, in a world of mobile capital—

capital is even fleeter of foot than the marathon runner opposite—

if we have high company tax rates our companies will not get the investment that they need to grow employment and boost wages.

And, of course, it was the Leader of the Opposition himself, in that much celebrated statement, which I'm sure he wishes he hadn't said, who said back here, right where I'm standing, in 2011:

Cutting the company income tax rate increases … productivity and … investment. More capital means higher productivity and economic growth and leads to more jobs and higher wages.

It's pretty straightforward. It was recognised by the honourable members opposite. I should not omit the honourable member for McMahon, who was so persuaded that he wrote a book about it. Copies are available in good bookshops wherever remaindering occurs. Don't worry; you can get a copy.

They all knew that, they all recognised that, and now they're in economic denial. They want to pretend that companies' decisions to invest and employ have got nothing to do with the rate of taxation. Well, Australians are not so naive that they will be deluded by the Leader of the Opposition with his anti-business, anti-investment, anti-jobs campaign. He wants to hold back Australian business from making the investments, raising the productivity and creating more jobs. And that is why we are committed to giving Australian companies and businesses a competitive company tax rate. They need that to compete, in order to create the jobs in Australia, to create the opportunities and, I might add, to generate the taxation revenues to pay for all the necessities that Australians need.

An incident having occurred in the gallery—

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Capricornia has the call. Her microphone is on.