House debates

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Questions without Notice


2:15 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. The leaked draft statement from the Business Council of Australia reveals that big business refused to commit to paying tax if the Senate passed the Prime Minister's $65 billion handout. When big business won't even commit to paying their tax, why is the Prime Minister so committed to giving big business $65 billion handouts?

Photo of Kelly O'DwyerKelly O'Dwyer (Higgins, Liberal Party, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services) Share this | | Hansard source

Do you even pay tax?

Photo of Michael KeenanMichael Keenan (Stirling, Liberal Party, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation) Share this | | Hansard source

It's not an option.

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

The Minister for Human Services and the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services will cease interjecting.

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

I remind the Leader of the Opposition that paying tax is compulsory. It would have been nice to have some help from the opposition with our multinational tax avoidance legislation. We won't take lectures from the Leader of the Opposition or his sidekick, the member for McMahon, on company tax payments. Let's face it: Labor had an opportunity to vote with us to pass the Treasury Laws Amendment (Combating Multinational Tax Avoidance) Bill 2015. Their only action on multinational tax was to not vote for that bill. They voted against it. What sort of consistency is that?

We have implemented now, with no thanks to the opposition, some of the toughest anti-avoidance legislation in the world. In fact, the diverted profits tax, which built on this legislation, is the most advanced multinational tax avoidance legislation in the OECD. It is having the results you expect: when you crack down on tax avoidance, you get less tax avoidance. That's precisely what we've done. The bottom line is that our multinational tax avoidance law has allowed the Australian Taxation Office to identify 38 large companies that have brought or are bringing their sales to Australian customers onshore, where tax will be realised, in response to our tough new laws. As a result, the expert advice from the ATO is it expects that an additional $7 billion in income each year will be returned to the Australian tax base. That's action on multinational tax avoidance. That's ensuring everybody pays their fair share of tax.

It is remarkable: when the opposition could have stood up and said, 'Yes, we agree, we're all on a unity ticket; everyone should pay their fair share of tax,' what did they do? They voted against it. It's yet another example of why Australians cannot trust the Leader of the Opposition. He stands up here and talks about companies paying tax and paying the right share of tax, and then, when he had the opportunity to vote for those tough anti-avoidance laws which are delivering $7 billion a year to the corporate tax base in Australia, that was done by the government in the face of opposition from the Labor Party. They have no credibility on tax, no credibility on economics. They cannot be trusted with Australians' money.