Wednesday, 28 March 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. A leaked draft of the statement from the Business Council reveals that big business refused to commit to 'increased wages' if the Senate passed the Prime Minister's $65 billion handout. When big business won't commit to increased wages, why is the Prime Minister so committed to giving big business a $65 billion handout?
To quote one of the honourable member's heroines, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, she said right here in 2012:
If you are against cutting company tax, you are against economic growth.
That's what she said. She also said:
If you are against economic growth, then you are against jobs.
That's right. And what about the elder statesman Paul Keating? At his policy launch in 1993, he said:
We lowered the company tax rate from 39 per cent to 33—
that was a lot, six per cent—
providing Australian industry with a business tax system competitive with any in the world.
This is where the energy will come from. And we will do everything we can to stimulate it and, where necessary, provide strategic support.
When Paul Keating said that, when Julia Gillard said that, and when the Leader of the Opposition, the member for McMahon and the members for Lilley and Fenner all said the same thing, they weren't relying on the altruism of company directors any more than we are. We rely on the economic logic that has prevailed through both sides of politics until very recently: that if you increase the incentives for businesses to invest then they will invest more. If they invest more, as the Leader of the Opposition said on one occasion, you get higher productivity, more jobs, and higher wages. It's pretty obvious.
So I would leave the honourable member opposite just to reflect on the wisdom of her heroine, Julia Gillard. If you're against cutting company tax, you're against economic growth. If you're against economic growth then you're against jobs. So it follows that the member for Sydney and her leader and all her colleagues there are against economic growth and against jobs. I will tell you: the government is for economic growth and it is for jobs, more jobs and better paid jobs.