House debates

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Questions without Notice


2:02 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. When talking about the government's handout to big business yesterday, the finance minister promised, 'The moment will come when this parliament will have to revisit this proposal.' Isn't it the case that, no matter what this panicked government does or whoever leads it, the Australian people know that handouts are in the DNA of this government? Given that the Prime Minister is pretending to dump his signature policy to hang onto his job, when are they going to dump him?

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

I thank the honourable member for his question about DNA. Clearly, he must share some of that DNA as well, because only a few years ago he said that cutting the company income tax rate increases domestic productivity and domestic investment. More capital, he said, means higher productivity and economic growth, and leads to more jobs and higher wages. Well, despite our political differences, it may be that there's a little bit of DNA shared between us.

The reality is that we took our Enterprise Tax Plan to the election. We won the election. We were able, despite many naysayers, to legislate that part of it that delivers lower taxes for small and medium companies—overwhelmingly. Australian owned family companies. That is already driving record jobs growth in our country. It's driving strong economic growth, stronger than any of the biggest economies, with 3.1 per cent GDP growth. And last year we saw over 400,000 jobs created.

Now, that is delivering. But the reality is that the iron laws of arithmetic, which everyone pays attention to here, they are—

Opposition Members:

Opposition members interjecting

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

I'm glad you woke up! You were half asleep! The iron laws of arithmetic dictate that we have not been able to get the rest of the tax plan through the Senate. We do not foresee any change in public sentiment on this matter and, accordingly, we will not be taking the larger company tax cuts policy to the next election.

Australia needs to have competitive taxes. There is no question about that, and the time will come, no doubt, when people on the other side of the House will go back to reading the member for McMahon's book on that very subject. But the reality is that in this place we have to live with what we can work through the Senate and this is something we have not been able to achieve.

In terms of tax, it's very clear where the line is between us and Labor. Labor wants higher taxes; we're for lower taxes and we're delivering lower taxes. Labor wants to go after the savings of retirees; we are defending them. Labor wants higher energy prices; we're delivering lower energy prices. Labor wants to have less investment; we want to have more investment. What that means is that Labor's economic policies mean less investment, fewer jobs and lower wages. That is why Labor is such a threat to the Australian economy and why thousands of Australian businesses and millions of Australian families are threatened by Labor's absolute, reckless disregard for looking after the workers it claims to represent.