Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Treasurer. How is the Morrison government's proven record of cutting taxes and providing investment incentives helping to safeguard our economy's rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic? Is the Treasurer aware of any alternative policies?
I thank the member for Lindsay for her question and acknowledge she is a champion for Western Sydney and for manufacturing in her area. There are more than 14,000 businesses in her electorate that are benefitting and able to be eligible for the expanded instant asset write-off, like Da-Mell air conditioning, which used that tax incentive to purchase a new ute and new tools.
Last year we were facing economic Armageddon. There was some forecast that unemployment could reach as high as 15 per cent. Today unemployment is actually lower than when we came to government. We have seen small-business tax rates come down to their lowest level in 50 years. In the last three months, we saw tax relief of more than $10 billion to 11 million Australians. That is the product, that is the dividend of having a strong economy.
I'm asked: are there any alternative policies? We've talked about some of the big ideas from the Leader of the Opposition in this place before.
In terms of the standing orders that require ministers to be answering about their portfolios, are we in a situation now where they only have to give one minute on their portfolio, and two-thirds of the answer is then a sledge against the other side?
No. Previous rulings have been made by previous Speakers about preambles and about what can be at the beginning of the question and how much has to be about the substance of the question.
The Leader of the Opposition has some big ideas. I'll tell you what one big idea was: a national driver's licence. That was going to revolutionise transport and travel across Australia. You could go from Melbourne to Sydney with the same licence. For phase 2 of the program maybe you could get to Brisbane as well! The Leader of the Opposition has described himself as an economist-by-training. So what was his second big idea? A $6 billion cash splash to people who've already had the jab. Now the shadow finance minister said the time has passed for that, but the policy is still on Labor's website. The self-described economist-by-training had to go back to the textbooks. He had to come up with his third big idea and he went—oh no. Stop the clock!
The third big idea, the third alternative policy—we found it. The Leader of the Opposition did a doorstop where he was talking about his electric vehicle policy, and he said, 'Labor will make electric vehicles cheaper by removing the excise.' There's only one technical problem with that. There's no fuel excise on electric vehicles! That's the point. They don't use fuel; they go by electricity. So concerned is the Leader of the Opposition about his credentials on taxes, he wants to abolish a tax that doesn't even exist. We have a Leader of the Opposition who's not trained as an economist. We have a Leader of the Opposition who's on training wheels.