Senate debates

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws — Superannuation) Bill 2008; Tax Laws Amendment (Medicare Levy Surcharge Thresholds) Bill 2008; National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical and Other Benefits — Cost Recovery) Bill 2008; Tax Laws Amendment (Luxury Car Tax) Bill 2008; a New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition — General) Amendment Bill 2008; a New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition — Customs) Amendment Bill 2008; a New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition — Excise) Amendment Bill 2008; Excise Legislation Amendment (Condensate) Bill 2008; Excise Tariff Amendment (Condensate) Bill 2008; National Fuelwatch (Empowering Consumers) Bill 2008; National Fuelwatch (Empowering Consumers) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2008; Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 3) Bill 2008; Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Political Donations and Other Measures) Bill 2008

Referral to Committees

3:50 pm

Photo of Chris EllisonChris Ellison (WA, Liberal Party, Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

It does. The government stands charged with misleading the Australian community in saying that this will cost $177 million of lost revenue to the taxpayer. What that is saying is that this bill, as such, will cost that amount of money if not passed by the end of the month. The government has not looked very far, because you can just amend this bill to allow it to recapture the excise for a longer period and to allow for this scrutiny—for the industries and the companies concerned to make submissions to the committee—and you could still have no loss of revenue. There is absolutely no basis at all to the argument that there would be lost revenue or that this will cost taxpayers money.

What we have on the other side of the ledger is a measure which could well see inflation in relation to the price of gas, increased taxation on gas, a clean energy—and this is a government which talks about greenhouse emissions and clean energy. Here we have a further tax being placed on gas. This is of essential importance to all Australians and also for foreign investment, which has brought much prosperity to this country.

We also have Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 3) Bill 2008. That again was another piece of legislation which was not an election policy. This is a bill in response to a 2007 High Court decision known as McNeil’s case. It is a complex piece of legislation and one which merits close attention. It is not one that I think most senators would be across, nonetheless it deserves that scrutiny. As I said at the outset, we have agreed to three packages being referred to Senate committees for the scrutiny that can be offered in the fortnight that allows that and that they are time critical. But with these bills we do not accept that there is the cost involved that the government says. We reject that totally. We do not accept that they are time critical. We believe that they are of such importance that the Australian community deserves an opportunity—and especially those stakeholders who have an interest—to make submissions to the Senate committees. The July-August break provides a golden opportunity for that to be done. The coalition have a proud record in referring matters to committees.


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