Senate debates

Monday, 19 March 2012

Bills

Minerals Resource Rent Tax Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — General) Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Customs) Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Excise) Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax Assessment Amendment Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — General) Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Customs) Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Excise) Bill 2011, Tax Laws Amendment (Stronger, Fairer, Simpler and Other Measures) Bill 2011, Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Amendment Bill 2011; Second Reading

8:38 pm

Photo of Michael RonaldsonMichael Ronaldson (Victoria, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Veterans' Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

Of course they want double taxation. It is a word that has not been used a lot in the last two or three years but tonight's speech was a classic case of why the Australian Greens are called 'watermelons': because they are green on the outside and pink on the inside. It was a most remarkable speech that we heard tonight. I will not take up the invitation of my very good friend on the other side to take that matter further.

Before I go back to the debate on this matter, I just want to remind Senator Brown, who referred to costings and economic responsibility, of what has happened under the Australian Labor Party. The last four budgets have delivered deficits of $167 billion. In one financial year the presumed deficit, on my understanding, went from $12 billion to $23 billion and then was revised out to $37 billion, all in one year—and Senator Brown had the gall to talk about the coalition's economic credentials. I am pleased that my colleague Senator Wong was in the chamber tonight because the document that was referred to by Senator Brown was a document prepared by the Australian Labor Party. If you have a look at the little red book, the new little red book, you will see that there is not one reference to Treasury having looked at these figures—not one reference at all. This is the Labor Party's little red book where they have allegedly made up deficit figures on behalf of the coalition. We just do not fall for that at all. We also know, and Senator Brown should be aware, that if indeed there is a surplus in May, and you cannot imagine there will not be a surplus announced, it will be a complete and utter manufactured surplus. I heard the other day from a university, not in my home state, that money that has been allocated has been brought forward into this year when sods have not been turned and it is doubtful whether there have even been contracts signed. We know it is going to be shonky, we know it will be a trick surplus and we know that in 2013-14 it will be back to business as usual for the Australian Labor Party.

I want to look at some of this money shuffling and spending forward or back out of 2012-13. In fact, Labor is boasting about spending, to the tune of $100 billion, that is either unfunded or hidden off budget. It is a real $100 billion black hole. Leading examples include the hiding of the bulk of the NBN Co. spending from ditches to cable by treating $27 billion as equity injections to the NBN Co. Equity injections! This is just a manufactured surplus. Labor's Clean Energy Finance Corporation costing $2 billion over five years has been taken off budget. Labor is spending $1 billion each year for its Energy Security Fund, except in 2012-13 when spending will be less than $1 million. Since 2009 the Labor Party has been promising more than $30 billion for purchasing submarines, but not one cent has yet been put into the forward estimates. And we know that if the current European carbon price persists we could face a huge revenue loss of between $3 billion and $5 billion a year. So we do not need a lecture from Senator Brown about our economic credentials. He should be directing that to the Australian Labor Party. They are indeed the ones who have failed abysmally in appropriate economic management of this country.

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