Senate debates

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2013; Second Reading

1:56 pm

Photo of Deborah O'NeillDeborah O'Neill (NSW, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I am pleased to rise to speak to the bill before the House, the Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2013. I want to put on the record some fundamental differences between the Labor Party's attitude towards the wealth of this nation and the attitude of those opposite. Fundamental to Labor values is the belief that Australians deserve a fair share of the wealth generated by the minerals they own. This belief is the founding principle of Labor's minerals resource rent tax—a profit based tax that ensures revenue is reflective of mining companies' profitability. It allows for a lower tax rate during the construction phase to encourage and stimulate investment and to ensure high returns when the ventures become profitable. That is in the interest of all Australians. Let me state again: Labor's fundamental belief is that all Australians, not just some wealthy Australians, deserve a fair share of the wealth generated by the minerals they own. This is why revenue under the MRRT is currently low. As envisaged in its design, the MRRT seeks to stimulate growth in the mining industry so that both mineral companies and the Australian public can benefit from the wealth generated by that growth when the company profits are high.

The government's position on the MRRT is self-deluding. They criticise the tax as being too low and then, in the same breath, ironically describe it as a huge impediment to growth in the sector. They simply cannot have it both ways. This legislation proves the coalition is clearly opposed to Australians receiving a fair share. It is a testament to all that is wrong with this Abbott government. This government is so bereft of principles and lacking in common decency that it seeks to rip away support from those in society most in need of it to favour those who need it the least. It is almost as if this Abbott government regime is set on introducing a form of reverse class warfare.

Listening to members opposite walk out their tired lines and sound bites, a vain attempt to justify the unjustifiable, the Australian public can bear witness to the perverse set of priorities that fixate the Abbott regime. Gifting billions of dollars to multinational corporations while ripping away the Australian public's birthright of benefiting from the wealth generated by their own mineral assets is simply a reproachable attitude. Having introduced legislation to cut tens of billions of tax dollars by repealing the carbon price and the MRRT, having ripped away that source of support for the Australian economy, the Abbott government now has the cheek to cry poor. In seeking to recoup these foregone billions through its legislation, the coalition has moved to attack the incomes of Australian workers, Australian families and Australian small businesses.

Debate interrupted.


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