Tuesday, 18 March 2014
Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2013; Second Reading
Senator Wong—through you, Mr Acting Deputy President—has there been a circumstance when you have walked away from your responsibility in the chamber? I say to the people of Western Australia: if you want to confirm the mandate that Western Australia so richly gave the Prime Minister in September, the mandate to remove the carbon tax and the mining tax, then in April you must return at least three Liberal senators. I say to the Labor opposition: you must cease standing in the way of the repeal of the mining tax and the carbon tax. We have to have a circumstance in which, in this Senate, we can do the business of the people.
In Tasmania last week, we saw the decision of the Tasmanian people. They want to see a return to growth, a return to industry, a return to economics, a return to optimism. One of the reasons I sold my own business in the state of Tasmania, in the year 2000, was that I was so depressed by the lack of optimism. Young parents who worked for me were saying, 'I've got to leave the island for the mainland because I've got children in primary school and, if I don't get out of the island, what am I going to give them for their future?' We want to see Tasmania lifted, as I know everybody does.
I will address the question that Senator Polley asked, and that is: where is the distribution of the wealth? Let me give you these figures quickly, Mr Acting Deputy President Whish-Wilson, and they relate to the GST distribution. The state of Western Australia is contributing a net $15.5 billion, and that is $6,447 per person. New South Wales is contributing a net $2 billion, which is $300 per person. Victoria is contributing $1.3 billion, or $235 per person. As opposed to that, the state of Tasmania is a recipient of $3.4 billion, which is $6,600 per person—roughly equivalent to the per person amount that Western Australians are contributing. So there is Senator Polley's square-up; there is the equalisation process. South Australia is a recipient of $5.1 billion, or $4,000 per person. Queensland at the moment receives $6 billion, which is $1,270 per person—and I know very well that Queensland is looking forward to the repeal of this mining tax so that we can get the place running again.
In the final minutes available to me, I will refer to those people with a rich background in the Labor Party who are urging Mr Shorten and his colleagues to do the right thing—that is, to join us in repealing the tax. These include Mr Martin Ferguson, one of the most highly respected people in the resources sector; past Prime Minister Rudd; Mr Graham Richardson; and Mr Paul Howes. Only this morning Mr Mark Olson from the nurses union— (Time expired)