Senate debates

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Bills

Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2014; Reference to Committee

1:16 pm

Photo of Stephen ConroyStephen Conroy (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

Pursuant to standing order 115(2)(a), I move:

That the Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2014 be referred to the Economics Legislation Committee for consideration and report by 23 October 2014.

I have a whole range of reasons for this motion. Most importantly, however, it is so we can understand what filthy deal has been done. So far we here in parliament are learning more from tweets than we are from the chamber, the minister involved and the PUP Senators who have once again been mugged and conned by this government.

This is a government that promised no surprises. This is a government which is a shambles. I saw the Treasurer in the chamber just before shaking hands. After his debacle at his party room meeting this morning, when the Prime Minister of Australia, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the senior Western Australia minister slapped him down for attacking Colin Barnett, we can understand why he is so desperate to get any sort of win over any piece of legislation.

This chamber deserves and is entitled to understand exactly what these measures do. There may have been a few nice cups of tea between Senator Lazarus and Mr Hockey, but that does not suffice as parliamentary debate. He may have been so willing to give you whatever it is that you think you have got, Senator Lazarus, but it is incumbent upon you to come into this chamber and explain to the Australian public, in more than a two- or three-minute speech, what you think the impacts here are. You have to justify and explain to the seven million to eight million Australians receiving superannuation why they are now getting less superannuation because of PUP. PUP needs to explain why that is the case.

Senator Lazarus interjected before. He said that they want the money now. If they want the money now, why are you repealing the low-income superannuation contribution? Why are you repealing the income support bonus? Why are you repealing the schoolkids bonus? You are trying to pretend that you are keeping them for a while, but you say yourself that the Australian public needs the money now. You know who the last person was who said something like that when it came to superannuation? His name was Norm Gallagher. Norm Gallagher opposed superannuation payments in the 1980s because, he said, 'The workers need them now.' So you are up there with Norm Gallagher with your vision and your understanding of superannuation.

Australia's superannuation scheme is considered worldwide to be a gold star superannuation scheme that ensures that Australians do not need to live in poverty and do not need government contributions into the future in order to live. All around the world people look at our superannuation system and give it a big tick. But we have the Norm Gallagher approach from Senator Lazarus, who says, 'No, the people need the money now'—and then he cuts a whole bunch of benefits to ordinary Australians. The hypocrisy of this position genuinely needs to be explained. To support the gag and to do the deal on the amendments is one thing, but to vote against sending this to committee is an entirely different standard.

Senator Xenophon has quoted Senator Minchin, but that does not matter to PUP. You go into your party room and allegedly have disputes. Maybe you even compare notes with Mr Hockey about what it is like to have a fight in your party room on a given day. I do not know what is behind this. But these amendments deserve to be scrutinised. They do not deserve to be shoved through the Senate as if it were a sausage machine. There is no difference if you are supporting these amendments. You should not be afraid to have these amendments put through a Senate committee so that the parliament and the people of Australia can absolutely understand. What are you afraid of in PUP? Why are you afraid of scrutiny? Why do you want to put these amendments through this morning? Why cannot they go, as per this motion I have moved, to a Senate committee?

Apparently the Prime Minister has already booked the blue room and Mr Hockey is desperate for a win this morning to cover his debacle of a performance in the party room. You, PUP, are going to be complicit in covering up what Mr Hockey has been up to this morning. Why cannot this chamber have an examination of these amendments for a few weeks?

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