Senate debates

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Bills

Tax Laws Amendment (Combating Multinational Tax Avoidance) Bill 2015; In Committee

4:43 pm

Photo of Peter Whish-WilsonPeter Whish-Wilson (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I ask the senator to withdraw that. I am not a con man.

The CHAIRMAN: Again, I remind senators that they do have numerous opportunities to contribute to the debate but now is not the time. When Senator Whish-Wilson concludes his remarks, that is the time.

Let us talk about respect. Let us talk about respect and integrity. The Labor Party sent an email around today to their supporters, and I have read it as have other people in the Greens. We are sending it to ABC to have it fact checked at the moment because we want someone impartial to look at this—

Senator Conroy interjecting—

Let me tell you, Senator Conroy, if you want to talk about respect and integrity the list of talking points that you have given speakers is also quite outrageous. It is totally misleading and lacks any factual basis. The Labor Party are saying that this legislation today lets the biggest multinationals—the biggest corporations—off the hook. It could not be further from the truth. We have put in place an outcome that companies over $200 million have to disclose their tax, so how that can be letting the biggest multinationals and the biggest corporations off the hook beats me, but let's let a third party decide.

Also, we have introduced a general purpose accounting standard which makes the biggest multinational corporations—under the definition in the original legislation that the Liberal Party have brought here—accountable with significant information. Once again, how that can be letting the biggest multinationals off the hook beats me. It is absolute BS. That is what it is. It is a lie and it has presumably gone out to thousands of Australians—

Senator Conroy interjecting—

I have been answering the phone calls, Senator Conroy, as have my fellow senators. We have been speaking to the callers as they have been coming in and letting them know—as triggered by the ALP—what the facts are and sending them more information. It is giving us an opportunity to put our side of the story straight and I think things are going pretty well in that respect. We have set the record straight, as we will continue to do so.

I will get back to the fact that the Greens would like to see some substantive debate in here on the legislation in front of us. We would like the Labor Party to explain why they are not going to support the introduction of general purpose accounting and why that is not important, especially in light of the key evidence the Senate inquiry has heard—the economics committee—about the loopholes that are used around special purpose accounting and the types of companies that have been getting away with blue murder. We would like the Labor Party to explain why they are not going to support that. We would like the Labor Party to explain why they are not going to support making 300 companies over $200 million declare their tax position.

The other thing that is totally misleading and deceptive in that email that has been going out from the Labor Party is that they are saying that we are letting 600 companies off the hook. Guess what? None of them are disclosing their tax now because you did not field a speaking list when the tax amendment—the kidnap bill—was before this house. You let it collapse and you did not call a division. You go back and check the tapes. I have got a copy of them—

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