Senate debates

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Matters of Public Importance


4:30 pm

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

I have obviously hit a raw nerve. Senator Dastyari seems very agitated. The Greens took carriage of that bill, as we did for the tax transparency bills, and we opposed the tax cuts for millionaires in this parliament for the simple reason that we know we have rising inequality in this country. We as a parliament owe it to the Australian people, to those who are less well-off in this country, to at every chance call out inequality, and legislation that adds to inequality, and do everything we possibly can to combat that. That is why my party, the Greens, has taken a consistent stance to always oppose tax cuts for millionaires, as we will for any future legislation.

We have also put up some very positive policy solutions to raise revenue—none less so than this week in which this parliament, which I never would have thought possible even six months ago, passed legislation taxing the big banks. That is right. We have gone to the big end of town, some of the most profitable banks in the world, to raise billions of dollars to pay for schools and hospitals. We know the track record of this Liberal government in the last four years has been zombie cuts targeted at the most vulnerable in this country—pensioners, students, the unemployed, the sick and the elderly. Well, we managed to get money off the big banks.

But guess who are throwing mud every chance they get at taking money off the big banks? It is the last question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Yes, it is the Labor Party again. They are throwing mud at the first opportunity that I have seen in my time in parliament to get legislation up and put in place to take money off big, powerful corporations—$5 billion to $6 billion to help pay for schools and hospitals. So if we are going to be consistent today let's not forget that the Greens are in this parliament and in the Senate to hold big politics to account when they get in bed with big business.


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