Senate debates

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers


3:14 pm

Photo of Zed SeseljaZed Seselja (ACT, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation) Share this | Hansard source

I've got to confess I made a new year's resolution and I think I'm going to regret it. The resolution was: every time the Labor Party tells a lie, I'm going to respond by telling the truth. I feel that it's going to keep me very, very busy, based on Senator Watt's contribution. I'm going to address two or three of the untruths that he said. He was just parroting, of course, his union masters: Sally McManus, from the ACTU, and other unions, like the CFMEU.

In Senator Watt's contribution—and we're going to call him out every time; we're going to call out Labor every time they tell a porky, whether it's in this place or anywhere else—he said casualisation is increasing. That's what the ACTU and the Labor Party say and it's what Senator Watt said. Well, actually, the rate of casualisation is not increasing; it's been steady for the last two decades at around 25 per cent. The Fair Work Commission agrees, noting that last year the level of casual employment had not significantly changed since the enactment of the Fair Work Act. So there's porky No. 1. Every time the ACTU or their puppets here in the Senate and in the House of Representatives repeat that lie we'll call it out. It's a lie; it's not true. The Australian people need to know that it's not true.

Another one that came from Senator Watt—again parroting Sally McManus, his union master—is that the use of labour hire is increasing. Not true! The proportion of people employed through a labour hire firm has been broadly stable at around one to two per cent over the past decade. That comes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Characteristics of Employment Survey. So you can believe Senator Watt, parroting Sally McManus, who says, 'The law doesn't apply to us'—the truth apparently doesn't apply to Sally McManus or to Senator Watt when he comes into this place—or you can believe the ABS, who say that in fact it is not true.

I will deal with another untruth put forward by Senator Watt in his motion to take note of answers, which was in many ways the more damaging lie, but I will just make one other point on casualisation. There were 400,000 jobs created last year, around 80 per cent of them full time. So not only has it not changed significantly over the last 25 years; we've got record jobs growth, and that record jobs growth includes 80 per cent—the vast majority—that are full-time jobs. That is outstanding news and completely debunks what was put forward by the senator.

I would point out that the other just as significant, and perhaps more significant, untruth that is being put forward by the Labor Party and Senator Watt is that you can keep taxes high and the economy will still grow. You can keep taxes high, according to the Labor Party, and of course it will have no impact on jobs and no impact on wages. Not one credible economist would agree with that statement—not one credible economist. The economics of this are clear: if you want to increase taxes, as the Labor Party does—$160 billion in additional taxes on mum and dad investors; more taxes on renters; and more taxes on mum and dad small businesses, effectively a tax on workers—what will it do? If the Labor Party's policies were implemented, what would they do? They would put downward pressure on wages and see fewer Australians in work. They would see businesses laying off workers. And now we get the suggestion, in today's questions from Senator Watt and others, that there should now be a tax on revenue. That is the implication of the line of questioning from the Labor Party. They are now suggesting one of two things. One is that, if you've got a lot of revenue, you should pay tax; it shouldn't be profit based. We believe that tax should be paid by companies on their profits. We believe that lowering profit based taxes on companies increases the number of jobs in our economy, increases wages and increases prosperity. But the other implication of what the Labor Party are suggesting is somehow that, if companies make losses, they shouldn't be able to offset them against future earnings. That again would have dangerous implications for our economy.

In conclusion, we're going to call out the lies. If Senator Watt and others are going to come in here and make up claims about casualisation of the workforce that are not true, we're going to put the facts on the table every time and call them out so the Australian people can see that they are simply hollow— (Time expired)


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