Senate debates

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Business

Consideration of Legislation

3:02 pm

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | Hansard source

we are committed to delivering income tax relief to hardworking families and we want the government's long-term plan to be legislated in full and unamended. Earlier today the Senate decided to move an amendment to our bill for providing income tax relief to hardworking families. That means, in order for us to deal conclusively with this bill this week, it needs to go back to the House of Representatives and it needs to have time to come back to the Senate for final determination.

Obviously, we've had some debate on this now. The truth is that we could have debate on this for another couple of weeks. That would not change the mind of the Labor Party, it would not change the mind of the Greens and it would not change the mind of Senator Storer. Everybody knows what their position is in relation to this bill. Obviously, we have taken into account the feedback that we've received from senators across the chamber. There was no appetite for extended hours tonight and there was no appetite for extended hours tomorrow, so there is only one way we can deal with the bill this week, given that it has to go back to the House of Representatives, where the government will not be supporting the amendment that was passed by the Senate. The only way we can deal with this efficiently this week so that we can provide certainty to hardworking families around Australia about the income tax relief that they deserve is by now moving this motion in the terms that have been circulated in the chamber.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate is about to stand up and be completely outraged about what the government is doing here. She, of course, was part of a government that moved motions to limit debate or guillotine or gag debate on no fewer than 188 occasions—including 53 times in one week! The Labor Party government that Senator Wong was a party to, the government that Senator Wong was a senior minister in, gagged debate on 188 occasions and gagged debate on 53 occasions in one week. Many of their bills were passed without any debate at all, supported by the Greens. I remember when Senator Bob Brown, the then leader of the Greens, participated in the first gag.

The truth is that this is a very important economic reform. This is a very important reform for working families around Australia. This is about the government, the Senate and the parliament as a whole making sure that working families around Australia can keep more of their own money, don't go backwards and are not on the receiving end of bracket creep. We have the opportunity to legislate in full this week the seven-year long-term plan that the government announced in the budget for working families. I call on all senators who support this personal income tax cut getting legislated this week. I call on all senators who want to see working families around Australia keep more of their own money so that low- and middle-income earners can have some relief from cost-of-living pressures and so that all working Australians get the right incentive, the right encouragement and the right reward for effort to ensure that they are not on the receiving end of bracket creep and there is not this drag on economic growth moving forward that comes with bracket creep. I call on every senator who supports this bill and supports the efficient passage of this bill through the parliament as a whole to support this suspension and to support the procedural motions that will follow so that the Senate can deal with this bill conclusively today so it can go back to the House of Representatives, where the government will reject the amendment that was passed by the Senate this morning, and so that the Senate has the opportunity to conclusively deal with this bill here in the Senate tomorrow so we can all go home this weekend, having delivered for working families around Australia.

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