Senate debates

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Business

Consideration of Legislation

4:43 pm

Photo of Penny WongPenny Wong (SA, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

What we've just seen is the deal that I referenced. I want to make clear what this deal means. It means the Senate is seeking to bind its own hands so as not to insist on the removal of step 3. I ask those senators who supported amendments from the opposition and Senator Storer to remove step 3 of the tax package, for the reasons which were discussed this morning, to consider that they have just agreed to a motion to prevent this Senate from insisting that the amendments stand. What they have copped instead is a deal which simply says each of us can have a chat about it.

We weren't sent here to have a chat and a cup of tea, actually. We were sent here to legislate. This amendment that those opposite are now saying we cannot insist upon is to remove step 3, which is the part of the package that does not start until 2024, that overwhelmingly advantages high-income earners, that is growing at 12 per cent a year in terms of the cost of the package and that will fundamentally undermine Australia's progressive taxation system. That is the amendment that the majority of the Senate—the government and some of the crossbench—is today saying this Senate cannot insist upon. I would ask the crossbench to reflect upon the wisdom of going down this path. Whatever one's view about the content, to prevent the Senate from insisting is a very poor precedent, indeed.

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