Thursday, 2 September 2021
Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No. 2) Bill 2021; In Committee
[by video link] I have spoken on this, but I want to just make a quick comment about partisan statements being made around the chamber. I do acknowledge the work that Andrew Leigh has been doing on this, and I do believe the Labor Party are concerned about this. I think they made a tactical blunder when they backed down on the insistence, but I don't doubt their commitment related to this issue.
I am also very surprised that One Nation are not supporting it. They have brought transparency measures to the chamber before which I and others have supported. This seems very much at odds with some of their past conduct. This JobKeeper rorting—and that's what it has been—means companies have taken advantage of the goodwill and the lack of prudential safeguards from the Treasurer to basically loot money from the taxpayer. There's a saying that the thing that people who operate in dark places fear the most is light. That's what we're trying to do in relation to this—shine a little bit of light on exactly what is going on here.
I won't go into private conversations, but Senator Hanson did indicate she was going to support this. She did call me later to say that she was proposing an amendment, so she was upfront with me. I didn't see the amendment until just prior to this bill being debated. I think it is a dud amendment. It basically requires disclosure where disclosure is already required in relation to publicly listed companies.
I would like to, through you, Chair—and I know that Senator Roberts has indulged me in the past in relation to this—ask a couple of questions of Senator Roberts about his amendment. The first one goes to the fact that this amendment doesn't include foreign owned subsidiaries. I point to an article in the AFR by Michael Roddan on 3 August that talks about Consolidated Minerals booking $1.8 million in JobKeeper, with no loss in profit. It's a company that's well known for transfer pricing back to its Chinese owned parents through a tax haven. I just wonder why it is that One Nation has decided to exclude foreign subsidiaries—that is, companies that are operating in Australia with an ABN but are a subsidiary of a foreign company and are not listed on the Australian stock market—from this disclosure requirement. I would be grateful if Senator Roberts could answer that question.