Senate debates

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers


4:02 pm

Linda White (Victoria, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Senator Gallagher gave a very comprehensive set of answers to the question she was asked about tax. She also detailed an amazingly important set of priorities and the way in which this government is going to go about looking at the $1 trillion of debt that has ben inherited and the deficits of around $200 billion across the forward estimates per year. In those answers she detailed extensively the tests that the government is going through, looking at the various measures, seeing whether they stack up, seeing whether they meet the quality test of being needed and whether they can be delivered. It was comprehensive and it was studied and measured. She talked about priorities and how we are going to have to return money to the budget because of that $1 trillion in debt and the cost of servicing that debt.

The analysis Senator Gallagher gave in question time also gave her an opportunity to talk about the Albanese government's plan to fix the budget and deliver on our promises—promises that won us government; we won the election. And in what she detailed and what we detail, we've been very clear about our position on tax, and that has not changed. Our priority when it comes to tax reform is ensuring that multinationals pay their fair share of tax here in Australia. What is wrong with that? Nothing is wrong with that. It is clear policy. It was outlined during the election campaign. We won the election. And what Senator Gallagher has said is that we are going to do that.

The last government was one of the second highest taxing governments in the past 30 years, behind the Howard government. It's pretty rich that we're sitting here listening to questions about tax cuts from people who were in the second highest taxing government in the past 30 years. What Senator Gallagher spoke about and what we're very proud of on this side of the chamber is the government's electric car discount, which will help make electric cars cheaper and more affordable to families by reducing tariffs and fringe benefit tax liabilities. But the coalition is opposing this tax cut for families and small businesses, so we get questions about tax cuts. Yet here we have a policy which we took to the election, which is quite clear, which has been spelt out time and time again, and yet the coalition, who says that they are for tax cuts and that they don't what new taxes, will not support a tax cut for families and small businesses in relation to the electric car discount.

Let's look at that. The electric car discount has a two components. It will remove five per cent tariffs for eligible cars with a customs value falling below the luxury car tax threshold for fuel-efficient vehicles, which in 2023 is $84,916. It will also provide an exemption from fringe benefits tax for eligible cars below the luxury car tax threshold for fuel-efficient vehicles. Two things in one. It's good for the environment and it's great for families and for small businesses. That is what we're going to deliver.

We are also going to do is, in a responsible way, look at the budget line by line to see what fits the bill and what can be afforded, and, as the senator outlined, to find all the things that have been hidden by the former government, which are there sneakily and which were unfunded. This is what the responsible government does and that is what was outlined in the answer to this question. Rightly, it takes time, and time has been taken. Certainly, looking at the questions that were asked, the senator made absolutely fantastic points, was clear and absolutely stood by the policies that won this government the election.


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