Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Questions without Notice
The Senate today voted to help build a stronger economy, a more prosperous economy and to create more jobs. This is a good day for Australia because the ill-thought out mining tax, introduced through a bad process by the previous government, was always a bad tax. It was a tax that inappropriately targeted an important industry for Australia—the mining industry.
A strong mining industry is important for Australia because it will help us be the strongest economy that we can be. It will help us to continue to attract additional investment and generate additional jobs. The mining tax was not only a policy failure because it was complex, distorting, inefficient, costly to comply with and costly to administer; it was also a tax that did not raise any revenue. It was a tax that we were told would raise $ 4 billion in year 1, but the $200 million it raised is progressively being repaid. We are already behind. We are behind when it comes to the money that the mining tax has raised—after administration costs there is nothing left. The previous government attached to this tax all sorts of unfunded spending promises and unfunded budget measures with an increasing cost over time.
Today the Senate, by voting to repeal the mining tax as amended by the Senate, has helped us to build a stronger economy and create more jobs, and it has also helped to repair the budget mess that the previous Labor government left behind. Not only did the previous Labor government come up with a tax that did not raise any revenue—like the pub without beer, we have the mining tax without money—this is also the government that, before it had raised a single dime, had already spent it all and more. Today what the Senate has done is to ensure that we can put the budget on a more sustainable footing for the future. The agreement that was reached and the consensus that was reached with the majority of senators is good news for Australia. (Time expired)
Getting rid of the mining tax will help us build a stronger economy and create more jobs, which will generate more revenue for government over time. As well as creating more opportunities for people across Australia to get a job, it will also deliver more revenue for government over time because more profitable companies will deliver more company tax revenue for government.
Today the Senate voted to improve our budget bottom line over the current forward estimates by just over $10 billion—that is $6.5 billion less over the forward estimates than we would have liked, but the Senate also agreed to some further changes. Delaying the future increases in compulsory super will help us recoup that increased cost over the current forward estimates in a 5½-year period beyond the forward estimates. That means that by the end of 2023 this budget— (Time expired)
The government is not actually aware of any policy from the alternative government. The Leader of the Opposition went into Western Australia—nudge, nudge, wink, wink—suggesting that the Labor Party these days does not really support the mining tax that was introduced by former Treasurer Swan, but in this chamber again today the Labor Party kept voting to keep the mining tax in place.
In the lead-up to the next election the Labor Party will have some decisions to make. Will they campaign in the lead-up to the next election to reintroduce the mining tax: yes or no? Will they campaign to reinstate or to continue the various measures that we have extended till 31 December 2016 and till 30 June 2017? Will the Labor Party campaign in the lead-up to the next election to continue those measures in place, as they have indicated in the chamber today? If so, where is the money coming from, because we are still dealing with $123 billion in projected deficits that Labor left behind when they lost government and we are still dealing with a trajectory taking us to $667 billion of debt? Show us where the money is coming from. (Time expired)