Senate debates

Monday, 9 February 2015


Tax Laws Amendment (Research and Development) Bill 2013; Second Reading

8:03 pm

Photo of Kim CarrKim Carr (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader for Science) Share this | | Hansard source

At the start of the second reading debate on the Tax Laws Amendment (Research and Development) Bill 2013 I explained that Labor oppose this bill because it is not in the nation's interests. Senator Wang has circulated an amendment on behalf of the Palmer United Party, which will be debated if we actually reach the committee stage. I commend Senator Wang for seeking to alleviate some of the concerns that the Palmer United Party has identified about this bill. For instance, he and his colleagues felt that the government measure unfairly disadvantaged Australian firms over multinationals.

In respect of Senator Wang's concerns I, in fact, have even more serious concerns about the implications of what is being proposed in the Palmer United amendment. The Palmer United amendment would see the removal of the R&D tax incentive for all firms with expenditure over $100 million. In practice this means that, for companies thinking of investing in R&D in Australia, any expenditure above $100 million would not attract an incentive.

In a private briefing before the economics committee, Treasury officials admitted that there was no modelling available to show how many businesses would be affected by this $100 million cap. I repeat: no modelling for this measure has been undertaken. We have got no understanding of what impact this measure would have on whether firms would actually invest hundreds of millions of dollars in an R&D capacity in this country. We have no modelling, either, to indicate the longer term impacts on our economy or on jobs. In the same briefing Treasury estimated that the measure could affect up to 25 consolidated groupings of companies. The term 'consolidated grouping' means that diverse companies held by a common investment company will be treated as one single business entity. As such, when compared to their peers, smaller companies held within the larger group would be disadvantaged by the proposals. Quite frankly, that is not the only concern about this proposed amendment. Capping a firm's ability to claim spending of over $100 million will encourage companies to keep their R&D spending within this amount. Corporate behaviour will change and Australian companies will take the excess of their R&D offshore. This is a recipe for the exporting of job

Companies that particularly trade overseas will ensure that amounts over $100 million will be done in their facilities overseas.

There are also serious technical concerns with the bill, especially with regard to feedstock adjustments and clawback provisions. Taxation experts have told me that manufacturing businesses will potentially get a much lower benefit as a result of the amendment as it is currently drafted.

There is also the issue of retrospectivity. These measures are highly retrospective. That is why I will be moving an amendment, should we get into a committee stage, to limit the effect. When it comes to this issue, I urge my Senate colleagues to consider the implications of what is being proposed. The R&D cuts under this government will affect and reduce R&D spending in this country. (Time expired)

(Quorum formed)

8:11 pm

Photo of Christine MilneChristine Milne (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise tonight to speak on the Tax Laws Amendment (Research and Development) Bill 2013. The issue of research and development is one that for quite some time has been fraught in Australia. Under the previous government I made it very clear that the Greens were very supportive of maximising research and development in Australia. We are concerned that there had been a number of rorts in the system, so it was not carefully enough targeted.

In the previous government I conducted a round table and managed to get a number of businesses and research organisations in the room and it led to a good outcome. One of the issues that was raised, particularly for small and medium sized businesses, was the fact of cash flow—that they would like to be involved in more research and development and like to spend more on it but were unable to do so because they had to expend the money up-front and then wait for a year before they could claim it back. The issue for them was whether there was a mechanism that enabled them to claim it quarterly. That way it would not impact on their cash flow so adversely. That was the biggest issue for those engaged in accessing funding for research and development. As a result of that round table I put forward the proposition that there be quarterly payments. I indicate to the Senate that that is the amendment the Greens have to this bill. It is to enable businesses to maintain a reasonable cash flow by being able to anticipate what their likely rebate was going to be for research and development expenditure, and then be able to claim that on a quarterly basis.

My original strong opposition had been to large corporations being able to claim vast amounts of money for research and development when only one small aspect of a mine or of a particular construction or whatever might have been for research and development. They were able to virtually claim the whole lot back, which was grossly unfair. When talking to businesses, universities and other research institutions at the round table it was interesting to see the extent to which they were saying that with governments cutting back funding for research and development they now relied on some of the bigger corporations for access to research and development dollars so that they could then partner with the universities and other research institutions to develop a research hub. So you found that the dollars were actually being used in a way that you would like to actually support, in the sense that universities and their researchers, such as PhDs, are able to get funding for and be involved in research work.

Research and development in Australia is a lot more complicated than it might appear at first glance. It is something that I feel very strongly about. If we are going to move from a country with a 'dig it up and cut it down' economy to a country with an economy that is based on innovation, new technologies and a shift from that 'dig it up, cut it down and ship it away' attitude that Australia has been known for, we have to invest in education and we have to invest in research and development. It is absolutely critical.

That is why the Greens went to the election in 2013 with a plan to increase Australia's spending on R&D to three per cent of our GDP, both public and private. It was a fully costed policy. Since then, we have seen the government absolutely slash the funding for research and development across the board. The attack on science has been unprecedented. When you travel outside Australia, people find it extraordinary to see the attack on science funding and research funding. People cannot believe that the government turned on the CSIRO in the way that it did last year. It slashed over $100 million out of the CSIRO budget.

What we are seeing is a government which fails to recognise that, at the end of the mining boom—and let's recognise that that is what is happening—you have to have spent money in building up education and building up innovation, being able to not only sell product but also develop capacity here in Australia and also overseas. That has really been a major problem. My concern here is that the whole motivation for this change is not to improve R&D funding but to free up R&D funding to go back to the consolidated fund. That is clearly what is going on here. If this money was all targeted towards R&D then I would be much more positively predisposed. But, tragically, what I am seeing is yet another attempt by this government to slash research and development funding from Australian innovation. I would like to see that money kept in research and innovation in Australia. That is why I do not support what is, at first blush, an attempt to focus R&D funding. I do not like that an estimated $1.1 billion will go back into the government coffers. That is not something I want to see happen. I want to see that money spent on research and development.

If you have a look at the Global Innovation Index, you will see that Australia is slipping well behind. It is published by the World Intellectual Property Organization. It shows that we moved from 18th in 2010 to 21st in 2011 to 23rd in 2012. I do not know where we are up to now, but I can imagine we are slipping further and further behind. That is an absolute tragedy for the country.

I look around the world and see the challenges there are, particularly in converting from old energy sources to renewable energy sources and looking at new forms of sustainability, particularly in agriculture and the management of water systems. I know that Australia has fantastic research and a great capacity. We should be looking at exporting some of that intellectual property and capacity to be used elsewhere in the world and not keep focusing on propping up the coal industry and propping up BHP and its uranium mine in South Australia. Let's face it: this royal commission is no more than an attempt to prop up BHP's failing copper and uranium model at Olympic Dam.

We need to be making sure that we see the future in terms of the intellectual capacity we have in Australia. I cannot stand the idea that the government would attack research and development funding in order to bleed it back into the consolidated fund at exactly the same time as it is allowing a lot of these companies off the hook through tax evasion. I would much rather see the government—and I would work with any government on this—work to close these loopholes of tax evasion. We have seen a fair bit of that, with the latest example just today. There is a report out of Switzerland with leaked bank details. At least 300 Australian individuals and corporations are involved in fairly dubious tax arrangements through Swiss banking. I would rather see the government go after them and get that tax from people who should be paying it on their assessable income rather than bleeding funding out of research and development in order to put it back into the consolidated fund.

Let's maintain research and development funding. If the government would get up and say that they are going to maintain the funding then we would be open to talking about how better to direct it. But if they are going to bleed the funding out of research and development then I am not going to support this legislation, because this is something that the Greens feel very strongly about. I would urge that, when we get to the committee stage, if people are going to support this bill that they support the capacity for small- and medium-sized enterprises to be able to reclaim their expenditure in quarterly payments so that we can see those who would benefit most—those smaller enterprises—not have their cash flow really squeezed.

8:21 pm

Photo of Chris KetterChris Ketter (Queensland, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to oppose this bill. This bill is yet another illustration of the fact that this is a government that has run out of ideas when it comes to the future of our economy. When it comes to planning for jobs for the future, this government has nothing to add to the national debate. This is a government which is out of touch.

In my home state of Queensland, economic issues were very important to the results of the state election on 31 January. We are waiting to see the final result there, but it is quite clear to me that the voters in my home state rejected this ideological obsession with government cuts and privatisation for its own sake.

This is a government with twisted priorities and based on broken promises. I will talk further about that in my contribution later on. I also want to go some way further in the path of debunking the mythology that this is a government that is somehow closer to business, speaks for business and understands the business community, because we have seen illustrations of the fact that it is out of touch even in this particular area.

In terms of the background to my contribution, I just want to take the debate back to February 2013, when the then Prime Minister announced a new plan for Australian jobs in a package of measures designed to encourage innovation and stimulate investment. That package received widespread industry and community support. Central to that plan was a redirection of innovation funding to high-value projects that stood to benefit both larger and smaller firms. It is true to say that Labor government proposed to introduce a third tier to the eligibility requirements for the R&D tax incentive, with the result that very large companies with an aggregate Australian assessable income of $20 billion or more would no longer be able to claim the tax incentive. It was never intended by the Labor government that that would be a reduction in funding. It was never intended that those savings return to consolidated revenue, as the government is proposing today.

To illustrate that, I want to just take you back to that jobs plan which Labor had proposed, which illustrates the difference between the Labor approach and the approach of the coalition. There were three major strategies as part of that jobs plan: firstly, backing Australian industry to win more work at home, which consisted of, amongst other things, a new Australian industry participation authority to help businesses to build their capabilities and connections to win work on major projects; secondly, supporting Australian industry to win new business abroad, and amongst the initiatives under that heading there was the promise to invest more than $500 million in establishing up to 10 industry innovation precincts to drive business innovation and growth in areas of Australian competitive advantage; and, thirdly, helping Australian small and medium businesses to grow and create new jobs. In that area, amongst other things, there was a proposal for a new $350 million round of the Innovation Investment Fund to stimulate private investment in innovative Australian start-up companies.

Labor had a vision the Australian economy for the future and that stands in stark contrast to the approach that the coalition has taken, which is evidenced by the bill which is before us. The coalition has no coherent strategy when it comes to jobs. We are concerned that the government has failed to lay down that strategy for a shift from the resources boom to the jobs of the future, which are jobs in advanced manufacturing, creative industries and health. Instead, under this government, we are seeing the departure of the automotive industry from our shores and the potential loss of our submarine building industry, although we see some dramatic developments, apparent U-turns and interesting language being used in that space. We are also seeing a substantial decline in the manufacturing capability in our major centres and unemployment continuing to rise. I would categorise the approach of the current government as economic vandalism.

It is not only Labor that understands this paucity of ideas on the part of the coalition. The business community is also understanding that this government is seriously out of touch. I draw the Senate's attention to the Australian Institute of Company Directors' indicator of confidence. There was a report dated 5 November 2014, from which I quote:

Directors’ confidence in the Federal Coalition Government has slumped to its lowest level since its election in September 2013 and almost half of all directors rate the Government’s performance in its first year in office as “poor” or “very poor”, according to the latest Director Sentiment Index (DSI). …

The Australian Institute of Company Directors’ DSI is the only indicator measuring the opinions and future intentions of directors. It is based on a survey of 501 directors of private business, not-for-profit organisations and ASX-listed companies. …

Almost half of all directors believe the Government’s performance had a negative impact on their business decision-making and around 75 per cent believe it had a negative impact on consumer confidence. This continues a downward trend in sentiment that has been apparent since the Coalition took power last September. …

Directors nominate multinational tax arrangements as the top priority in any comprehensive review of the tax system, followed by reforms to state levies such as payroll tax. GST reform ranks as the third most important priority.

We have those damning comments and that research from the Australian Institute of Company Directors. We also have some commentary from the representatives of the small business sector. I refer to comments by Mr Peter Strong, the chief executive of the Council of Small Business in Australia. This is in respect of another decision made by the government. On 9 September last year, he is said to have expressed:

… extreme disappointment with the government following the decision announced today to back date the removal of tax support provisions for small business that comes as a result of the removal of the mining tax.

And that:

… the change should not be back dated as this creates confusion for the small business community as well as extra paperwork for those who, in good faith, purchased goods and/or claimed these as part of their tax return.

So we have a continuation of shambolic decisions, from this government, in the economic space.

We have a government that is prepared to take the savings they are proposing for the research and development incentive and pocket them. It is concerning that the government is scrapping measures to enable the claiming of specified research and development refundable tax offsets, in quarterly instalments, in anticipation of their end-of-year return. This is yet another anti-small-business measure from this out-of-touch government. From the outset, the coalition's approach to the R&D tax incentive has smacked of ignorance, opportunism and hypocrisy.

I want to particularly make reference to comments of the then shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey, on 28 February 2013. He stated:

And more recently the government announced with no warning it was funding its Orwellian titled “Plan for Australian Jobs” package by cutting the Research and Development tax break for large companies, reaping $1 billion over four years.

The government has become immensely unpredictable on tax policy despite the charade of consultation.

With the benefit of hindsight, how ironic these comments are from the shadow Treasurer, Mr Hockey—and now Treasurer—and from this government. We saw that the coalition at the time took a policy to the last state election stating:

We will therefore use the opportunity of the scheduled 2014 changes to the R&D Tax Incentive programme to review access to R&D tax support for many businesses that have been barred from possible access under a series of retrograde cost savings made by Labor.

Businesses could have been excused for feeling that access to the R&D tax incentive was going to be broadened rather than curtailed. That appears to be another broken promise from this government.

We see in the Intergenerational report that the government now seems to be in breach of the Charter of Budget Honesty in failing to publish the latest Intergenerational report on time. Similarly, on the taxation white paper we are seeing a delay in its issue to start that process. To add to the shambolic approach of this government, when it comes to economic matters, we see the announcement made by Mr Morrison recently that the coalition is moving towards the introduction of a two-tiered corporate tax system, for the first time in 40 years—after Mr Morrison confirmed that the levy designed to fund the now abandoned Paid Parental Leave Scheme would not be redirected to child care.

We are seeing flip-flopping from the government when it comes to the important matter of the corporate tax rate. Small companies—outside the top 3,000—will still see a cut in their corporate tax rate to at least 28.5 per cent, creating a two-tiered corporate tax structure that was last seen between 1948 and 1972. Mr Morrison admitted that business had been left in limbo about the future of the $4 billion PPL levy, since the Prime Minister used a speech last Monday to announce that the scheme would be ditched.

When it comes to unpredictability and chaotic decision making, this is a government that now has runs on the board. This is particularly interesting when we have had comments from the opposition complaining about the former Labor government and so-called sovereign risk. After pledging their commitment to tax incentives for innovation and industry, the new coalition government reintroduced the Labor measure—minus the plans for quarterly credits and minus any policy rationale.

This bill represents another broken promise from the coalition—that went to the election stating they would reverse the government's decision. It is a cut to the innovation budget at a time when jobs and investment are badly needed. It strips away not just incentive for the largest firms affected by the threshold but even business looking for clear policy signals from the government.

This is reflected in submissions received by the Senate committee when it was examining the bill. I refer to the report of the Senate Economics Legislation Committee of March 2014. Amongst some of the comments made at that time, key stakeholders directed their arguments against the bill under the heading of 'Impact on economic activity in Australia.' A number of submissions questioned the impact the amendments would have on Australia's ability to attract or retain R&D investment in the global economy. They suggested that any loss of R&D would negatively impact economic growth, employment and tax revenue. A point repeated in submissions was that the proposed amendments would encourage large companies to shift R&D activities to other countries with more favourable and stable R&D arrangements.

KPMG was amongst the submitters in that regard and they claimed that, to the best of their knowledge, Australia would be the first country in the world to exclude such a specific and targeted subset of large companies from claiming an R&D tax incentive. BDO Australia observed that any move by companies affected by the proposed amendments to conduct more R&D activities in other countries could result in the loss of Australian jobs and tax revenue associated with those jobs. Ernst & Young summed up its concerns about Australia's apparent divergence in R&D tax policy by comparing countries in Asia and stated:

In short, as the Government prepares Australia and Australians to thrive in the "Asian Century", it appears counter-productive to be pulling back on incentivising R&D activities for our largest companies just when the Asian region appears to be heading in the opposite direction when it comes to R&D tax policy.

In closing, I put it to the Senate that this bill illustrates that this government has no vision for the economy and no plan for jobs. The Prime Minister assured us this afternoon after the tumultuous events of this morning that good government starts today. If that is the case, then this bill should not proceed.

8:38 pm

Photo of Dio WangDio Wang (WA, Palmer United Party) Share this | | Hansard source

First of all, I want to make it clear that the Palmer United Party does not believe the budget is headed for a crisis but, when it is reasonably possible to improve the budget, we should do it. Even though I wholeheartedly support the R&D activities in this country, at a time when we are facing harsh budget measures from the government, I think this bill does present a reasonable opportunity for us to target wealthy companies and individuals rather than the sick, the poor and the vulnerable.

There are three things the Palmer United Party does not like about this bill: first of all, it is retrospective. Secondly, it targets Australian companies unfairly because overseas companies can shift their income to other countries. Thirdly, this bill, as it reads, is a long-term policy which no doubt will hurt our research and development industry. As I said, if it is reasonably possible to improve the budget, we should do it. I think this is a good example of the Palmer United Party working constructively with the government to try to improve the budget while also stopping the government from making harsh budget cuts to the sick, poor and vulnerable.

I will move amendments under my name and Senator Xenophon's name. The amendments will address the issues I talked about. First of all, we are going to change the starting date of this bill so that it is no longer retrospective. Secondly, we will change the assessment from income based assessment to R&D based assessment so that this bill targets both Australian companies and overseas companies fairly. Thirdly, because it reads as a long-term policy, which as I said will damage the R&D industry, we are putting a sunset clause in the amendment so that this legislation will sunset in 10 years' time. As I said, this bill, amongst all the other budget-saving measures, is a reasonable measure that we do want to support and will support, subject to our amendments being carried. I urge senators to consider this bill carefully.

(Quorum formed)

8:44 pm

Photo of Zed SeseljaZed Seselja (ACT, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to add my voice to the debate on the Tax Laws Amendment (Research and Development) Bill 2013. Australia is a country that can be proud of its heritage in research and development. Our record in innovation is strong and it is important that the government continue to invest in this field so that we can stay ahead of the curve

It is now even more important that we encourage innovation in our industry, because of some of the great advances that we have seen under this government in signing free trade agreements with China, Korea and Japan. These agreements provide excellent opportunities for our industries to expand internationally and for us to share our innovations with the region. That is why there are tax incentives for R&D, and the government supports these incentives.

At the same time, we have the legacy of debt and deficit left by the previous Labor government. Labor's debt is already costing about $1 billion a month in net interest payments, and that is borrowed money. No country can go on paying the mortgage from the credit card. This is the cost of the former Labor government's mismanagement and waste. We all wish we had money to throw around on all sorts of things. But, thanks to Labor, we do not. So in important areas of expenditure, we need to target our spend more effectively and that is true in this space. We need to find savings where we can. This bill will amend the R&D incentive so that it still promotes innovation and rewards creativity in our industries but also ensures that these incentives go to those companies who need it. This bill will ensure the Research & Development Tax Incentive better targets small and medium-sized companies, which have been shown to respond to incentives for innovation. Originally, this bill proposed removing access to the R&D tax incentive for companies with aggregated assessable incomes of more than $20 billion for an income year. These larger companies would have been subject to normal income tax rules on their R&D expenditures, while smaller and medium-sized companies could have accessed the incentive. However, I know that crossbench senators have moved some amendments to this bill.

The Palmer United Party has proposed amendments to the bill which would delete the original measure and instead introduce a cap of $100 million on the amount of eligible R&D expenditure that companies can claim at the standard rate under the R&D tax incentive. For expenditure beyond $100 million, companies would claim a non-refundable tax offset at the corporate tax rate, which is broadly equivalent to claiming a normal deduction. Under an expenditure cap, companies—both Australian and foreign resident companies—would continue to be eligible for the R&D tax incentive and would continue to receive a substantial tax benefit. This would address crossbench concerns about the perceived discriminatory effect of the original measure on Australian resident companies. An R&D expenditure cap of $100 million would also achieve revenue gains approximately equal to the revenue gain from the original measure contained in the bill. This would ensure that the changes still play an important part in the government's budget repair job.

The crossbench amendments to the bill also include consequential amendments to the feedstock, clawback and balancing adjustment provisions. These additional amendments to the bill take account of concerns raised in consultation by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee on the Palmer United Party's draft amendments to the bill. The consequential amendments acknowledge concerns about possible unintended consequences of an R&D expenditure cap on the operation of the existing law relating to the recoupment, feedstock and balancing adjustments. In the absence of any changes to the law to address this issue, an expenditure cap could result in some companies having to adjust their previous R&D tax claims more than necessary for feedstock, recoupments or other amounts that do not qualify for a tax benefit under the R&D tax incentive. The consequential amendments therefore seek to exempt a company from a requirement to make certain adjustments to a previous R&D tax claim, where the company is affected by the expenditure cap for the income year in question.

Those amendments would also delay the start date of the measure to income years beginning on or after 1 July 2014, in order to minimise the risk of the law applying to companies retrospectively. Under the original start date of 1 July 2013, the measures would affect income years that have finished and would therefore raise the risk of companies being required to make an amended assessment. The cost to the budget of a delayed start date is $300 million over the forward estimates period in both underlying cash and fiscal balance terms. However, delaying the start date is the right course of action. If the government does not proceed with the measure, the net impact on the budget would be $1.35 billion in total over the current forward estimates. By delaying the start date, the amendments would only apply to companies lodging their tax returns from 1 July 2015 onwards. This would provide affected companies with additional time and notice to plan for the changes in the law.

The bill also makes a consequential amendment to the Industry Research and Development Act 1986, to ensure that very large companies are still able to claim their overseas R&D activities for income years in which they fall below the $20-billion threshold. This allows the tests for eligibility of R&D activities which are conducted overseas to continue to operate as intended. While it would be nice to be in a position where these amendments were not needed, the fact is that we need to have changes like this to focus our spending and to get the greatest benefit for the country from the money we are spending.

Senators on the other side of the chamber have made comments regarding this bill. They have criticised it, saying that it has only been two years since the scheme has been in place and we are making changes. But I say to that: they are changes that are effectively targeting spending, and cutting down the waste and deficit left to us by the former Labor government. We cannot sit on the sidelines and do nothing. These changes are based on targeting the spending more effectively, not only ensuring that we can continue to support research and development in Australia but also ensuring that we take account of the serious budget problems we face.

I commend the bill to the Senate.

Senator Cormann.

8:50 pm

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

Thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President. I thank all senators who have contributed to this debate. It is important, again, to remember that this legislation seeks to implement—albeit in a slightly amended form as a result of discussions that the government has had with crossbench senators—a Labor party budget saving. This measure was initiated by the previous Labor government. It was banked by the previous Labor government in their last budget, but it was never legislated by the previous Labor government. We talk about delays in implementing budget measures into legislation; well, here we are still dealing with a savings measures initiated by the Gillard Labor government in May 2013, in their last budget, which we are seeking to give effect to—and of course, the Labor opposition under the current leadership of Mr Shorten is now opposed to what is their own savings measure. That is the circumstance, sadly, that we are dealing with here in Australia today.

The other thing that we have to remember is that what we are talking about here is a tax subsidy in relation to research and development for some of the most profitable companies in Australia. In the way that the legislation was introduced by the government, we are talking about businesses across Australia which are making more than $20 billion a year in profit. We have had a lot of commentary from the Labor opposition on how we should ensure that profitable companies, multinational companies, pay their fair share of tax. Here we have an opportunity to ensure that the particularly profitable companies—the top 20 or 25 companies at best—do not take advantage of what is, quite frankly, an excessively generous tax subsidy in the context of our current fiscal circumstances.

Enough has been said about this bill. As I have mentioned, this is actually a Gillard Labor government budget measure which was identified by the then Treasurer, Mr Swan, as contributing, at least in part, to the effort of budget repair. I know that the Labor opposition now has said, 'No, this was always about other things,' but the truth is that Mr Swan, the then Treasurer, is on the record as clearly identifying that this was a savings measure which was meant to contribute to the task of budget repair. Of course, now we are in the situation where Labor, under the current leader, is even more reckless and even less responsible than Labor was when Julia Gillard was Prime Minister and Wayne Swan was Treasurer. Thankfully, we have been able to work with reasonable and rational senators on the crossbench to give effect to this measure, and I am hopeful that the Senate will support the implementation of this measure, which, as I have indicated, was initiated by the previous Labor government.

Photo of Alex GallacherAlex Gallacher (SA, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that the bill be now read a second time.