Senate debates

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Ministerial Statements


5:45 pm

Photo of Don FarrellDon Farrell (SA, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) Share this | | Hansard source

by leave—I move:

That the Senate take note of the statement.

Thank you, Senator Cormann, for confirming that we won't be dealing with this legislation before Easter. Senator Cormann said he wanted jobs and higher wages. There's one certain way that you won't get that result of jobs and higher wages, and that's by supporting the government's legislation to give big business in this country a $65 billion tax cut. If the minister's theory had worked, we would have seen it when Ronald Reagan gave those tax cuts in the 1980s. America would have created jobs and increased wages, but, of course, that's exactly what didn't happen in the United States. It didn't happen in the United States and it's not going to happen if this parliament passes that legislation.

What the government is doing this week is, on the one hand, giving big business a $65 billion tax cut and, on the other hand, proposing a tax rise for ordinary working Australians. That simply doesn't compute. That's not the way this country is meant to work. It simply increases the level of inequity that we have in this country.

This weekend is, of course, Easter. It's an opportunity for us to reflect on sacrifice and an opportunity for us to reflect on social justice. The minister has referred to the crossbenchers who decided to jump on board with the $65 billion tax rise. It's surprising, I think, that the government didn't bring the bill forward to allow us to test the numbers, but I'd say to all of those crossbenchers who are considering supporting this legislation, and Senator Cormann mentioned them—Senator Bernardi, Senator Anning, the Pauline Hanson group, Senator Martin and Senator Leyonhjelm: 'Here's an opportunity to reflect on your decision to support this legislation, because that decision is the wrong decision. That's not the way we create equality in this country.'

What did we find out today from that secret survey conducted by the Business Council of Australia?