Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann, who once said he liked my accent better than his, so let's try this out. United States Republican Senator and former Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio says that despite hopes that companies would use corporate tax cuts to invest in American workers:
In fact they bought back shares, a few gave out bonuses; there's no evidence whatsoever that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker.
Is Senator Rubio correct?
It's interesting that the Labor Party would ask me this question, because today we had a captain's call from the Leader of the Opposition. He was so scared not even the Labor caucus would support his socialist antibusiness agenda that he wasn't even prepared to consult them on it. He was so worried that his socialist antibusiness, antigrowth, anti-opportunity agenda was so left wing that not even the Labor caucus would support him. So here we have the Labor leader again going to put higher taxes on business.
Honourable senators interjecting—
Bill Shorten has got a dilemma. Why is all of this happening? Bill Shorten is under pressure. He lost three seats and he's now trying to make up the losses. He lost three seats because his rolled gold guarantee wasn't worth the paper it was written on. Here he is now gambling to win back his losses, and he's gambling with Australian jobs by increasing taxes on business. Mr Shorten knows that higher taxes on business mean fewer jobs. Fewer jobs are bad for the people of Longman, are bad for the people of Braddon, are bad for the people of Australia. That is the truth of it. The people of Longman, the people of Braddon, the people of Australia cannot afford the bill.
Honourable senators interjecting—
Thank you, Mr President. I have a supplementary question. The Turnbull government consistently references the United States' corporate tax cut to justify its $80 billion handout to big business. Minister, given Republican Senator Rubio's statement, can you confirm that the Turnbull government's priority is boosting share prices and giving corporate executives a bonus?
Repeating a lie doesn't make it true. We know that Bill Shorten thinks that continuing to mislead the Australian people will somehow win him votes. He knows that nearly half of the budget costs of our business tax cuts go to small- and medium-sized businesses, because today none other than Bill Shorten has announced that he's going to whack small- and medium-sized business with higher taxes. And do you know what? He didn't ask a single person in this room whether that was a good idea.
A point of order on direct relevance. I know Senator Cormann does like to talk about the Labor Party. We're asking him about Republican Senator Marco Rubio's comments that there is 'no evidence that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker'. That was the primary question. The supplementary obviously referenced that. I'd ask the minister to return to the question.
I was, of course, directly answering the question. The evidence is clear that in the United States lower taxes on businesses have led to more investment, stronger growth, more jobs and higher wages. We all remember that Senator Cameron said that he was consulted. Maybe that was because Mr Shorten was worried, because Senator Cameron in the past has referred to lobotomised zombies and what we're hearing in the media is that the Labor caucus has gone back to being lobotomised zombies— (Time expired)
When even Republican Senator and former Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio says, 'Workers haven't benefitted from company tax cuts,' why does the Turnbull government continue to mislead Australian workers?
I ask a very simple rhetorical question of Senator Keneally: which business do you think is going to be more successful, the business that gets to keep more of its own money, so it can reinvest it in future growth, or the business that has to hand over more money to the government? Do you think a business that gets to keep more of its money, to invest in future growth opportunities, does do better or the business that has got to pay higher taxes? The United States is the biggest source of—
Our future economic prosperity and our future economic security depends on our capacity to continue to attract foreign investment. Our biggest source of direct foreign investment is the United States. The United States has a tax rate of 21 per cent. We have a tax rate for businesses over $50 million of 30 per cent. Where do you think those that are currently delivering most of our foreign direct investment will invest in the future?