Tuesday, 14 August 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. I refer to the minister's comments yesterday when he said, 'We are absolutely committed to taking business tax cuts to the next election.' I refer to the manager of government business in the House of Representatives, Mr Pyne, who yesterday said in relation to the business tax cuts, 'There is no point in flogging a dead horse.' Which member of the government's leadership team is speaking on behalf of the government: the Leader of the Government in the Senate or the Leader of the House?
The first thing I would say to Senator Wong is: if the horse is truly dead, it won't mind the flogging. If Senator Leyonhjelm were here, as a vet, he would confirm that scientific assessment that I've just shared with the chamber. The second point I would make is that all of us in the government are absolutely united in our commitment to securing the passage of this very important economic reform through the Senate this fortnight. Of course we want to take the company tax cuts, legislated as an important part of our economic achievement, to the next election.
Former Prime Minister Mr Abbott yesterday said, amongst other things, 'There are no votes in company tax cuts.' Given Mr Turnbull has lost his self-declared referendum on his business tax handout in Mayo, Perth, Fremantle, Braddon and Longman, isn't Mr Abbott correct?
(—) (): The reason we get elected to this place is to do the right thing by the Australian people. Those of us on this side of the chamber are committed to making sure that Australians today and into the future have the best possible opportunity to get ahead. That is why we want to ensure that the businesses that employ them and pay their wages have the best possible opportunity to be viable, competitive and profitable into the future. This is something that Bill Shorten once understood. Mr Shorten used to very forcefully argue how we needed a lower, globally more competitive business tax rate to attract more investment, to drive up productivity, to drive up economic growth, to generate more jobs, to drive up wages. Mr Shorten is on the record again and again—Senator Wong is on the record again and again—having made that point. In fact, the shadow Treasurer, even in opposition, as recently as seven months before we put it into the budget, argued in favour of a lower, globally more competitive business tax rate. (Time expired)
I refer to reports that even the Minister for Home Affairs has gone cool on the Turnbull government's business handout. I ask the minister: when did Mr Dutton first advise him that he was leaving the minister in the lurch on the Enterprise Tax Plan? If Mr Turnbull can't even rely on cabinet ministers like Mr Pyne and Mr Dutton to defend his Enterprise Tax Plan, how can he expect this parliament to vote for it?
What I would say to Senator Wong is: don't you worry about my friend Peter. Mr Dutton, the hardworking and outstanding member for Dickson, walks with me every morning. We meet in the basement garage of the ministerial wing at 5.30 am every morning. Every now and then, I get joined by the Minister for Sport, Senator McKenzie. Let me tell you: I talk a lot to Mr Dutton, and he shares absolutely and unequivocally the government's commitment to securing the passage of a lower, globally more competitive business tax rate for all businesses in Australia through the Senate this fortnight.