Wednesday, 15 August 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Finance, Senator Cormann. On Monday, the minister told the Senate, 'We are absolutely committed to taking business tax cuts to the next election.' Yesterday, the minister told the Senate that:
Of course we want to take the company tax cuts, legislated as an important part of our economic achievement, to the next election.
Will the minister guarantee that, regardless of whether the government is able to legislate its enterprise tax plan in this term of the parliament, the government will take its full enterprise tax plan to the next election?
As I was listening to my reported remarks, I thought to myself that I couldn't have put that better myself! I can confirm that of course we are absolutely committed to getting this very important economic reform passed through the parliament this fortnight. That is because we care about the future opportunity for Australian families to get ahead. We care about Australian families being able to get a good job or a better job, to build a career here in Australia and to get better wages over time. We understand that the future success of families around Australia is dependent on the future viability, competitiveness and success of businesses that employ them and pay their wages.
I know the minister is worried about being rolled, but there was one question. It is the question he is avoiding. Will this minister guarantee, regardless of whether he is able to legislate the enterprise tax plan in this term, that the government will take the full plan to the next election? That is the question he is avoiding. I'd ask him to answer it.
As I've said on Monday, as I've said on Tuesday and as I'll say today: we are absolutely committed to legislating our Ten Year Enterprise Tax Plan. We're absolutely committed to taking our legislated Ten Year Enterprise Tax Plan to the next election. Is Labor going to the next election proposing to increase taxes on business and jobs, sending jobs overseas? Tell us, because we have all seen the Bill Shorten wibble wobble on small- and medium-sized business tax cuts.
This morning's TheCourier-Mail reports that Luke Howarth has said, 'If it was going to pass the Senate, it already would have.' Does the minister agree with the LNP member for Petrie when he says in relation to the business tax cuts that the government should 'drop it and move on'?
Luke Howarth is an outstanding member of parliament. He's a great representative of the people in Petrie. He's a great representative of the LNP here in the House of Representatives. I have got the greatest of respect for Mr Howarth. Mr Howarth, like all of us, is committed to securing in full the passage of our proposal for lower, globally more competitive business tax rates through this parliament this fortnight.
Senator Molan has said recently, in relation to the enterprise tax plan:
We're making a rod for our back.
Does the minister agree with Senator Molan's criticism of the government's tax plan?
Opposition senators interjecting—
Senator Jim Molan, another great Australian. What a great senator for the great state of New South Wales. I always listen very carefully to what Senator Molan, as well as every Liberal and National Party senator and every Liberal and National Party member in the House of Representatives, has to say about policy matters.
He might think they're all great, and I know that he listens to everybody, but I didn't ask him anything about that. I just asked him whether or not he agreed with Senator Molan's criticism of the government's tax plan, which was, 'We're making a rod for our own back.' That's the only question I asked.
Let me be very clear: I don't agree with the characterisation of Senator Molan's comments that Senator Wong has just provided to the chamber. Let me reassure Senator Wong again: every single Liberal and National Party member and senator is committed to securing the passage of this important reform this sitting fortnight for working families around Australia, and if the Senate cared about working families around Australia then it would support it.