Thursday, 29 November 2018
Questions without Notice
Nice work, Senator McKenzie! My question is to the , Senator Cash. Can the minister update the Senate on what the Liberal-National government is doing to assist small and family businesses, particularly when it comes to the Australian Taxation Office?
Thank you, Senator Smith, for the question, and how fabulous—in the last question time of the second last week of parliament, we get to talk about the achievements of the Liberal-National government when it comes to small and family business. Well, colleagues, guess what we have done: we have lowered their taxes to 25 per cent five years earlier than planned because of our strong economy. That's an achievement. We are ensuring that small and family businesses get easier access to finance with our $2 billion securitisation fund. That's backing small and family business. We are, of course, giving small and family businesses access to the $20,000 instant asset write-off. We've made the business activity statement easier to fill out for them, because we understand that any bit of their time we can give back to them is precious. We've cut nearly $6 billion in red tape.
Last night the Prime Minister announced at the ACCI dinner that we are going to ensure that small and family businesses get a fair go when it comes to the Australian Taxation Office. We will ensure that a small business that has a dispute with the Australian Taxation Office will have better access to dispute resolution. Why? Because all of the feedback that we have received is that the existing tax disputes mechanism is complex; quite frankly, it's probably scary for small and family businesses; and it is not sufficiently fair. So the Prime Minister has announced a new Small Business Taxation Division outside of the Australian Taxation Office. This is very important, because we need the independence. It will be located within the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. What we've also announced is streamlining. You need a decision within 28 days, because we understand small businesses need a decision so they can get back on with doing what we want them to do best, and that is, of course, to prosper, grow and create more jobs for Australians.
As the Prime Minister has constantly said about small and family business, they are out there having a go. On the Liberal-National side of politics, we believe that, if you have a go in this country, you will get a go. That is what fairness means. Of course, what do small and family businesses do? They take a chance. They take a risk. Sometimes they put everything they have into their business. Why? Because they want to be self-sustaining. They want to have the great privilege of potentially growing their businesses and offering another Australian the opportunity of work. That is why all of the policy levers that we pull and the policies that we put in place will always look to create further opportunities for small and family businesses in Australia—in particular, our free trade agreements. Why? Because so many of our small and family businesses—in particular, in regional Australia—want to take the fantastic products that they have to the global market, and, at the end of the day, when small and family businesses prosper, they create more jobs. (Time expired)
As we were talking about yesterday, there is a clear choice at the next election: if you want to pay higher taxes, vote for Mr Shorten, the Leader of the Opposition, but if you want lower taxes, if you want a government that will back you every step of the way, if you want more money in your back pocket, then vote for the Liberal-National government, because, at the end of the day, the only plan that the Labor Party have for the Australian people is tax, tax and more tax. And not only that—when I talk to small and family businesses about their electricity bills, they tell me they are horrified at the prospect of a Shorten Labor government, because they know the only party that will put downward pressure on their electricity bill is the Liberal-National side. They are petrified of seeing increased electricity bills and increased taxes, because all that means is that they close their business. A business that has to close employs no-one.
Mr President, I seek your ruling on the earrings that Senator Waters is wearing, which say 'Stop Adani'. Does that mean that I can wear into the chamber next week my coal hi-viz jacket? If Ms Waters is allowed to wear 'Stop Adani' earrings, will I be allowed to wear the jacket?
I will take that away and think about it. The ruling on your jacket has already been made by former President Parry. We had a discussion on this matter in your absence, where I made a ruling with respect to badges—that if badges have slogans or political statements on them they are not appropriate, but lapel badges and ribbons were in order. In the meantime, I'll offer you the opportunity to wear some earrings of your own before I make a ruling!
Honourable senators interjecting—
It's a Thursday. Can we have a little bit of brevity on a Thursday afternoon, Senators? I will seriously look at the issue, because slogans in the Senate, as I made very clear, have no place. Thank you for raising the issue, Senator Macdonald.