Tuesday, 2 April 2019
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) in a February 2017 speech, 'Progressive politics in the age of Trump', NSW Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, Mr Tim Ayers, who is also a member of the ALP's National Executive, supported the introduction of an inheritance tax,
(ii) in an address to the National Press Club on 15 March 2017, the Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Richard Di Natale, stated "And speaking of levelling the playing field, if we are going to avoid turning this intergenerational divide into a chasm, it is time we had a debate around inheritance taxes for the super wealthy. Australia is one of the countries who does not tax pre-existing wealth',
(iii) in an article in New Matilda on 7 March 2006, Labor's Shadow Assistant Treasurer, MrAndrew Leigh, wrote an article entitled, Bring Back the Inheritance Tax, in which he stated "From a pure economic rationalist perspective ... what is often not recognised is that inheritance taxes are also an efficient form of revenue raising", and
(iv) farming families are especially disadvantaged by an inheritance tax, with much of the wealth of their farms tied up in land – this means that when heirs do have to pay inheritance taxes, there is often a need to sell-off land (or other assets to pay off the death tax; and
(b) rejects any introduction of an inheritance tax, which only serves to punish the hard work, risk-taking and success of families and individuals who have built small businesses and family farms.
This is not my first speech. This is a motion where the Nationals are calling for special treatment for farming families. The Liberal Democrats will never vote for an increase in taxation, but this call for special treatment for farming families is over the top. If there ever were an inheritance tax it should apply to all wealth, including the wealth of farming families. The Nationals do not represent all farmers. They just represent that subset of farmers who love special pleading and handouts. The Liberal Democrats represent farmers who are self-sufficient and efficient.
I understand that Senator O'Sullivan doesn't support an inheritance tax but, given his very admirable property portfolio, if there was an inheritance tax we could fund our dental care under Medicare plan, I'd suggest. The truth is that while we are not going to take inheritance tax to the next election we do support the principle of an inheritance tax. We don't think it should capture the family farm or indeed modest inheritances. But it is about chipping away at the dynastic wealth of the richest people in our society. And let's remember that nine out of 10 times they've inherited the wealth themselves; they don't do it on merit. Passing on unearned wealth from huge and wealthy estates entrenches economic disadvantage. So we do support the taxation of obscene unearned wealth to invest in the education and training of those not born into money, and that's why we oppose this motion.
Question agreed to.