Questions Without Notice: Take Note of Answers - 9 November 2015


Senator SESELJA(Australian Capital Territory) (15:09): It is difficult to know where to start with the Labor Party's question time strategy for today, given that Senator Cameron decided that he would take note of all the questions. You can see them flailing around for a message. They do not know what their message is going to be. But what we do know is that none of it is credible. It is not credible when Senator Cameron says it, it is not credible when Senator Conroy says it, and it is certainly not credible when Bill Shorten says it on behalf of the opposition. Let us look at a couple of things they raised and see how seriously we can take them.

 

 

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Cameron on a point of order.

 

Senator Cameron:The Senator should use a member's proper title. It is clearly understood in this place.

 

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I remind all senators to refer to members of the other place by their correct title.

 

Senator SESELJA:I certainly will. You certainly cannot take seriously what Senator Cameron says, what Senator Conroy says, nor what opposition leader Bill Shorten says, whether it is in this place, in the other place or anywhere else. Their record is so bad and they are being found out for having absolutely no policy on virtually anything. Let's look at tax. The Labor Party says that they want to engage in a conversation on tax.

 

Senator Gallacher:We have a policy—get that right.

 

Senator SESELJA:That is fine. We believe there should be a conversation on tax, and that is why there is a series of processes for that. But the Labor Party has announced something like $62 billion in extra spending and something like $5 billion in revenue measures to deal with it. That is the Labor Party's current economic credentials, to say nothing of their record in office and to say nothing of the record debt and deficits they left us with. But, going forward, the Labor Party's position on tax is that they will pull a few billion back here and there, but they have $62 billion in promises to date. That is to say nothing of their intimation that they will somehow bring back an extra $80 billion of spending in health and education. That would go on top.

 

So let's have a fair dinkum conversation about it. Even ACOSS and other groups have said that they are open to a dialog to see how we can make sure we have the most effective, fair and efficient taxation system in this country. The coalition wants to see lower taxes. That is fundamentally what we want to see in the tax space. Unlike the Labor Party, we do not always look to increase taxes. We want to see lower taxes.

 

Senator Conroy:You are increasing the GST.

 

Senator SESELJA:I am not arguing in favour of an increase in the GST, but let's have a discussion about how we can lower income taxes. I would like to see income taxes lowered.

 

Senator Conroy:By raising the GST.

 

Senator SESELJA:Well, it is a legitimate discussion to have. I am not afraid of it. But I want to see taxes come down. I do not want to see taxes go up overall. Unlike the Labor Party, who are so against the GST that they not only kept it when they came into government but they also put a carbon tax on top of it. They are so against it that they kept it and they added to it with an unnecessary carbon tax.

 

I do think that income taxes are too high in this country. I believe that a top marginal rate, which is at around 49 cents in the dollar now, is too high. I would like to see that come down. Any serious—

 

Senator Conroy:Stop using the Cayman Islands then.

 

Senator Back:Your super fund uses it. Where do you think they invest.

 

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Seselja, either resume your seat and I will bring the Senate to order, or press on if you would rather.

 

Senator SESELJA:I will press on. They have tried a number of different attacks today. We have had the NBN, the GST and now we have heard it again: they have resurrected the Cayman Islands attack. That was such a resounding success when they last tried it in the parliament. They raised it one day and walked away from it the next day at a million miles an hour because it was such a devastating attack! They are going to have to do better than that.

 

If the Labor Party wants to be taken seriously they are going to have to seriously engage in the debate on tax. You cannot have $62 billion in promises and $5 billion in revenue measures and claim that somehow that makes sense. I am open to the discussion. The fundamental for me and for the coalition is that we will bring tax down. Tax under the coalition will always be lower than under the Labor Party. That is a principle we have to fight for, and in any discussion about tax reform it is about how we lower the burden of tax on the Australian people. (Time expired)