MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE - Turnbull Government


 

Senator SESELJA (Australian Capital Territory) (17:23): I am very pleased to contribute to this very important debate today. I want to focus on two or three areas of tax policy, and the first is the achievements of this coalition government. When it comes to tax, we got rid of the Labor Party's carbon tax. We got rid of that job-killing carbon tax for the good of households—so they had lower electricity bills, more money in their pockets and lower gas bills. We lowered the cost of doing business by lowering the cost of electricity; that was a great achievement and good for business. We got rid of the Labor Party's ill-thought mining tax, which was an attack on one of our most important industries. We came in promising to get rid of it and we got rid of it. We have focused on giving tax relief to small business—hard working men and women who employ millions of people and who go out and take risks. We said to them, 'We will give you a small business tax cut and a small business instant asset write-off.' 

 

 

 

 

Our runs are on the board when it comes to tax. They are in stark contrast to the attitude of the Labor Party, and not just the taxes they imposed on us when they were last in office. They did their best to take one of the best performing parts of our economy, the mining industry, and kill it and they did their best with the carbon tax to have an additional hit on families and on business. Unfortunately, we know that the Labor Party, if they came back into office, have a plan to tax Australians more. Having not learnt the lessons in their last failed experiment in government—which was all about taxing more and spending more—they have a plan, if they come back in at this year's election, to tax more and to spend more. Who would have thought? They have very clearly laid that out on the table. Their plan is to tax Australians more—not to try to get the budget under control or to have policies that stimulate and grow the economy and grow jobs. We have seen 300,000 jobs created in this country in the last 12 months; that does not come about by accident; it comes about through policies which encourage business, policies which encourage people to employ others and which encourage people back into work. That is what we have been focusing on.

 

 

 

The Labor Party's alternative is to tax more. We know they are going to whack people's retirement savings by hitting their nest eggs with additional taxes. I want to focus on one of those proposals, their plan to tax housing in Australia—this massive housing tax proposed by Bill Shorten and the Labor Party. If they seriously think that this will not have a significant negative impact on ordinary Australian homeowners and on the broader Australian economy, then they have to be kidding themselves. The idea that you can make such a dramatic change to a longstanding, bipartisan policy and that it will not have a significant impact on house values! As the Prime Minister has pointed out, if you take out 30 per cent of the buyers, what is going to happen? We know what will happen—people's homes will be worth less. 

 

 

 

If you vote for the Labor Party and you vote for this negative gearing policy, your home is going to be worth less. They can pretend that that is not the case, but we all know it to be true. We have heard from a range of voices in this debate, including from the Property Council and the Master Builders Association, which makes its living from building homes. You would think such a group would like a policy that is apparently about building more homes, but they see severe dangers to the property industry as a whole. But do not just take their word for it, what about the Grattan Institute? The Grattan Institute supports this policy; they are not critics of this policy and, along with Labor's McKell Institute, they helped to create this policy. Regardless of whether that is the case, they support the policy, but what do they say about housing values? According to the Grattan Institute, they will drop by up to 10 per cent. But that is the opinion of the group that supports the policy, and so it may well be more.

 

 

 

We talk about first home buyers and the reason that so many first homebuyers are locked out of the market is that state and territory governments, particularly of the Labor bent, have held back on land release and have unreasonable planning laws which restrict the amount of land coming on board. Is this going to magically change under Labor's policy? Of course, it will not. What about all those home buyers who purchased a house a year ago or two or three or four years ago and who took out large mortgages to make a major investment? The Labor Party is saying to them, 'We do not care about you. We are happy to see the value of your home drop.'

 

 

 

What is this going to mean for future borrowings, as banks consider whether houses remain a good risk? People might find they cannot get into the property market, even with those lower values, because it will be harder to access finance. What kind of flow-on impact will this have on the economy—when people lose significant amounts of their wealth, do not have any confidence, do not have the same disposable income, do not have the same ability to access funds necessary to make major purchases? What is that going to do for business and spending? This is the Labor Party's future. This is the future for Australia under the Labor Party—more taxing, more spending and, most importantly, when it comes to negative gearing changes in particular, a whack on the value of the family home and a whack on the value of all properties. This is what the Labor Party is advocating, and a coalition—(Time expired)