Tax Laws Amendment (Combating Multinational Tax Avoidance) Bill 2015
Mr HAWKE (Mitchell—Assistant Minister to the Treasurer) (21:26): I move:
That the amendments made by the Senate in place of amendments Nos 2 and 3 disagreed to by the House be agreed to.
Firstly, I would like to thank everyone that participated in this debate, except for the Senate! I want to say firstly to our good friends in the Australian Greens over there—those economically responsible people in the Australian Greens, including the member for Melbourne here in this House—that they have shown how genuinely you can work in the Senate to negotiate a package of measures through the Senate to ensure that Australia has some of the strongest anti-avoidance measures in the world. It is Australia that is leading the way in this way.
I want to say to the Australian Labor Party: you were offered the chance to negotiate with the government, and the shadow Treasurer would know that you were offered the chance to negotiate with this government measures that would ensure that multinationals paid their fair share of tax. It was the Australian Labor Party that rejected the offer of the government to negotiate through a fair package of amendments that would ensure that multinationals paid their fair share of tax.
I want to say that this government is in charge of tax policy in Australia. We will not take ultimatums from the Senate. We will not take ultimatums from the Australian Labor Party. We certainly will not take ultimatums from spivs in the Senate like Senator Dastyari. We certainly will not take ultimatums from Senator Dastyari. It is the Treasurer who met with the Australian tax board the day after this bill came here last time to ensure we had the right amendments. It is the Treasurer who met the next week with the ATO to ensure that the ATO were on board with the government's amendments. Proper process has been followed in relation to these amendments. All colleagues in this parliament can be absolutely 100 per cent convinced that proper process has been followed.
These are sound changes, and I know that my colleagues are ready to listen to my remarks that I prepared. I have a few choice words that I have prepared—20 or 30 minutes, nothing too onerous. There are just a few words that I would like to say in support of these measures. There is one thing that all Australians agree on, and that is that multinationals should pay their fair share of tax in Australia. Why would this parliament—why would any political party in this parliament—propose that we leave here before Christmas without a package of measures that ensures that multinationals pay their fair share of tax? The Liberal Party agrees with that. The National Party agrees with that. The Australian Greens agree with that. There is one party in this parliament that proposes that we leave here before Christmas ensuring that multinationals do not pay their fair share of tax. That is the Australian Labor Party.
In the fair dinkum stakes, Australia is a world leader in relation to multinational taxation. We are going to continue to work with our OECD and G20 partners. This is not the end of the story. We are going to continue to work with our OECD and G20 partners. We will continue to take the lead in the OECD and the G20. But I want to say once again that it is a sad day for the Australian people. It is a sad day for the Australian Labor Party. Paul Keating—do you remember him, Shadow Treasurer? He is someone you might have modelled yourself on, Shadow Treasurer. Paul Keating would be rolling in his grave—his political grave—to see the Australian Labor Party of today not willing to pass sensible amendments to multinational tax. It is a sad day when the Australian Greens are running Australian taxation policy and not the Australian Labor Party.
While the government is happy and satisfied with the amendments, not every aspect of the amendments that have been passed by the Senate pleases the government. But that is the role of politics. As the Treasurer would know and as you would know, Shadow Treasurer, that is democracy. That is democracy, Shadow Treasurer. The Senate has passed these amendments. The government will agree to some of them reluctantly, but we will agree to all of them, because these are in the interests of the Australian people.
This multinational taxation package will ensure that multinationals are paying the appropriate amount of tax from 1 January this year. I cannot wait to hear the shadow Treasurer's contribution, because the onus will be on you to explain to your supporters and to the Australian people why you are holding this parliament back until 9.30 on the last day of the sitting year over multinational taxation, Shadow Treasurer. Stand up right now and tell us. Tell the Australian people. Tell everyone here. Tell the attendants. Tell the clerks. Tell the drivers. Why are we here at 9.30 on the last sitting day of the year over multinational taxation, over making sure that multinationals pay their tax? Tell us. (Time expired)