25 June 2018
Transcript - #2018129, 2018

Doorstop interview, Canberra

Subjects: Enterprise Tax Plan; Lower, fairer and simpler taxes for all working Australian; Turnbull Government’s crackdown on multinational tax avoidance

QUESTION:

How is the Government going to clinch the numbers in the Senate to secure the passage of this company tax legislation?

TREASURER:

The issue of making Australian businesses more competitive this week is front and centre on the agenda. We are obviously pleased last week to gain the support for our personal tax plan which ensures that all Australians will benefit from tax relief. They will be paying less tax over the next decade and $144 billion of tax relief delivered, legislated. Labor obviously want to cut that in half. They want to say to some nine million Australians that you will have to pay more tax in the future if a Labor Government is elected. That is why Australians can't afford Labor. The focus this week shifts to making Australian businesses more competitive and our argument has been the same since we first proposed this two years ago. If Australian businesses are more competitive than your job is more secure. Australian businesses don't have to pay as much tax to the Australian Government than they are in a position to invest in the business you work in which ensures that the opportunities for you and your future in that business are more secure. You cannot make Australian businesses more competitive by taxing them higher. That is why we are appealing once again to the Parliament to support this change which will support our economy and be even stronger into the future because it is essential services that depend on that stronger economy. You can't guarantee Medicare unless you have a strong plan for the economy. That is what guarantees Medicare, that is what we are delivering and that is why this plan is important to be passed by the Senate this week.

QUESTION:

Treasurer, a new poll out today shows that voters haven't given you much credit for passing the personal income tax cuts. Is that a concern?

TREASURER:

I am pleased to see today that the Prime Minister is by far and away preferred by the Australian people, as he should be, whether it is on managing our economy, whether it's managing our tax system, it's about who can be trusted, all of these things demonstrate again that Malcolm Turnbull is providing the right economic leadership to Australia. But an economic leadership to Australia that is guaranteeing the essential services that Australians rely upon. Our plan for a stronger economy is working. We are seeing that in record jobs growth. More than a million jobs created since we were first elected. We want to ensure that the benefits of that plan reach all Australians. That means we need to keep going with that plan. We live in a very competitive world. Other countries all around the world have been providing tax relief and lower taxes for their businesses. Now, that is putting us here in Australia at a disadvantage. We are not for the big end of town. Particularly not when it comes to the big end of town in Paris and New York and London and Tokyo and Singapore. That is who Bill Shorten is backing now by not supporting these tax changes. The big end of town overseas should not be getting a benefit from the Australian Parliament this week by rejecting the Government's plan to make sure our company taxes are more competitive. We want our businesses to be more competitive and that is what our plan will deliver.

QUESTION:

If the numbers game in the Senate comes down to it, is the Government willing to split the company tax legislation to legislate for businesses bringing it up to $500 million?

TREASURER:

The Government wants to see our entire Enterprise Tax Plan implemented. The reason for that is because we don't want to short change the Australian people. We don't want to short change them on their jobs. We don't want to short-change them on their prosperity. We don't want to short-change small businesses who depend on larger businesses because they're all part of the one economy. Larger businesses are doing better, smaller businesses are doing better – and vice versa. We want a tax system that makes sure all of our businesses are competitive. If you work for a larger business, you should have the same tax system that supports your business being more competitive than other businesses that are smaller. Your job is just as important if you're working for a large business, as the job of someone working for a smaller business. That's why we're out there advocating for everybody's job, every business, because all of those businesses is what creates the stronger economy that everybody services. Everybody's infrastructure, their roads, their hospitals, their schools, it all depends on a stronger economy, and you will not get a stronger economy by having corporate tax rates at some of the highest levels in the advanced, developed world.

QUESTION:

Treasurer, but voters don't appear to be buying that argument either on the personal income tax cuts or the company tax cuts and you are going to be fighting an election over this issue. How will you turn that around?

TREASURER:

It's a simple proposition: Labor is for higher taxes – you will pay more under Labor. The Coalition is for lower taxes. That is the simple proposition. That is the clear choice. That is the obvious contrast. You don't create a stronger economy by taxing it within an inch of its life. It is a false premise. It doesn't get you there. It doesn't pay for anything because you cut your nose off despite your face. We know what we believe in. We believe taxes should be lower, simpler and fairer. They should make our businesses more competitive. There is no secret about what the Coalition believes and is passionate about to ensure the prosperity of Australians and to guarantee the services that they rely on. We have a plan for that. We are sticking to our plan because we know our plan is working and we are going to keep pressing on with our plan.

QUESTION:

One Nation wants companies to stop using overseas call centres to help it consider its support of the company tax cut. Does the Government have any business telling companies what to do in that way?

TREASURER:

The Australian Government doesn't engage with any discussions we have with crossbenchers in public. We are aware of their proposals. We have our plans for growing the Australian economy and we are going to stick to those plans.

QUESTION:

The Government has been pushing its crackdown on multinational tax avoidance…

TREASURER:

We have.

QUESTION:

That is what Pauline Hanson has been asking for in terms of her consideration of supporting the company tax legislation in the Senate. Are you confident that you're offering enough in that respect to win One Nation's support?

TREASURER:

There is no government in the world today who is doing more to combat multinational tax avoidance than Australia. We are leading the world in multinational tax avoidance. We have the runs on the board to prove it so far and we are continuing to press forward. I'm at the G20 next month, that will be the issue I will be raising most significantly, and you have to do it together with other countries around the world. That is what we have already proved with the success we've had with our multinational anti-avoidance legislation. Let's not forget, the Labor Party voted against multinational anti-avoidance legislation in the Parliament, two years ago, that's what they did. They voted to ensure that big multinational companies could keep getting away with the way that they dealt with profits, taking them offshore, and making sure that they weren't taxed here in Australia. Labor voted against that legislation. We put it into the Parliament, we voted for it, now we've implemented it and some $7 billion in revenue from multinationals is now caught up in the Australian tax net.

Thanks very much.