Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Speech in Parliament - Superannuation - 3 September 2014

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (15:49): Who said this? Who said:

If we don't have the revenue from the tax then we can't make the investments.

Mr Baldwin: It must've been our side.

Mr TONY SMITH: It was not our side. It was someone who sits over on that side. But he is not here. I will give you another hint. It is someone who has just written a book. It is someone who still defends the mining tax. It is someone who said a few years ago, 'We have temporary deficits.' It is someone who stood at that dispatch box a few years ago and said, 'I proudly announce surpluses tonight and into the future.' That is right—it was the member for Lilley back on 25 March 2011.

Let's not have members opposite, such as the member for McEwen, rewriting history. I am going to forgive the member for McEwen. I think the member for McEwen sticks to the script no matter what it is. Those opposite introduced a mining tax to raise money, to fund the things they are talking about—but it did not raise any money. It did not raise any money after they were warned it would not raise any money. I sat on the parliamentary committee that looked at the bill and witness after witness warned that they were irresponsibly locking in permanent expenditure on a shaky tax base that would never deliver.

Now you have the member for McEwen talking about a schoolkids bonus that three years ago they said had to be funded through a mining tax. Now the revenue is not there—and this is a real window into the Labor Party—they are more than happy to keep on keeping on irresponsibly. That is not what they said in government. In government they said they would raise the money and from that money they would fund these programs. But they raised none and went ahead and spent $17 billion. You only have to look at how this policy was born and then what happened to it to get the simplest explanation for Labor in power in the last two parliaments.

This mining tax, which the member for Lilley and those opposite were so proud of, was in its original form part of the Henry review. They sat on that review and sat on that review, and then they released this policy Pearl Harbour style on the mining industry. Then, of course, it started running off the rails. Where was the courageous member for Lilley then? He could not be seen; he handballed it to Kevin Rudd. Knowing that he had a control freak on his hands, he knew Kevin would delve into it. Kevin took responsibility and Kevin lost his job. Then along came Julia. She said to the member for Lilley, 'You've got to fix this mess you have created'. So, desperate to get a fix before the 2010 election, the member for Lilley altered the tax. It is now quite common knowledge that he did so without a single Treasury official in the room! From there, he legislated it and left us with the budget problem that we have today.

Those opposite are defiant; they are determined on the subject. Presumably they are going to reintroduce it if they ever have the chance, even though it will not raise the money to fund the things that the member for Lilley said they needed the revenue for. He said:

The mining tax linked investments cannot be made without mining tax revenue.

But they made the investments anyway. As I said, stubborn. I say to the member for McEwen that the coyote from Road Runner was stubborn too. You have to occasionally look at the quality of public policy. What we have seen in this debate, and what we have seen from the Leader of the Opposition, is no acknowledgement of failure.

Mr Conroy interjecting—

Mr TONY SMITH: In the case of the three amigos, and the one always-smiling amigo—I will give you that, perhaps it is involuntary—what we see is ignorant acceptance of what they are told. This sums up everything about the former— (Time expired)

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