IT’S OFFICIAL – GOVERNMENT’S TOP TAX PRIORITY IS GUTTING TRANSPARENCY
The Abbott Government has today shown that its top priority on tax is helping big companies keep secret how much they really pay.
In the very same week a major Senate report has called for better tax transparency, the Abbott Government has introduced legislation to gut Australia’s existing tax transparency laws.
This morning, Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will table a bill that will roll back Labor’s transparency rules, introduced in 2013.
These laws require the Australian Tax Office to publish information about the income and tax paid by companies earning over $100 million a year.
Joe Hockey was spruiking these very rules on ABC Radio just three days ago when arguing against the need for better transparency.
ABBOTT’S CUTS LEAD CSIRO TO SELL THE FARM – LITERALLY
Australia’s premier research agency has been forced to turn property developer to make up for the Abbott Government’s deep funding cuts.
Today, the CSIRO announced it is seeking approval to re-develop a major tract of land in Canberra that has previously been used for agricultural research.
The agency has asked the National Capital Authority to re-zone the Ginninderra Field Station Site on the Barton Highway as 'Urban Area' in the next amendment to the National Capital Plan, due out next year. This would allow CSIRO to sell or build on the site for commercial development.
CSIRO would not need to sell off its assets if the Abbott Government hadn’t slashed $115 million from its funding in the 2014 Budget.
RADIO NATIONAL DRIVE
TUESDAY, 18 AUGUST 2015
SUBJECT/S: Marriage equality; Dyson Heydon; EPBC Act.
PATRICIA KARVELAS: We're joined in our Parliament House studio by Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Dr Andrew Leigh – hi Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: G'day Patricia.
KARVELAS: And the New South Wales Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos. Hi Arthur.
ARTHUR SINODINOS, SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES: Hi Patricia.
KARVELAS: Let's start with you, Arthur Sinodinos: why do frontbenchers need the riot act read to them? What's going wrong?
SINODINOS: Because last week we had a process of discussion in the party room on same-sex marriage which came to a disposition, which later became a decision, about a process for allowing the people to have a vote on this in the next Parliament. So then what happened afterwards is that various frontbenchers were out there, before there'd been a Cabinet discussion, giving their view about the form in which this consultation of the people should occur. What the Prime Minister was indicating, I think, in the party room today was that this is not the appropriate way to go about it and with the Canning by-election coming our way very soon, we need to make sure we are speaking with one voice and restoring Cabinet government so we can get on with focusing on the things that matter most to the people of Australia.
KARVELAS: But I've got to ask, Arthur Sinodinos, is there a position? You don't really have one yet – there’s only a sort of half position.
SINODINOS: The undertaking the Prime Minister gave to the party room was to come back with a process after consulting the Cabinet, and bring it to the party room in the next little while. I think that means, probably, when we're next sitting again.
JOE AND JOSH PRESS THE PANIC BUTTON AS TAX INACTION LAID BARE
Joint media release with Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen
The Abbott Government is a shambles on multinational tax, as ministers desperately try to hide their inaction on making multinationals pay their fair share.
Later today the Senate’s corporate tax inquiry will table a report which lays bare the worrying scale of tax avoidance by big multinationals.
Joe Hockey and Josh Frydenberg have been out spinning hard in response, but they can’t even get their own policies straight.
PYNE: STOP THE PAYBACK AND PAY WHAT YOU OWE
Joint media release with Shadow Minister for Tertiary Education Kim Carr
The Abbott Government is vindictively withholding funding from the University of Canberra, despite being required to pay it under a signed contract.
In mid-2013, the university signed an agreement with the Commonwealth to establish a ‘Centre for Quality Teaching and Learning’ at the University of Canberra.
The role of the centre was to help Australia place in the top five countries globally in reading, maths and science by 2025 through increasing teacher effectiveness.
In 2014 – nearly a year into the agreement – Education Minister Christopher Pyne cancelled the contract for the Centre. The Government has since refused to pay the $4.4 million that the University of Canberra says it is owed.
FAIRFAX BREAKING POLITICS
MONDAY, 10 AUGUST 2015
SUBJECT/S: Entitlements; bracket creep; GST; budget.
CHRIS HAMMER: Andrew Leigh, six weeks of parliamentary break, the Government is still doing badly in the polls. Is that simply because of the entitlements issue or do you think there is more to it than that?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Chris, as many serious commentators are starting to ask: what is the point of the Abbott Government? Where is their serious reform agenda? Where are the things they want to put in place in order to create a better future for the next generation of Australians? We have got a Government which is so beset by internal infighting, so concerned with itself that it has lost touch with the concerns of everyday Australians. The importance of seeing more jobs, better paid jobs, has been lost in a context now in which we have got the highest unemployment rate in two decades. We have got sluggish wage growth, and according to the Climate Institute, we are not going to make our 2020 carbon targets. There is a range of really concerning intergenerational factors about the current state of play in Australia.
PROJECT TETRIS ADDS TO UNCERTAINTY FOR IMMIGRATION
News this week that the Abbott Government is looking to fill over 30,000 square metres of vacant public service office space through ‘Project Tetris’ has only increased concern that the Department of Immigration will be moved out of Belconnen.
Parliament’s Public Works Committee has been told the Commonwealth plans to fill this space by moving agencies between premises and delaying new leases.
The leases on four of the office buildings in Immigration’s current complex at Belconnen expire in February 2016. Since putting the tender out for new facilities in October last year, the Abbott Government has resolutely refused to say whether it will keep the department in the spot it has occupied since the 1970s.
THE WRONG EFFECT (TEST) IS TO INCREASE PRICES
Joint Media Release with Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen
Australian businesses and consumers should be concerned by the news that the Abbott Government is rushing its response to the Harper report and announcing an effects test in section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act.
After weeks of lurching from news report to news report about the former Speaker’s travel entitlement abuses, the Prime Minister seems intent not only on making crazy economic policy, but making it on the run.
Families are already facing huge cost of living pressures as a result of this Government’s Budget cuts - and Tony Abbott is set to announce economic policy that will see Australians pay even higher prices at the checkout.
Today, Tony Abbott needs to answer a very simple question: how much will food and grocery prices increase as a result of this new red tape?
BUSINESS LEADERS HAVE THEIR SAY ON TASMANIA’S FUTURE
Joint Media Release with Julie Collins MP
Federal Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh today joined Labor’s Tasmania Taskforce to discuss the state’s economic future with locals and business leaders.
“Tony Abbott’s first two budgets cut support to Tasmanians and widened the gap between those on high incomes and those doing it tough”, Dr Leigh said.
“We have a Federal Government who has slashed $2.1 billion from health and education in Tasmania while Liberal Premier Will Hodgman looks on silently from the sidelines.
STILL NO NEWS OR PLAN FOR IMMIGRATION AT BELCONNEN
As the wait for news about the Department of Immigration’s future in Belconnen stretches into its 45th week, it is becoming increasingly clear the Abbott Government actually has no idea what to do with the department.
This week I received correspondence from Minister Peter Dutton linking Immigration’s future to the Abbott Government’s wider review of long-term public service accommodation requirements in Canberra. This suggests that eight months after the tender for new offices closed, the Government is still unable to commit to keeping Immigration in Belconnen.