Speeches

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (16:47): As we begin on the Treasury portfolio I note, having watched the Minister for Trade and Competitiveness deal with his set of estimates in this place, that he took the questions for 45 minutes and did not seek to have the time taken up by any of his colleagues to come along and waste time. I certainly hope that the Assistant Treasurer will be following the practice of the minister for trade. As you know, Deputy Speaker, it has been a tradition in this place that these estimates take place so the opposition can ask questions of the minister. The Assistant Treasurer has allotted, I think, just 30 minutes of the one hour, and we sincerely hope that he is not going to seek to avoid scrutiny by having his own backbenchers waste half of that time and provide only 15 minutes. We would commend…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (11:26): I rise on behalf of the shadow Treasurer to speak on this Tax Laws Amendment (2013 Measures No. 1) Bill. The bill has three schedules. Firstly, it seeks to strengthen integrity rules for scrip-for-scrip rollover in relation to small business and other concessions. Secondly, it seeks to provide tax exemption status for certain ex gratia payments for natural disasters. Thirdly, it seeks to extend tax deductibility status to ethics education. In relation to the third schedule the coalition has a number of reservations in relation to the broad drafting, and in the consideration in detail stage we will seek to remove this schedule from the bill. This was foreshadowed yesterday by our shadow Assistant Treasurer, Senator Mathias Cormann. First, let me deal with the first two schedules. The first schedule seeks to amend the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 to ensure that certain integrity rules…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (12:12): Let me say at the outset the coalition will not oppose these bills, even though they contain a tax increase on superannuation. The coalition made it clear in response to Labor's budget that while many of its measures are objectionable, the coalition reserves the right to implement Labor's measures if needed as part of our pathway back to surplus. Australia cannot keep running up record debt and deficits. There is a fundamental difference between the coalition and Labor. We believe that governments, like families and businesses, have to live within their means. We will have a commission of audit so that government is only as big as it needs to be to do what people cannot do for themselves. At least for the first term, until we are on an honest path of not just a surplus but repaying debt, an incoming coalition government will…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (17:14): This debate on the appropriation bills provides each member with an opportunity to give their views not just on the budget but on any aspect of government policy. Of course, it is right and proper that each member of parliament who speaks on these bills focuses, to a large extent, on the government's budget. With a budget the government tells the nation its priorities and the public in turn can judge it on its capacity, on its competence and on its priorities. In this very Federation Chamber last year we had this debate and if we could go back to that moment in time we had those opposite pledging, and in some cases announcing, that they had achieved a budget surplus. As I reflect on each of our current Treasurer's budgets, they all have one underlying theme: with each budget there are grand promises that…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (20:00): I ask leave of the House to move the second reading on behalf of the member for North Sydney. Leave granted. Mr TONY SMITH: I move: That this bill be now read a second time. The member for North Sydney had introduced this bill, the Tax Laws Amendment (Disclosure of MRRT Information) Bill 2013, in his name but unfortunately he cannot be here this evening because he is meeting a speaking engagement that was agreed to quite some time ago. As you would understand, Madam Deputy Speaker, he has no control over the timing of these debates. The coalition, as members would know, is seeking to amend the confidentiality of taxpayer information provisions within the Taxation Administration Act 1953, in order to provide an exception to the prohibition imposed on tax officers in relation to the disclosure of information regarding the tax affairs of a…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (12:44): I support the motion of the member for Aston, and I commend him for putting the motion to the House. The member for Aston understands the importance of transport not just in and around Melbourne but right throughout the outer suburbs of Melbourne. He knows that in his electorate, which adjoins my electorate of Casey, an efficient and productive road network is important for families, it is important for everyone travelling to and from work, and it is absolutely vital for our businesses that are selling products right across the Melbourne network. I want to address a couple of things at the outset. It is very clear that the Labor Party oppose the East West Link. It is very clear, and who is here— Mr Mitchell: Mr Deputy Speaker Scott, I rise on a point of order. The member opposite has misled the House deliberately,…