This Week in Parliament
There is a very busy week scheduled for Senate this week with a large number of bills due to be considered, including the budget appropriation bills which need to be passed before the start of the financial year.
There are also some committee reports to be delivered including a report of the Economics Committee on the naval shipbuilding industry, consumer protection for the banking and finance industry from the same committee, and a report from the Finance and Public Administration Committee on the digital delivery of government services.
The main issue preoccupying the Senate this week will be the corporate tax cuts.
The government is determined to have a deal done on the cuts before the end of this parliamentary session.
This is likely to be a tougher proposition than the passage of the personal income tax cuts.
On Saturday Pauline Hanson stated that she had no intention of passing these cuts.
In the circumstances the Coalition is four votes short of the number needed to pass the bill, those of One Nation and the Centre Alliance.
“Our intention is to deal with it this week, and our intention is to secure the necessary support through the Senate, in order to legislate those business tax cuts in full,” Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said.
On the other hand Labor is determined to continue Bill Shorten’s class warfare rhetoric in the run up to the Super Saturday by-elections by attacking the corporate tax cuts as a give-away to the big end of town.
Campaigning in the Queensland seat of Longman on Sunday Mr Shorten accused the government of trying to bully him into passing the cuts by name calling.
“Who here is surprised that the government is trying to bully me and bully Labor into voting for these corporate tax cuts this week with some simplistic name-calling about being anti-big business,” Mr Shorten said.
There are suggestions from some commentators that the government would welcome rejection of the corporate tax cuts by the Senate so they could go back to the drawing board and redraft them but Finance Minister Mathias Cormann denied this was the case.
“The same as we said we would not be splitting the personal income tax bills ... we will not be splitting the company tax cut plan from here,” he said.
However there are reports that some of the back bench would like to adopt Senator Derryn Hinch’s proposal for a tax threshold of $500 million.
Hinch said that the Senate would be doing the government a favour by not giving tax cuts to the big banks.
The irony is that the big banks are probably the companies least concerned about whether they get a cut.
By and large they do not operate in an internationally competitive market and in the event they passed the tax cuts on to their shareholders they would probably only be making up for the money the shareholders lost as a result of dividend imputation.
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