Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia
SABRA LANE: Today’s Newspoll found 63 per cent of people surveyed either favoured the tax cuts put in place as soon as possible or over the next ten years as the Government’s planned. I spoke earlier with the Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.
Mathias Cormann welcome to AM.
MATHIAS CORMANN: Good morning.
SABRA LANE: How much solace are you taking from the Newspoll results around the support for the company tax cuts?
MATHIAS CORMANN: It is good to see that more and more Australians understand that their future job opportunities, job security, career prospects and wage increases depend on the future success and profitability of the businesses around Australia that employ them.
SABRA LANE: Well what do you make of the results?
MATHIAS CORMANN: It is encouraging to see that more Australians understand that we cannot continue to put businesses around Australia at a competitive disadvantage, because if we put Australian businesses at a disadvantage, we are putting Australian workers at a disadvantage. It is good to see that that message is starting to get through.
SABRA LANE: And Pauline Hanson changed her mind last week sighting community support. It had been her fourth or fifth time that she changed her mind. How likely is it that she will change her mind again based on these results?
MATHIAS CORMANN: My message to all Australian Senators is that the Australian people need them to vote for those business tax cuts in full, because people understand that their future prosperity and their future success depends on the future success and prosperity of the Australian businesses that employ them. If we continue to put them at a disadvantage compared to the businesses they compete with in other parts of the world, it will weaken our economy and cost jobs.
SABRA LANE: Why not limit the tax cut to companies with a turnover of $500 million or less and that way the big banks miss and that will appease the crossbench. That seems to be what has upset Senator Hanson and other crossbenchers.
MATHIAS CORMANN: Because it would be a bad thing to do. Because many businesses around Australia with a turnover of more than $500 million would be put at a continuous disadvantage, putting the jobs of Australians working for those companies at risk. The truth is we do not want to put an artificial barrier on the growth and expansion of businesses that are just below that threshold. Imposing a five per cent higher tax just because a business goes past that $500 million threshold would be a hand brake on their future growth and that would be a hand brake on future jobs growth across Australia.
SABRA LANE: The Opposition Leader Bill Shorten seems to think the Government will abandon the corporate tax cut. Will you stick with it until the next Federal Election?
MATHIAS CORMANN: That is what we have very clearly pointed out. Yes we will because a globally more competitive business tax rate is even more important now than when we took it to the last election, because since then the United State has reduced their business tax rate to 21 per cent and since then France has decided to reduce their business tax rate from 33 to 25 per cent. Bill Shorten knows that a globally more competitive business tax rate is in Australia’s national interest. He has made a reckless and irresponsible decision to campaign against our national interest, because he perceives that a more populist position, which as it turns out is not that populist at all, because he perceives that his position will win him more votes. He is not doing this because he thinks it is the right thing to do.
SABRA LANE: Would a $200 million a year new tax on digital advertising on the likes of Facebook and Google make the job of convincing the Senate crossbench easier?
MATHIAS CORMANN: We have taken very significant steps in recent years to ensure that multinationals pay their fair share of tax in Australia. The Treasurer has already indicated that he would be issuing a discussion paper in relation to how the tax policy settings in particular for digital businesses can be further improved. That is something that will be pursued in due course.
SABRA LANE: But could it make your job easier of convincing them to vote for the Government’s corporate tax cuts?
MATHIAS CORMANN: All Senators should be supporting a globally more competitive business tax rate in Australia because it is manifestly in the interests of working families around Australia wanting to get ahead. Nine out of ten working Australians work for a private sector business. If we put the businesses that employ them at a competitive disadvantage, we put those nine out of ten working Australians at a disadvantage. What the polls today indicate is that more and more Australians understand that.
SABRA LANE: Mathias Cormann, thanks for your time this morning.
MATHIAS CORMANN: Always good to talk to you.