Abbott Pressures Parliament To Repeal Taxes By Christmas

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has repeated his call for the Parliament to repeal the carbon and mining taxes by Christmas.

With Parliament due to begin its final week for the year tomorrow, Abbott has posted a video on YouTube in which he says that “December is the time to deal with unfinished business”.

There have been suggestions in recent weeks that the government might keep the Parliament sitting closer to Christmas. In fact, the government can only determine when the House will sit and it will have dealt with the relevant legislation by the end of the week.

In the Senate, control lies with the ALP and the Greens and it is not yet clear whether the legislation will be voted on before it rises.

  • Watch Abbott’s video message (2m)

Abbott Government Outlines Legislative Program For First Parliamentary Sittings

The Abbott government has issued a document listing the first items of legislation to be considered by the 44th Parliament.

The Parliament is to be ceremonially opened next Tuesday, November 12. The first Question Time will take place on Wednesday.

As expected, legislation to repeal the carbon and mining taxes will be among the first to be introduced. Abbott has promised that repealing the carbon tax will be the first piece of legislation to be introduced to the House.



Senator Christine Milne’s Address To The National Press Club

The leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Christine Milne, has addressed the National Press Club and announced that the party’s agreement with the Gillard minority government is at end end.

Milne

  • Listen to Milne’s speech (31m)

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  • Watch Milne (61m)

Text of Senator Christine Milne’s Address to the National Press Club.

Australian Democracy at the Crossroads: The mining industry and the quarry past versus the people and the innovative future.

Parliamentary colleagues, distinguished guests and friends.

Australian democracy is at the crossroads. Our future as a nation, our sense of who we are and what we want for our society and local community is now being determined by mining billionaires in boardrooms for themselves and their overseas shareholders, and what they want, is being delivered through our state and federal parliaments.

The mining industry has become so powerful that the lines between business and politics have become blurred to the detriment of people and the well being of our society. [Read more...]


Kevin Rudd Interviewed On Anniversary Of Stolen Generations Apology

This interview with Kevin Rudd was conducted by David Speers and shown on Sky News.

Rudd discusses the anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations and the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI.

He also obliquely criticises Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan over their handling of the mining tax.

This is Rudd’s speech to Reconciliation South Australia on February 13, 2013:



Mining Tax Raises $126 Million In First Six Months

The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has announced that the mining tax has raised $126 million in its first six months.

The Minerals Resource Rent Tax was budgeted to raised $2 billion in its first year.

Text of statement from the Treasurer, Wayne Swan.

Minerals Resource Rent Tax revenue

Today, the Australian Tax Office has provided the Government with combined Minerals Resource Rent Tax revenue figures for the first two quarters of the 2012-13 financial year.

Combined revenue from the first two quarters of the MRRT totalled $126m.

It’s clear revenues from resource rent taxes have taken a massive hit from the impact of continued global instability, commodity price volatility and a high dollar.

Revenues across the board are down very substantially – MRRT is a profits-based tax that raises more revenue when profits are higher and less when they are lower.

The Government has always supported increased transparency in our tax system and we believe any revenue from the MRRT should be published – which is why I am making this information public after it was received earlier today.

The Assistant Treasurer is leading the Government’s work to broaden transparency in the business tax system, including in relation to MRRT revenue, and remove any ambiguity from reporting requirements.

The information being released today was provided by the ATO following recent collections after it was satisfied disclosing two quarters’ instalments would not breach taxpayer confidentiality provisions of the Taxation Administration Act 1953.

The information provided by the ATO today is attached [PDF 99KB].


OECD: Australia A Standout Economy

The OECD’s latest economic survey says Australia’s 21 years of uninterrupted growth “stands out among OECD countries”.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an organisation representing 34 of the world’s richest and most developed countries, says Australia’s growth performance “has been sustained by sound policies” and the Asian commodities boom.

The OECD says the main challenge for Australian economic policy is “to manage a sustained recovery, while promoting important structural changes in the economy.”

OECD reports are usually written with input from the Treasury. Amongst the report’s policy recommendations, it says: “The current shift in the policy mix is appropriate. If the cycle weakens, ease monetary policy and let the automatic stabilisers work. Whilst monetary policy should be the first line of defence, if a full-scale global crisis of similar magnitude as in 2008-09 erupts, be ready to adopt prompt fiscal expansion.”

The report also urges a reduction in company tax and a broadening of the mineral resource rent tax (MMRT).

The Secretary General of the OECD, Jose Angel Gurria, described Australia as the “iron man” of the OECD. He was interviewed by ABC News24′s Scott Bevan:

Text of a media release from Treasurer Wayne Swan.

OECD survey shows Australian economy a standout

The OECD’s latest economic survey of Australia released today shows once again that our economy stands tall amongst its peers, with 21 consecutive years of growth, robust economic fundamentals and a positive outlook in the face of acute global challenges.

The OECD finds that, unlike many developed economies, the Australian economy remains resilient, with successful macroeconomic management contributing to solid growth, low unemployment, contained inflation, and strong public finances. [Read more...]


Coal Barons Should Help Pay For Catastrophes: Greens

Greens leader Senator Bob Brown has attracted criticism across the political spectrum for his call for the mining industry to be taxed to pay for natural disaster relief.

This is the press release issued by Senator Bob Brown, leader of the Australian Greens.

COAL BARONS SHOULD HELP PAY FOR CATASTROPHES – BROWN

Senator Bob BrownThe full tax on excess profits by the coal mining industry, as recommended by Treasury, should be imposed with half set aside for future natural catastrophes in Australia, Greens Leader Bob Brown said in Hobart today.

“It is unfair that the cost is put on all taxpayers, not the culprits,” Senator Brown said.

“Burning coal is a major cause of global warming. This industry, which is 75% owned outside Australia, should help pay the cost of the predicted more severe and more frequent floods, droughts and bushfires in coming decades. As well, 700,000 seaside properties in Australia face rising sea levels.”

“A Goldman Sachs study found that the reduction in the mining super tax agreed by the current Labor government (the coalition opposes the mining tax) would cost Australians $35 billion in forgone revenue to 2019-20.”

“Scientists agree that current floods come from record-high temperatures of Australian oceans this season.”

“We also ask insurers to show some compassion to Queensland’s flood victims, and to others who face loss as wild weather besets the country. Many people believe they have flood cover and, if not, the fine print should have been disclosed to them.”