Corporations Amendment (Improving Accountability on Director and Executive Remuneration) Bill 2011


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (10:42): I was working away in my office watching the in-house broadcast of these proceedings on the TV, as I always do, and I was occasioned to come down here by the ultimate hypocrisy of the Greens yet again. Here is Senator Bob Brown railing about the multinationals, the millionaires and the billionaires and how the Greens are opposed to them. I reflect on the flood levy tax, which the Greens supported quite vociferously, and wonder why then Senator Brown was not so concerned about the multinational billionaire companies. You will recall that with the flood levy, which the Greens supported, the only people who were taxed were individual Australians, not companiesnot the big mining companies that earn so much money and send all the profits overseas, as we keep hearing Senator Brown talk about. When I asked Senator Brown during that debate why he was exempting those multinational billionaire companies, as he calls themthe companies that send all of Australia's profits overseas, as he saysfrom the flood levy but imposing that flood levy on ordinary Australians, did I get an answer from Senator Brown Of course I did not, because it just demonstrates the hypocrisy of the Greens political party. I do not want a rerun of the flood levy tax debate, but I do want to ask Senator Brown again why it was that he was imposing a tax on the local butcher and baker but not imposing the same tax on Woolworths and Coles, who are the principal competitors of the local butcher and baker. Did I get an answer to that Would I get an answer now perhaps, Senator Brown Perhaps you will tell me why your party's hypocrisy knew no ends when it came to the flood levy tax. That was an important debate, as is the debate before us today.

What Senator Cormann has indicated on the bill and amendment is sensible and is the way I will vote when this bill comes to fruition, but I do want to know, on hearing all the pious words, all the anger and all the enthusiasm of Senator Brown about the billionaires who run the country, why he exempted those billionaires from the flood levy. Why did he make the local butcher and baker pay the flood levy tax but not Coles and Woolworths

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN ( Senator Forshaw ): Order! Senator Macdonald, I appreciate the context in which you have been putting your remarks in this debate, but we are dealing with entirely different legislation. I think you are starting to stray, particularly in asking questions of Senator Brown on another piece of legislation. You should return to making remarks on this bill.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Thank you, Mr Temporary Chairman. I hoped I was and I certainly intended to talk about this bill. I thought the approach that Senator Cormann adopted on this bill was one which all Australians would support and is certainly the one that I as a senator will be supporting. What I cannot stand in this committee stage is the absolute hypocrisy of the Greens political party. Anyone listening to the debate on this bill would have heard Senator Brown railing about the wealthy people and the billionaires and how they should not be allowed to get away with it.

In the context of that debate, I ask Senator Brown about those that he calls billionaire, multinational companies, mining companies, Woolworths and Coles. I do not agree with his descriptions, as I do not agree with his descriptions on this amendment before the chair, but why is he so opposed to the foreign, wealthy individuals or companies that he is talking about in this debate yet in the flood levy he let them off absolutely scot-free It did not cost them a cent. It cost the local butcher and baker a heap and will continue to do so while this flood levy is on. Thanks to Senator Brown supporting the government on this, those multinational companiesthe billionaires he talks about who run these companieshave been let off scot-free.

I challenge Senator Brown. Perhaps it is not directly on message, but he refused to answer the question during that debate. He scurried away, joined his mates in the Labor Party and got that tax through on ordinary Australians, but when we suggested it should be a more wide-ranging taxthat is, an income tax that everyone paid to fix up the flood damage in my state and other stateswhere was Senator Brown He had scurried away. He was not game to come back and answer those questions then. So here is his opportunity. Perhaps he can do it now. A division having been called and the bells being rung

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