Doorstop - Logan (6)

06 November 2017




SUBJECT/S: Turnbull Government in chaos; multinational tax avoidance and Paradise Papers; Turnbull Government’s citizenship crisis; Queensland state election


JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE: There's a lot around today: the release of the Paradise Papers into multinational tax avoidance; there's the open rebellion in the Liberal Party over Malcolm Turnbull's leadership; and there is of course this citizenship crisis, which is eating the Turnbull Government alive. I think if there's one thing which joins all of the crises that Malcolm Turnbull faces, and all of his failures, is that he's born to rule, but unfit to lead.


Whether it's multinational tax avoidance, or multinational Members of Parliament, Malcolm Turnbull is too out of touch to act. When we have rampant multinational tax avoidance, Malcolm Turnbull's answer is to give big business a tax cut. When we have rampant multinational tax avoidance, Malcolm Turnbull has in the Parliament right now policies to make big multinationals pay less tax and for ordinary Australian workers to pay more tax. And I think that sums it up. That says it all about Malcolm Turnbull, how out of touch he is, how born to rule but unfit to lead that he is.


Until Malcolm Turnbull and his Government pick up Labor's very sensible proposals for a tax haven transparency package, we will continue to be relying on leaks like the Paradise Papers overnight to get to the bottom of multinational tax avoidance, which robs communities right around Australia of the taxpayer-funded services that they need, the investment that they need in the future of this country. So we urge Malcolm Turnbull to come to the table and adopt Labor's very sensible package of tax haven transparency policies, which we put on the table some six months ago. By choosing not to act on multinational tax avoidance and running a protection racket for multinational tax avoiders, and by choosing not to deal with this citizenship crisis, Malcolm Turnbull is showing again just how unfit he is to lead. 


We have a situation here with a citizenship crisis that is eating his Government alive and he is failing to lead on it. This is a test of Malcolm Turnbull's leadership and he is failing it dismally. We've had more reports over the last few days of doubtful MPs in the LNP. We call on Malcolm Turnbull to adopt Labor's proposal for a process of universal disclosure to the Parliament, or refer those doubtful MPs to the High Court. Malcolm Turnbull might be the only person in this country who thinks that the citizenship crisis is not worthy of his attention or his action.


The status quo is not good enough anymore. Something has to give. We can't go on like this. It is a test of Malcolm Turnbull's leadership and he's failing that test.


We have very strict processes in the Labor Party. We have nothing to fear from universal disclosure to the Parliament and we want to work in a bipartisan way with the Government to put in place a process that will give the Australian people the confidence that we can move on beyond this citizenship crisis. It is time for Malcolm Turnbull to swallow his pride and to do something to put this behind us.


Finally, on the Queensland election. I think it says it all about Pauline Hanson that she launched her so-called "Battler Bus" today with a fancy bottle of champagne. One Nation likes to pretend that they are the friends of the battler, but at every opportunity they cosy up to the spivs and silvertails of the LNP whenever they can. That's why we have Tim Nicholls playing footsie with One Nation on preferences and preference deals, and that's why he can't rule out a dodgy deal to form a minority Government propped up by One Nation should the election go that way. The absolute worst thing for Queensland battlers would be a vote for One Nation, which would prop up a minority LNP Government led by Tim Nicholls when we know that the last time Tim Nicholls was in Government we had all of the cuts to jobs and frontline services, all of the carnage associated with his time as Campbell Newman's right-hand man.


Over to you.


JOURNALIST: I have some questions just on the universal disclosure. How would a system of universal disclosure work?


CHALMERS: We think it should be possible for the parties to come together and agree on a process where Members of Parliament like myself and Senators disclose universally their citizenship arrangements. We think that should be possible, it should be doable. I think Malcolm Turnbull now is the only one who thinks that a process of that kind can't be done. We're not wedded to the specifics of that. We'd like to work through the details with the other parties in the Parliament, but that is a system that would work. If you move around any community in Australia, they want this dealt with. What we've done in the Labor Party is we've put a constructive proposal on the table. We've invited the other parties to discuss that with us, because we think we need to find a way forward. The status quo is not working. Things can't go on like this. Something has to give, and it's a test of Malcolm Turnbull's leadership whether he can act on this crisis that is eating his Government alive. Whether it's multinational tax avoidance or multinational Members of Parliament, Malcolm Turnbull has shown so far that he's too out of touch to act.


JOURNALIST: This whole idea of a universal disclosure, is not just like a Clayton's audit, where it's intended to look like something but nothing's actually happening?


CHALMERS: Of course not. You can call it whatever you like; you can call it an audit if you like. The point is, there should be a process of universal disclosure, where we make available to the Parliament the relevant documentation which shows that we are eligible to sit in that Parliament. I think almost everybody in Australia except Malcolm Turnbull would agree that we do need a process to fix this citizenship crisis, which is eating the Turnbull Government alive. Until we do that Australians won't have the confidence to know that we are all properly elected and the whether the Turnbull Government is legitimate or not.


JOURNALIST: Is it true that Labor will be conducting its own internal review?


CHALMERS: In the Labor Party, we've already got the strictest, most robust processes to make sure that when we run for Parliament, that we are eligible to sit in the Australian Parliament if we win. And I can attest personally to the robustness and the strictness of that process. I've been through it myself, and we are supremely confident that our MPs and Senators are eligible to sit in the Australian Parliament. We've had long-standing processes to get to the bottom of that so that we can have that confidence. The other parties obviously have not had the same level of rigour. All we're suggesting is that we agree in a bipartisan way with the other parties in Parliament a process where that can happen, so we can have high standards so that Malcolm Turnbull can swallow his pride and act and so we can move on from this citizenship crisis.


JOURNALIST: So that means that there won't be an internal review?


CHALMERS: On the Labor side we already have the strictest possible process, and so your question relates to something that we don't need to do. We do that on an ongoing basis. When you nominate for Parliament, there are very strict and robust processes, as I said.