After almost a week of attacking Labor’s plan to end cash handouts for non-taxpaying shareholders, the focus switches back to the Turnbull government and what has proved to be its own controversial proposal to cut company tax.
Senate debate on the remainder of the 10-year plan to incrementally reduce the company tax rate to 25 per cent is listed for Wednesday and could be put to the vote in this sitting fortnight of the upper house.
“Let us see how long the debate takes. It certainly would be our intention to have this voted on by the end of this fortnight,” Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told ABC radio on Monday.
The government secured sufficient support last year from the Senate crossbench to reduce the tax rate from 30 per cent for businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million.
These companies enjoy a tax rate of 27.5 per cent in the initial stages of the plan before it eventually drops to 25 per cent in a decade’s time.
Labor and the Greens oppose the entire plan, while minor parties like Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and the Nick Xenophon Team are yet to be convinced the cuts should include bigger companies.
But behind the scene talks continue.
Senator Cormann especially appreciates the way Senator Hanson has remained engaged with the government on this reform.
“If we want people across Australia to have the best possible opportunity to get ahead, and we do, we need to ensure that the businesses that employ them have the best possible opportunity to be profitable into the future,” he said.
He says making sure businesses are not disadvantaged compared to firms in other parts of the world is an important part of that.
The minister has enlisted the help of former Minerals Council of Australia boss Brendan Pearson to help secure passage of the company tax cuts in the Senate.
“It’s essentially to support my efforts in providing answers to a whole series of questions that have been put to me,” he said.