Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (14:49): I must say: the revolutionary talk that is coming out of this place! I mean, normally we would be expecting to try and bring down the federal government coming from the other side of the house. That was a very interesting contribution, Mr Finn.
From the outset, I actually support a reduction in payroll tax, and while I do not recall 1939 and I do not recall—
Ms PATTEN: I am not sure whether the government side should take it as a compliment that Mr Finn wants to give the government back the right to introduce state income tax and take it away from the federal government and actually sack half of his federal colleagues.
It is an unusual day when Mr Finn and I are in agreement, but today is one of those days. I certainly have supported the reduction in payroll tax for many years. What I do remember was 1992. We started to see the introduction of the GST over the 1990s and the conversation about the GST. In one of those conversations about the GST I believe our Prime Minister in the late 1990s, Prime Minister Howard, assured us that the introduction of the GST would see the end of payroll tax. Now that did not happen. That did not happen. We are seeing it diminish. We see each year either the thresholds go up or the percentages go down. You look at somewhere like the ACT where I think the threshold now sits at $2 million. This is not about a small business tax.
However, I agree that this tax is not a healthy tax. To tax jobs is not helpful, and certainly it was the Australian Sex Party’s policy to reduce payroll tax and it is the Reason Party’s policy to reduce payroll tax.
A member interjected.
Ms PATTEN: Yes, we were radicals, that is right. I mean, I am all for taxing cannabis, but taxing jobs might be another matter. However, this motion does not do this. Today we have got two motions. We have got Mr Quilty’s motion here that is ‘payroll tax should be reduced, please discuss’, and the next motion will be, ‘Group voting tickets should be abolished, please discuss’. There is not an action there. We are not actually achieving anything.
Another brief point I wanted to make is that the crossbench gets a few small precious opportunities to lead debate. I get two opportunities a year to lead debate, and I am very thoughtful about those and I really work on them, and I know exactly what I will be doing in my next opportunity to lead debate, and I will be letting my crossbench colleagues know that very shortly. But we got notice of this motion—was it Friday or was it Monday—
Mr Gepp: Friday.
Ms PATTEN: late Friday afternoon. What they were passionate about was reducing payroll tax, and they were so passionate about it they decided to talk about it on Friday; you know, three working days before we were to debate the matter.
So while I support the notion of reducing payroll tax, putting forward a motion like this saying, ‘Let’s reduce payroll tax, let’s discuss reducing payroll tax’—it will not reduce payroll tax. It gives the great opportunity for a wideranging conversation about all taxes and about revolutionary ideas like abolishing the federal government, or abolishing two-thirds of the federal government. That would be another interesting debate; I am just not sure about whether this is the right chamber for that to occur. That may be a matter for the federal government to debate. On that point, they were the few points I wanted to make on this motion.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Mr Quilty’s motion 5/5/21