One Nation leader Pauline Hanson could stand in the way of the federal government’s “omnibus bill” of welfare reforms, claiming the cuts are too deep at a time where multinational tax avoidance is still a pressing issue in Australia.
The omnibus bill includes a number of savings measures, including a reduction of family tax benefits and childcare subsidies and proposed changes to paid parental leave, and the government was relying on the votes of Hanson and the other three One Nation senators to pass the legislation.
However, in a statement released on Tuesday, Hanson said the Coalition should not be attempting to make the changes at the same time when multinational companies are able to avoid tax in Australia.
“The coalition needs to realise that before those with the least are asked to tighten their belts, those multinationals with the most, need to start paying their way,” Hanson said, reports SBS.
However, Treasurer Scott Morrison told parliament on Tuesday the government’s suite of measures to stop multinational tax avoidance are working, claiming tech giants Facebook and Google are restructuring the way they book revenue so more flows through Australia.
Morrison said the Labor Party had done “diddly squat” on this issue and quoted tax commissioner Chris Jordan saying the situation was improving, reports The Australian. According to the report, the government will claw back $2 billion in tax from multinationals this year.
This is the final sitting fortnight of Parliament before the 2017 federal budget, and the government has a number of marquee policies to pass, including the welfare changes and the first part of its 10 year Enterprise Tax Plan.
Yesterday reports emerged that the government is planning to pass the first part of its tax reforms through the Senate next week, which would ensure businesses with annual turnover of less than $10 million pay a 27.5% corporate tax rate.
However, what will happen to the planned company tax cuts for bigger businesses is unclear, given there is opposition from crossbench senators to extend the cuts to companies with a turnover of more than $10 million.