Morning doorstop, Canberra
21 November 2016
Subject: ABCC; backpacker tax
It's very important that when I head back to Queensland, where we're trying to build the north, build dams, that we get things like the ABCC Bill, like the Registered Organisations Bill passed. Because these bills will help us build infrastructure, they'll help us develop our country, because they're going to allow constructors, workers, builders to all come together without the influence of trade unions that just want to stop things. Those unions that would prefer to sit down rather than build. I think we're a nation of builders. I think we've got a real positive agenda, particularly in Northern Australia. So these bills this week are very important for that. And I'm excited about the fact that they're on the agenda.
Do you think a compromise can be reached on the backpacker tax?
Well look I hope so. It's amazing the level of hypocrisy that politicians will go to. We had Bill Shorten up in Queensland last week saying that he backed Australian workers. But he's going to come to Canberra this week and back foreign workers, because he's not going to support a bill that will allow Australians to have a lower and more competitive tax rate relative to foreign workers. That's what this bill is about. This bill is making sure that working holiday visas, people from overseas, pay a fair amount of tax relative to Australian workers. Because I do think Australian workers deserve the first crack, I do think that Australian people deserve the first go at a job in Australia. But currently the way our working holiday visa system works, foreign workers have a tax advantage, which is unfair, and it's a tax advantage that Labor and Bill Shorten want to keep.
There is a lot that’s being planned to be legislated [inaudible] what are your hopes for the last two weeks of Parliament?
Look I can't predict anything. It's certainly the case that the last two weeks often concentrates minds, that in the last two weeks of Parliament, when the clock starts ticking and we're getting close to midnight, suddenly agreement is more likely to be found. So there is that promise, there is that hope, but you can't count your chickens until they hatch.