Dr Chris Back - Liberal Senator for Western Australia


February 16, 2017

Senator BACK (Western Australia) (15:08): Well, you have got to the bottom of the barrel, haven't you, when you roll out dear old Senator Cameron? He talks about lies and he talks about being unable to trust, and the first thing that comes to my mind is 'Mediscare'. Remember 'Mediscare'? On 30 June, in the evening, Senator Cameron: a phone call from a friend of mine in rural WA telling me that his aged mother, in a nursing home, had a call—not a robo-call, but from someone representing this mob—asking her what she was going to do on 1 July, because the coalition, in government, was going to withdraw all aged-care facilities and Medicare. And don't you walk out of here now, Senator Cameron, after the nonsense that you have just projected, because we know very, very well what you are about.

Let me tell you about capital gains tax. The Treasurer only the other day—and on 16 February, this very day, the following day—the government has no intention of supporting Labor's policies on negative gearing or capital gains tax. I reckon I can understand that. I can read it, and I hope people who are listening can also do so.

I came into the parliament having been in business for some 45 years, and I wanted to see no increase in taxes and I wanted to see smaller government. And whilst I am in this place I will continue to prosecute that case. But let me tell the people of Western Australia—and my good colleague Senator Dean Smith knows—what is happening on 11 March when Labor is in government. The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. I go back to when that miserable Treasurer, that failed Treasurer, Mr Eric Ripper was the Treasurer under the Gallop government. He remained there. Mr Gallop was not a bad bloke; he could not handle the pace, and it is to his credit that he made that decision, but poor old Eric stayed on under the failed Carpenter government as well. And do you know what he did, Attorney-General? He decided to introduce—I will call it—the new premium property tax. This was to be a tax affecting 900 owner-occupiers, particularly in Perth, and it was to put a tax on unimproved land value.

So, if anyone wants to guess what my good friend Mr Mark 'Sneakers' McGowan will do in the unlikely and hopeless event of him becoming the next premier of the state, look no further than Mr Eric Ripper. And do you know, the outburst: there was an absolute outburst of rage. And do you know who it came from? Mainly from people who voted Labor. Why? Because it is the fact that in this country, except for the Senator Camerons of this world, everybody these days is aspirational. People have moved on from the 1920s version of the old union Labor—families, children move on. They want to get into the property market. And of course over time, owners of properties that they themselves purchased or that were maybe left to them by parents or whatever find that values go up.

So, what did dear old Mr Ripper have to do? Senator Smith remembers. He had to humiliatingly backtrack, because his own constituents rejected him. And what was happening in 2001, Attorney-General? We were coming up to a state election, and so many Labor candidates knew very well that people in their electorates would have been severely disadvantaged. But do not worry too much about what might happen into the future; learn from the events of history. Those who ignore them are bound to repeat them. What did Mr Keating do as Treasurer of this country in the Hawke period? He introduced negative gearing on property. And do you know what happened? Rents all went up. Why? Because people went out of the housing market. There was then an overdemand and a lower supply, and of course up went the prices.

The simple fact of the matter is that it is not the intention of the Turnbull government or its Treasurer, Mr Morrison, to change capital gains tax. Why? You pay capital gains tax only when you actually make a profit. You have invested. You have encountered a risk. You invest, you sell, you make a profit and you pay some tax. You pay the tax only when you make a profit. (Time expired) 

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