Pauline Hanson now says she may back Coalition's business tax cuts

Pauline Hanson now says she may back Coalition's business tax cuts
Pauline Hanson now says she may back Coalition's business tax cuts

Pauline Hanson has left the door open to support the Turnbull government’s stalled business tax cuts, saying she may consider them if the government cracks down further on multinational tax avoidance.

It is her latest position on the corporate tax package, having recently declared her “final decision” to not support tax cuts for businesses with annual revenue above $50m.

“If they come to me and say we’re going after the multinationals, we’re going to actually get, you know, heaven help us if we can get it, $100bn out of it, then we’ll sit down and talk,” Hanson said.

“You’ve got Google, Microsoft and Apple had an $8bn turnover and they only paid $148m in taxes this country.

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“I have got a list of 145 companies, multinational companies and their subsidiaries, that have paid no tax in this country. We have got ... Origin Energy is one, and it’s not good enough. And they have to do better than that.

“[Unless] they can prove to me there’s going to be a revenue stream that’s going to come in to fund these further company tax cuts ... myself and senator Georgiou will no way support any further tax cuts to company tax.”

The Turnbull government wants to cut Australia’s corporate tax rate from 30% to 25% for all businesses, but its package has stalled in the Senate.

In March last year it secured tax cuts for businesses with a turnover of up to $50m in a deal with former senator Nick Xenophon, but the Senate has refused to support tax cuts for larger companies.

The government still wants to pursue them, and Hanson’s ray of light will be welcomed.

Hanson’s comments come after the government passed a historic $144bn personal income tax package through the Senate on Thursday.

The budget measures passed the Senate in full after a combative morning in both chambers of the parliament. Labor, the Greens and the South Australian independent Tim Storer tried to delay the final vote in the upper house after the government and crossbench supporters combined to gag debate.

The personal tax cuts will be rolled out in three stages over seven years, and will cost the budget more than $143.9bn in forgone revenue after a decade, making it harder for the government to return the budget to surplus.

Hanson said she would like to take credit for the personal tax cuts because One Nation had played a role in getting them passed.

She then lashed out angrily at Labor for starting a “robo-call” campaign against her on Wednesday night in the Queensland seat of Longman where a byelection will be held on 28 July.

A landmark study this month found multinational corporations are shifting roughly $16bn in profits out of Australia into tax havens every year.

It estimated more than $600bn in profits were shifted to low-tax jurisdictions in 2015, with US multinationals being the main “shifters.”

It found about half of all shifted profits accrue to US parent companies, while about 30% accrues to European parent companies.

It estimates that in 2015 corporate tax avoidance by multinationals reduced the corporate tax revenue of Germany by 28%, France and Hungary by 21%, Spain and the United States by 14%, and Norway and Poland by 8%.

Australia’s corporate tax revenue was reduced by about 7%, which equates to roughly $5.4bn in forgone revenue in 2017.

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