GRACosway Weekly Wrap Up: Crossbench changes revive company tax cuts

1 June 2018


  • Newspoll reveals majority of voters support company tax cuts, while the Coalition continues to trail Labor on a two-party preferred basis
  • One Nation senator defies Pauline Hanson to revive Government’s hopes of passing company tax cuts
  • Independent senator Steve Martin has joined The Nationals
  • Former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce goes on leave amid controversy over a paid television interview
  • The Fair Work Commission increases minimum wage by 3.5% to $18.93 an hour

Labor extends Newspoll lead

This week’s Newspoll revealed 62 per cent of respondents support the Coalition’s proposed company tax cuts, despite ongoing criticism from the Opposition and resistance from the crossbench. The survey also shows Labor has extended its lead in two-party terms, polling 52 per cent compared to the Coalition’s 48 per cent. The Coalition’s share of the primary vote has fallen by one point to 38 per cent, while Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has gained ground on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten as preferred Prime Minister, with his lead increasing to 17 per cent.

One Nation divided on tax agenda

The Government’s hopes of passing its company tax cut package have been revived after One Nation senator Brian Burston announced he will support One Nation’s original agreement with the Coalition, in defiance of Party Leader Senator Pauline Hanson, who has labelled her colleague a “sellout”. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the Government is “very appreciative” of Senator Burston’s decision and indicated the legislation will go to the Senate when it resumes in mid-June for a vote before the parliament rises for the winter break on 28 June. Centre Alliance senator Stirling Griff has indicated he and colleague Senator Rex Patrick are also open to further negotiation on the package. The Government must secure eight of 10 crossbench votes to pass legislation when it is opposed by Labor and the Greens; reports suggest the Government still needs four crossbench votes.

Despite reports Senator Burston had attempted to defect to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, he said “I don’t want to cause any angst or division in One Nation, but once I make a handshake with somebody – that’s it”. Senator Burston also revealed he had not been consulted about One Nation’s change in position on the company tax cut package, saying “I keep finding out One Nation policies when I read them in The Australian newspaper”.

Tasmanian senator joins The Nationals

Independent senator Steve Martin has announced he will join The Nationals, making him the first Tasmanian member of The Nationals’ party room in over 90 years. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack welcomed Senator Martin, describing his background in small business, local government and agriculture as a “natural fit” for the Party. Mr Martin replaced Jacqui Lambie in the Senate in February, following her resignation over dual citizenship, however sat as an independent.

Paid interview sparks controversy

Ministers and Opposition MPs have criticised former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce’s decision to participate in a paid interview with partner Vikki Campion. Veteran’s Affairs Minister Darren Chester – a member of The Nationals – suggested MPs should be banned from accepting cash for comment, while Prime Minister Turnbull said the interview was “certainly not” something he would have encouraged. Ahead of the interview airing on Sunday, Mr Joyce has been granted medical leave until the end of June.

Looking Ahead

The NSW, Victorian, SA and ACT parliaments will sit next week.

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