The Greens initiate inquiry into the government's property tax bill

The Greens stop the government from ramming through their property tax bill to ensure it was properly consulted on. 

The Greens initiated the inquiry into the terms of the Government’s property tax Bill to ensure that the Bill was properly consulted on and both political parties and the public had the opportunity to hear from experts on the Bill. The Government tried to ram the Bill through Parliament and shut down our inquiry in the process, but we managed to secure the inquiry and ensure that the Bill was properly considered.

You can read the full hansard here

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (14:42): It concerns me greatly how this legislation has been brought about. I made it clear to the Treasurer and his team that The Greens proposed to refer the bill to an inquiry because we want to take a considered look at this legislation. I have heard what the Leader of the Government in the House has said. This reform has flip-flopped between a lot of different proposals. At one point, the idea was to have two different types of property—some that could have property tax applied and some that could not. To say that what we have in front of us has been consulted on and that we have had its terms for any more than a week is absurd. In the ACT, the Labor-Greens Government has moved from stamp duty to land tax. It is of great concern that this Government did not think to seek our input on how to do this reform properly.

But listening now to the Leader of the Government, it is clear that even he does not understand the nuances and variations involved in a reform as significant as this one. What we put on Thursday—and it would have been reported to the House on Thursday had we not seen some shenanigans going on—was that an inquiry be held within the next two weeks so that instead of having a week in which to review this legislation, we would have three weeks before it came to a vote.

I am not going to get involved in the backwards and forwards between the Government and the Opposition on this. From a crossbencher perspective, and from a member of the Legislative Council who understands full well what the role of this House is, we are asking for time to consider this legislation to make sure that it is not going to have unintended consequences and to make sure that it is the best it can be. Because that is the role of this House and that is particularly the role, as we have shown, that the crossbench can play over time.

I urge the Government to chill out and relax a little bit. Let's have an inquiry and look into this because The Greens have not made up their minds on this legislation. I have always been incredibly honest about our position and our policy because we, as a party, are bound by our policy. It is not something we get to decide on the fly. We have conflicting pieces of policy with this legislation. We would like to come to a considered approach. We are asking for an inquiry so that we can hear from experts, apply our minds to it after the sitting week is done, and perhaps at the end of that process we would vote on it. Instead, in its arrogance this Government is trying to shove this through and say that we do not understand the legislation, despite having shepherded it in in the ACT.

There is legislation and then there is the impact of legislation. We are looking at a situation where housing affordability is already at a crisis. We will probably have a global financial crisis hitting us again very soon. There is a lot to consider when it comes to housing affordability, and it is not clear from the research that targeting this one little piece of the market will have the impact on the whole market that the Government is claiming it will. We want to have a look at it. I urge the Government to relax and let us have this legislation for a few more weeks, and then we can talk about it and vote on it in November.

The Hon. Damien Tudehope: What was your original proposal?

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: I will respond to that. The original proposal we made was for it to be in the second week of November because we thought we were getting a reserve week. When we found out we were not getting a reserve week, we brought it forward. We still hope we have a reserve week because we have a lot of business to do. We are not just about elections; we are about making good laws. I urge the House to support the referral.

 

You can read the inquiry transcript where The Greens concerns were vindicated in insisting on the inquiry because what we heard was neither experts nor even treasury were properly consulted on the bill here

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