Transcript: Jenny McAllister on Senate Estimates, John Lloyd, Pauline Hanson's Secret Deals with the Government and Tax Cuts

11.20am | May 22, 2018


TUESDAY, 22 MAY 2018

SUBJECTS: Estimates, John Lloyd, Pauline Hanson secret deals with the government, tax cuts

MCALLISTER:  Welcome to day 2 of Estimates. What did we learn yesterday? Well we had an extraordinary performance from the Australian Public Service Commissioner. Mr John Lloyd is the man who is charged with taking responsibility for the values and the integrity of the Australian Public Service.

Yesterday he gave a performance so bad that it left the Government Ministers sitting around him essentially confused about what to do. Mr Lloyd was contemptuous with the processes of the Senate. He refused to answer questions and for about an hour he refused to engage with the ordinary process if a witness doesn't want to answer questions. During the course of evidence it was revealed that he continues to send emails to his friends at the IPA, commenting on the performance of the Australian Labor Party in Estimates. This is not the behaviour of a good impartial public servant. This is certainly not what you should expect from a country's very senior public servant charged with overseeing the Australian Public Service.

Today as we go into our second day of Estimates we will be asking Prime Minister and Cabinet to explain exactly what is going on with Mr Lloyd. We are no clearer as to whether or not he is under investigation of any kind. There is some indication that an investigation is going on into the APSC but we don't know who is being investigated or why.

This is completely unacceptable and today we will be looking for answers from the Prime Minister's Department.

We also learnt today from the front page of The Australian that Senator Hanson has walked away from her support of the corporate tax agenda that the Government is pushing. Now the real story today is buried in the detail, because in the second page what you see is details about the secret agreement struck by Senator Hanson with the Government. This isn't the way to run democratic processes. If there are agreements being made about taxation arrangements, deals being struck, the public ought to know about them and today we will be asking the Prime Minister's Department exactly what has gone on with their dealings with Senator Hanson? What have they promised her in the past, what new promises that there may have been made, what don't we know about the arrangements between the Government and Senator Hanson?

It is a very close relationship. Any pretence by Senator Hanson to put distance between herself and the Government for the purposes of the by-elections is laughable. Plainly, there is a deep and close relationship. It is happening behind closed doors and it deserves further scrutiny.

JOURNALIST: Are you surprised that she has withdrawn her support for the big business tax cuts?

MCALLISTER: I think Pauline Hanson would do or say anything to get a vote, but I think people are increasingly waking up to the fact that her actual record is constant support for the Government and constant support for their agenda which hurts the very people she claims to represent.

JOURNALIST: And just I guess, where does Labor stand on the second phase of the Coalitions' income tax plan, which I guess, would aim to tackle bracket creep? Is that something that Labor is looking to support?

MCALLISTER:  We have said that we are open to discussion about phase 2 of the income tax plan. We are not keen on phase 3. This is something that we are working through, but it goes to a very important question. It is difficult to evaluate the merits of the phases of the personal income tax plan without any proper information about the cost to the Budget or their impact on tax payers. The Government has refused to provide a breakdown of how the personal income tax cuts will impact on the budget on a year by year basis and we can't tell really what the impact is or whether or not we can afford them. It is also not possible to tell who benefits. Some of the evidence that is out there in the public domain suggests that particularly phase 3 overwhelmingly benefits high income earners and by implication it overwhelmingly benefits men over women. If that is the case, the Senate deserves to know about it before we vote about it and frankly, the Australian public deserves to know that they're the arrangements that the Government is proposing.

JOURNALIST: So I guess you are waiting for more information before you make a decision then?

MCALLISTER:  We will be seeking more information through the Budget Estimates process to allow us to evaluate the merits of phases 2 and 3 of the Government's tax plan and that's something we will be pursuing today in fact.

JOURNALIST: Now with the Senate Committee is that a case of public servants being in a job for too long and having too much power. Do you think?

MCALLISTER:  Mr Lloyd's approach to our Committee was contemptuous and anyone who saw the footage would see a person who does not have proper regard for the Senate. And that would be unusual in any public servant. It is totally unacceptable for a public servant in Mr Lloyd's position, charged with overseeing the values of the Australian Public Service.



Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra

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