Barnaby Joyce can run, but he can't hide on the Backpacker's Tax.
We have learned in recent Senate Estimates that Barnaby Joyce was a key supporter of the tax within the Turnbull Government and that he chose not to address labour issues in the Agriculture sector through his white paper process.
Departmental Official: “Labour supply issues generally were considered as part of the white paper. A number of submissions were made in relation to labour supply issues as part of the white paper. As it turns out, there were not any specific measures introduced in response to those at the time. However, of course, both the agriculture white paper and the northern Australian white paper needed funding to pay for them and part of the source of the funding was from this particular measure”. Page 35, Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee Transcript, 5 May 2016.
Following the 2015 Budget, Barnaby Joyce was clearly a supporter of the tax, saying that:
“It does seem a little bit incongruous that someone can work four months, five months, six months and get a tax-free threshold because that actually puts them at a strategic advantage on two levels to their other Australian workers”. 7.30 Report, 13 May 2015.
The Turnbull Government’s decision to now delay the tax only creates more uncertainty.
Today's stunt adds insult to injury because we know Barnaby Joyce is a key supporter and architect of this tax. Announcing another review will only serve to prolong the pain for the agriculture sector.
It is also clear that Mr Joyce is still trousering the $500 million he intends to raise from the Backpacker's Tax while pretending changes will be made. He will only enjoy some credibility on this review when he commits to giving up the revenue he intends to raise over the Budget forward estimates.
What is the point of a third review if the Government still intends to raise the $500 million?
Until Barnaby Joyce gives up the revenue for his Backpacker Tax, it is not dead – just delayed.
TUESDAY, 17 MAY 2016