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senate vote 2020-11-10#12

Edited by mackay

on 2020-11-27 11:53:10

Title

  • Bills — Economic Recovery Package (Jobmaker Hiring Credit) Amendment Bill 2020; in Committee
  • Economic Recovery Package (Jobmaker Hiring Credit) Amendment Bill 2020 - in Committee - Transparency

Description

  • <p class="speaker">Louise Pratt</p>
  • <p>I move opposition amendment (1) on sheet 1092:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(1) Schedule 1, page 3 (before line 27), before item 5, insert:</p>
  • The same number of senators voted for and against an [amendment](https://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2020-11-10.185.1) introduced by West Australian Senator [Louise Pratt](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/wa/louise_pratt) (Labor), which means it was unsuccessful.
  • ### Amendment text
  • > *(1) Schedule 1, page 3 (before line 27), before item 5, insert:*
  • >
  • > *4C Before section 8*
  • >
  • > *Insert:*
  • >
  • > *7C Requirements for rules that provide for jobmaker hiring credit scheme—whistleblowing and complaints measures*
  • >
  • > *(1) This section applies if rules are made for the purposes of subsection 7(1A) that provide for a kind of payment known as the jobmaker hiring credit.*
  • >
  • > *(2) The rules must provide for the following in relation to the scheme for the jobmaker hiring credit:*
  • >
  • >> *(a) whistleblowing processes; and*
  • >>
  • >> *(b) processes for making and handling complaints.*
  • >
  • > *(3) The rules must also require the Commissioner to publish, on a periodic basis during the relevant period and at the end of the scheme, general information about the complaints that have been made in relation to the scheme, including:*
  • >
  • >> *(a) the number of complaints received; and*
  • >>
  • >> *(b) the key issues or behaviours that are the subject of complaints.*
  • ### What does the bill do?
  • According to the [bills digest](https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd2021a/21bd023):
  • > *The purpose of the Economic Recovery Package (JobMaker Hiring Credit) Amendment Bill 2020 (the Bill) is to amend the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Act 2020 (the Payments and Benefits Act) to enable payments to be made to help improve people’s prospects of gaining paid employment or to increase workforce participation, between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2022.*
  • >
  • > *The Bill also allows for the establishment of a scheme related to one or more of the payments intended to help improve people’s prospects of gaining paid employment or increasing workforce participation.*
  • <p class="italic">4B Before section 8</p>
  • <p class="italic">Insert:</p>
  • <p class="italic">7B Requirements for rules that provide for jobmaker hiring credit scheme&#8212;reporting of information about high income employers</p>
  • <p class="italic">(1) This section applies if rules are made for the purposes of subsection 7(1A) that provide for a kind of payment known as the jobmaker hiring credit.</p>
  • <p class="italic">(2) The rules must provide that the Commissioner must, as soon as practicable after the end of each month, make publicly available the information referred to in subsection (3) for an entity that:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(a) is receiving or has received the jobmaker hiring credit; and</p>
  • <p class="italic">(b) is covered by subsection (4).</p>
  • <p class="italic">(3) The information is as follows:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(a) the entity's ABN (within the meaning of the <i>Income Tax Assessment Act 1997</i>) and name;</p>
  • <p class="italic">(b) the total number of employees employed by the entity as at the end of the month;</p>
  • <p class="italic">(c) the total amount of payments of jobmaker hiring credit paid to the entity during the month;</p>
  • <p class="italic">(d) the total amount of payments of jobmaker hiring credit paid to the entity during the relevant period up to the end of the month.</p>
  • <p class="italic">(4) An entity is covered by this subsection if the Commissioner has reported information under section 3C of the <i>Taxation Administration Act 1953</i> in relation to the entity at any time during the 2 year period ending at the end of the relevant month.</p>
  • <p class="italic">Note: Under section 3C of the <i>Taxation Administration Act 1953</i> the Commissioner is required to publicly report certain information about corporate tax entities with reported total incomes above certain high income thresholds.</p>
  • <p class="italic">(5) To avoid doubt, for the purposes of section 355-50 of the <i>Taxation Administration Act 1953</i>, subsection (2) of this section and rules made for the purposes of that subsection create a duty to make information available.</p>
  • <p>Here we have monthly reporting on subsidies received by large companies currently subject to corporate tax transparency data regimes. So, much like with the earlier amendment, we really want to be able to see that if foreign companies, for example, or large companies that might have tax arrangements overseas are using this wage subsidy that they are legitimately using the wage subsidy to create new jobs and not just to increase profits that can then avoid taxation here in Australia. This amendment would require data on firms with turnover of $100 million, including their ABN, their total number of employees and the payments of hiring credits on a quarterly basis.</p>
  • <p>Question negatived.</p>
  • <p>There is another important issue in terms of the transparency of this legislation. In keeping with the amendments we've moved previously, this scheme needs to have integrity and it needs to protect workers. This means that individual workers should not just have recourse to complaints to the Fair Work Ombudsman, for example; there should be within the rules an ATO procedure to protect whistleblowers so that someone is able to approach the ATO directly in order to raise questions or, indeed, raise issues of corruption of the scheme.</p>
  • <p>In moving this amendment, I would really like to also ask the minister, if he intends to have the government vote against this amendment: what protection will the government provide for whistleblowers who raise complaints about the corruption of the scheme? I move opposition amendment (1) on sheet 1095:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(1) Schedule 1, page 3 (before line 27), before item 5, insert:</p>
  • <p class="italic">4C Before section 8</p>
  • <p class="italic">Insert:</p>
  • <p class="italic">7C Requirements for rules that provide for jobmaker hiring credit scheme&#8212;whistleblowing and complaints measures</p>
  • <p class="italic">(1) This section applies if rules are made for the purposes of subsection 7(1A) that provide for a kind of payment known as the jobmaker hiring credit.</p>
  • <p class="italic">(2) The rules must provide for the following in relation to the scheme for the jobmaker hiring credit:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(a) whistleblowing processes; and</p>
  • <p class="italic">(b) processes for making and handling complaints.</p>
  • <p class="italic">(3) The rules must also require the Commissioner to publish, on a periodic basis during the relevant period and at the end of the scheme, general information about the complaints that have been made in relation to the scheme, including:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(a) the number of complaints received; and</p>
  • <p class="italic">(b) the key issues or behaviours that are the subject of complaints.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Simon Birmingham</p>
  • <p>The government will be opposing this amendment. The JobMaker hiring credit will be supported by a number of processes to enable the making and handling of complaints. These processes are not required to be included in the rules to be effective and their inclusion would have the potential to create conflicts with other areas of legislation and may be seen as in fact limiting potential existing avenues for the making and handling of complaints.</p>
  • <p>An important element of consideration here is that we are talking about normal employment arrangements for employees. Yes, we are creating an incentive to get more young Australians employed as a result of this reform. That's an important part of the reform that is being put in place. However, all of the ordinary practices and processes of the Fair Work Act and the operations of the Fair Work Ombudsman for the receipt of complaints will continue. In terms of the administration of the credits themselves, those are matters that the Australian tax office will be able to manage and monitor. They have their own tip-off line available to report any illegal behaviours or behaviours of concern.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Mehreen Faruqi</p>
  • <p>The Greens will be supporting Labor's amendment because this bill must include protections for whistleblowers and a process for making and handling complaints. There is so little in this bill and so much missing from the regulations and, with such a flawed, underdeveloped proposal on the table, the government must, at the very least, put in place reporting and complaint-making and complaint-handling processes to try and mitigate the risks that will, no doubt, come with the implementation of this scheme.</p>
  • <p class="italic">The CHAIR: The question is that amendment (1) on sheet 1095, as moved by Senator Pratt, be agreed to.</p>