Hanson: ‘I won’t be bullied’
MALCOLM Turnbull is facing an uphill battle this week to pass his $65 billion company tax cuts through the Senate with Pauline Hanson insisting she won't be "bullied" into backing the plan.
The government needs to change the minds of at least four crossbenchers to secure the reform, which aims to cut Australia's company tax rate from 30 per cent to 25 per cent over ten years.
Prime Minister Turnbull is hopeful Finance Minister Mathias Cormann will be able win their support this week after he secured their votes for the $144 billion personal income tax cuts last week.
But One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, whose party is contesting a by-election in Queensland next month, is refusing to budge on her decision to oppose the reform, saying today she will not be "threatened" or "bullied" into changing her mind.
The Senate showdown over company tax cuts comes as a new poll shows most Australians still back the Coalition's economic management over Labor's.
Senator Hanson has been accused of "political posturing" and "attempting to score cheap political points" by other crossbench senators who back the plan, including Cory Bernardi, Fraser Anning and David Leyonhjelm.
The senators have told The Australian Senator Hanson simply wants to boost her party's vote at the Longman by-election through opposing the tax cuts, claiming it was why she had reneged on her support for the government's plan last month.
A defiant Hanson defended her stance on the tax cuts this morning, saying: "I will not be threatened. I will not be bullied by anyone."
"I am not siding with Labor or the Greens, I'm siding with what I think is right for the country and for people," she told Channel 7's Sunrise program.
Senator Hanson revealed she has also faced pressure from billionaire Clive Palmer, who is attempting to make a political comeback and has already nabbed her former One Nation colleague Brian Burston to win his first United Australia Party senator in the upper house.
She claimed Mr Palmer had phoned her staff yesterday to urge her to support the company tax cuts and "threatened" the party with a negative preference deal unless she backed the bill.
Senator Derryn Hinch has also been lobbied by Mr Palmer to back the tax cuts.
Senator Hanson did not rule out ever backing the tax cuts today, saying her position would ultimately depend on the government agreeing to "go after" multinational companies to "get them to pay their taxes in this country".
The government already has measures in place targeting multinational tax avoidance and Treasurer Scott Morrison is expected to announce new tax measures targeting tech and internet giants within weeks.
But Senator Hanson has claimed the government has failed to give her assurances that it will target multinationals and so she will not back the company tax cuts this week.
"If we don't start paying down our debts in the black hole that we have, we are going to have a huge debt for future generations," she said.
The government has already passed tax cuts for businesses with a turnover up to $50 million. The rest of the package, which costs $35 billion and will deliver the tax cuts to all businesses, will be put before the senate this week.
Currently, One Nation's two senators, Centre Alliance's two senators and fellow crossbenchers Derryn Hinch and Tim Storer do not back the plan.
But the government remains hopeful Senator Cormann can change their minds.
Asked on ABC radio this morning about Senator Hanson's insistence she could not be moved, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said: "Well, look, she said that some weeks ago about the personal income tax too."
He argued businesses needed the tax cuts to be able to grow and give their employees higher wages.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also did not rule out the chances of negotiations succeeding, saying the government would work hard to secure support for the reforms.
NEW POLL BACKS TURNBULL
Meanwhile, a Fairfax/Ipsos out today shows most Australian voters continue to back Mr Turnbull over Bill Shorten as the preferred prime minister.
The pegged Mr Turnbull at 51 per cent against 33 per cent for the Labor opposition leader.
However, the poll shows the Coalition continues to lag behind Labor on a two-party preferred basis, at 47 per cent to 53 per cent.
The 1200 voters polled by Ipsos between June 20 and June 23 were also asked how they rated the leaders in nine categories, including economic management with 67 per cent backing Mr Turnbull against 48 per cent for Mr Shorten.
In the "strong leader" category the Prime Minister was on 49 per cent and the opposition leader on 41 per cent.
Mr Shorten rated more highly than Mr Turnbull on social policy, leading 59 per cent to 44 per cent.
The poll was conducted soon after the government's $144 billion personal income tax cuts plan finally passed federal parliament last week.
- with AAP