BACKING BACKPACKERS: Pauline Hanson supporst cutting the backpacker tax to 10%.
BACKING BACKPACKERS: Pauline Hanson supporst cutting the backpacker tax to 10%. MICK TSIKAS

Pauline Hanson's backpacker love affair

DON'T kill the golden goose.

That was the message from One Nation leader Pauline Hanson as she outlined to the QT why she is opposed to the government's desired changes to the backpacker tax.

Senator Hanson is supporting Senator Jacqui Lambie's proposal to cut the backpacker tax from 19% to 10.5%.

That proposed cut is also endorsed by the Greens and Labor in the Senate, contrary to the Coalition's proposal of 19%.

If the government's plan fails to get up the rate will automatically revert to 32.5% if backpackers claim to be non-residents when filing out their tax forms.

But most self-assess as residents and don't pay any tax until they reach the tax-free threshold of $18,200 is reached.

It has been reported that scenario is likely to continue unless one of the Coalition's MPs crosses the floor in the House of Representatives if the Senate agrees to 10.5% and some of Labor's amendments.

Tourism Research Australia released statistics for the year ending March, 2015 stating that backpackers account for 13% of the total tourism spend in Australia, totalling $3.2 million.

There are 600,000 backpackers who visit Australia each year and half of them either work or holiday in Queensland.

The Lockyer Valley farmers in particular depend on backpackers to ensure they get their produce to market.

Senator Hanson said the backpackers would still come at 10.5%.

"We can't kill the golden goose," she said.

Senator Hanson said there were too many lazy unemployable Australians who refused to work and that the farmers depended on the backpackers to get their produce picked.

"If we don't protect the backpackers coming out here the farmers are going to suffer because they won't be able to get their fruit picked," she said.

"I have spoken to growers and they have said if it wasn't for the backpackers they would have no workers whatsoever.

"They rely on the backpackers and the farmers have said to me that if the backpackers didn't come they wouldn't even plant their fruit.

"I'm pushing for 10.5% and backing Jacqui Lambie and Labor.

"The Nationals and the Liberals are making a big mistake to push for 19%.

"I spoke to Barnaby Joyce and Scott Morrison about this and they said the National Farmers Federation was backing 19% but I don't put my trust in them after what they let happen to the dairy industry.

"If we make the tax too high we may not get the backpackers coming to the country and that will only hurt our farmers."

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