Business tax cut plan appears doomed

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SENATE FOREIGN INTERFERENCE BILL

The government is short of the votes it needs to get its business tax cut plan through the Senate

The Turnbull government's hope of delivering tax cuts for all-sized businesses appears dashed, after Pauline Hanson urged the coalition to "take it to the next election".

With Thursday being the final day of parliament before the long winter break, the government remains well short of the eight crossbench votes it needs to get the draft laws through the Senate.

It was aiming to win over the two One Nation and two Centre Alliance senators.

But after appearing to waver over her opposition to the tax breaks, Senator Hanson told 3AW radio on Wednesday: "Let them take it to the next election, let's see what the people say."

"We're standing firm on it, we're not supporting corporate tax cuts," she said.

Earlier in the day, Labor accused Senator Hanson of being a "flip-flopper" after she reneged on a previous agreement with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann to back the cut in the company tax rate from 30 per cent to 25 per cent, but then opened the door to government talks.

"I will change my mind as many times as I want to ensure that I come up with the right decision," Senator Hanson said.

Labor senator Tanya Plibersek said Senator Hanson had voted with the coalition 100 per cent of the time this year.

"She may as well just apply for re-admission to the LNP," she said of the former Queensland Liberal MP.

Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick told AAP on Wednesday: "Centre Alliance are not in a position to support the company tax cuts until the government provides us with a guarantee that there will be no cuts to health, education and welfare as a result."

However the government's chief negotiator Senator Cormann is not giving up on seeking to get a vote on the bill.

He has ruled out a compromise deal that would limit reductions to businesses with a turnover of up to $500 million, as backed by independent Derryn Hinch, because the government would then lose the support of fellow crossbencher David Leyonhjelm.

Senator Hinch is sticking to his guns.

"I haven't changed. I don't intend to," he told ABC TV.

It was unclear on Wednesday afternoon whether the government would make the Senate sit beyond Thursday into Friday in order to give extra time for the tax cuts bill debate.

Meanwhile, Labor MP Ross Hart said Bill Shorten's decision to announce the repeal of legislated tax cuts for companies with annual turnovers between $10 million and $50 million had not gone to shadow cabinet.

Mr Hart described the policy as a "matter for Bill Shorten".

However, Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said Mr Shorten had a "right to announce Labor policy" and had done it in a way consistent with Labor's voting position on the tax laws.

He said Labor's already-announced "business investment guarantee" would have a significantly greater benefit than that which the government was proposing.