The Government is ashamed of its tax package - Speech, House of Representatives

SPEECH - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

WEDNESDAY, 24 MAY 2018

There is a reason the government ran out of speakers on this debate. There is a reason the Treasurer had no-one behind him. It's because this government is, deep down, ashamed of the package they have. They're ashamed that we on this side of the House are offering tax cuts which are better, bigger and fairer than theirs. On budget night, the Treasurer cunningly put together two sets of tax cuts—a set that comes in in about six weeks time and a set that comes in in about six years time. The set that come in in about six weeks time would, according to the Grattan Institute, make the tax system more progressive. That's why Labor is happy to support those tax cuts due to take effect in six weeks time. In fact, we won't just back them. We'll do better. We will offer an average Australian an additional $400 a week compared to those opposite.

But then there's the tranche that come in in six years' time, and those tax cuts will make the system markedly less progressive. I can see them leaning together, 'SloMo' and 'No Show', chatting away together.

According to the Australian National University, middle-income earning Australian households would get an extra $913—about one per cent of their disposal income—while the top fifth of Australians in 2024 would get $4,900—2.2 per cent. When we look across Australian suburbs, in the 2024 tax cut, according to NATSEM, Toorak would get three times as much as St Albans. A household in Bellevue Hill would get three times as much as a household in Lakemba. That's what the government's 2024 tax cuts would deliver. So the tax cuts in six weeks' time, they're fair. The tax cuts in six years' time, they're deeply unfair.

The Australian Institute has looked at the gender composition of where the money goes in 2024. As the Leader of the Opposition says, we're not talking about the frontbench because, this week, when the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services stood up, the frontbench had no other women on it. The Australia Institute estimates that for every dollar that goes to women in 2024, $2 goes to men.

This idea that we're going to start off with a small tax cut to the middle class, back-ended by a big tax cut to the top one per cent, well, that's got a long playbook. If there's one thing that I detest more than ideologues, it is unimaginative ideologues who are borrowing their playbook from overseas. These tax cuts are so similar to the 2003 Bush tax cuts—a small, flat-rate stimulus to all Americans and then a back-ended tax cut, half of which went to the top one per cent. They bear more than a passing similarity to President Trump's tax cuts—passed through, short-term impact, looking fairly equitable—but the long-term impact of the Trump's tax cuts sees the bottom fifth get nothing and multimillionaires get a tax cut of $700,000.

There is a more than a passing similarity to the 2014 budget, where we had permanent benefit cuts to low-income Australians, but the only short-term hit was the increase to the debt levy, which went up from July 2014 to June 2017 and was then taken off despite the fact that this mob opposite have doubled net debt. They have sent gross debt through the half-a-trillion dollar barrier for the first time in Australian history. And they hate it when the shadow Treasurer stands up and says we won't just match you on debt reduction; we will beat you on debt reduction. We can do that because we can make the tough decisions on trusts, because we'll take on tax havens, because we will close unsustainable tax loopholes. We will not only tackle housing affordability but we'll close tax loopholes that your own predecessor, Joe Hockey, said he would close but those opposite are too gutless to close.

ENDS

Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra


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