CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER: Well last night every single member of the Liberal and National Parties voted against bigger tax cuts for low and middle income Australians. The Labor Party sought to amend the Government’s tax legislation to provide for income tax cuts for every Australian working earning more (sic) than $125,000 which in many cases are close to approaching double what the Turnbull Government is offering.
Malcolm Turnbull voted against that, Scott Morrison voted against that, every single Liberal and National MP voted against that. When the Liberal Party says they are for lower tax they are lying when it comes to low and middle income Australians. Every time Scott Morrison says the Labor Party believes in higher tax, he’s not telling the truth. When it comes to low and middle income Australians.
In the Budget Reply, Bill Shorten outlined a clear, sensible, costed, funded plan to provide greater tax relief to those Australians who are on low and middle incomes. The Government says all they have is that they can say Labor won’t deliver it. That’s all they’ve got. Well last night we sought to make it the law of the land and they voted against it. Scott Morrison is all talk when it comes to tax.
We also moved in the House to remove the second and third stages of the tax cut legislation to enable them to be considered separately. We want the tax cuts to come in on 1 July 2018. We don’t want them delayed as we look at the tax cuts which apply from 2022 and 2024 which are in no way urgent for the House or the Senate to consider. That’s what a responsible Opposition does. We don’t just tick and flick billions of dollars of decisions. Now last night the Treasurer finally after days of questioning released further costings, not the full costings that Labor had been asking for year by year but the costings on tranches two and three. He did that in his final speech on the legislation. Not upfront, not before the House could consider it, but just in the dying stages of the debate.Well we are glad we finally got that information out of him last night. We will now use the Senate to examine that information but importantly they should split the Bill in the Senate and enable full consideration of the different tranches.
Still on tax, the Government’s centrepiece economic policy is falling apart. Of course we’ve seen that they can’t get their, at this stage, corporate tax cut for big business through the Senate. Now we’ve got senior Liberals and Nationals saying it should be dropped. The Former Deputy Prime Minister nonetheless, Barnaby Joyce, saying it’s time to reconsider this plan.
Now the problem with a one point plan is that when that one point falls over you don’t have a plan B. Malcolm Turnbull has a one point plan for the Australian economy. They’ve put everything on the corporate tax cut. It’s all they’ve got. They don’t have Labor’s Investment Guarantee, they don’t have Labor’s FutureAsia framework, they don’t have Labor’s commitment to vocational education and training, they don’t have Labor’s commitment to schools. All of which form part of our economic growth plan. All they’ve got is the corporate tax cut. If they can’t deliver that then they’ve got nothing and if Malcolm Turnbull drops the corporate tax cut what’s the point of Malcolm Turnbull. What’s the point to the Turnbull Government when they drop the things that they say are so important. We had the GST increase, we had the GST base broadening, we had state income taxes all dropped.
Now Malcolm Turnbull says he believes in the corporate tax cut. We take him at his word. Take it to the election, make the next election a referendum on Malcolm Turnbull’s corporate tax cut for big business.
Happy to take any questions on those or other matters.
JOURNALIST: So the Government provided some details of those costings. Just at this early stage of saying you’re taking a look at them but they been pause for reflection, have they changed your evaluation at all of the second part of the plan?
BOWEN: Well we got them last night, it’s early the next morning. You don’t make these decisions based on a quick look on figures that we finally dragged out from Scott Morrison –
JOURNALIST: So what will your criteria be there?
BOWEN: You take your time to look at them carefully. We’ve made clear our strong scepticism about the 2024 tax cuts, their fairness and their cost. We’ve said we’ll have a look at the 2022 tax cuts. We’ll have a look at the data. We want to look at the distributional data and the analysis that goes with it. We’ll have Treasury before Senate Estimates next week. There will be a Senate Enquiry in the legislation. We’ll do what a responsible alternative Government does and take our time to work through these issues which as I remind you, tax cuts aren’t scheduled to come in until 2022 and 2024. I think we have that time.
JOURNALIST: Will you be going ahead with your own distributional analysis?
BOWEN: We always undertake our own analysis, especially when the Government point blank refuses to provide theirs.
JOURNALIST: And just on those ADF reports so that’s just in the last six months there’s been accusations of rape, revenge porn and child abuse within, of soldiers and defence force personnel. Do you think that kind of behaviour is endemic and what needs to happen?
BOWEN: I haven’t seen the report in detail I have seen some coverage of the report. Obviously any report like that is deeply concerning. I’m sure Richard Marles will be looking very closely at the matter and will be having more to say. Of course if there are allegations like that they need to be dealt with in the most serious and comprehensive manner possible.