Sep 27, 2016

Coalition backpacker tax backdown

The Turnbull Government’s embarrassing Backpacker Tax back down today has proven yet again the tight stranglehold George Christensen and the extreme right of the Coalition have on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

All that happened today was the Treasurer trying to dress up the back down as a ‘compromise’ when it was actually an internal Coalition agreement to break an election commitment on the Backpacker Tax.

This was a problem created by the Government in the first place.

The Government’s standards have slipped so badly, that Malcolm Turnbull’s definition of success is taking more than a year to announce a backflip on a Coalition Budget measure.

No one is applauding.

The fact is, the Coalition has dithered on the Backpacker Tax since May 2015, creating mass uncertainty for farmers, agriculture and tourism sectors on this issue.

Labor is keen to ensure we get the right outcome in this policy space.

We won’t rush to failure like the Coalition seems eager to do. We’ve previously seen the Government demand support for unseen legislation, and then the detail didn’t match the rhetoric.

Labor wants to be satisfied the Government has properly consulted with key stakeholders in the affected sectors and worked through the details to reach an outcome that doesn’t create unintended consequences.

The Government needs to answer questions about the development and impact of the overall package. What modelling and consultation has been done by the Government and Deloitte on these measures? What second-round effects has the modelling uncovered?

The Government has now offered a briefing, which the Opposition will take-up shortly, before going through the normal internal policy process.