Labor’s highest priority throughout this tax cut debate has been to get more money into the hands of more workers, sooner, to boost an economy which is floundering under the Liberals.
We took to the election bigger, fairer tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes and after the election we proposed amendments which were all about passing the first two stages, bringing forward part of Stage Two, and removing Stage Three from the Bill.
We fought hard for these responsible, sensible changes but ultimately they weren’t supported in either House. The Government even voted against their own tax cuts being delivered sooner.
When it became impossible to get everything we wanted, we had to prioritise what matters most.
We will not oppose the passage of the legislation because we want to make sure Australians receive their tax cut now and that the benefits of the first stage start circulating through the economy and aren’t further delayed.
The Government’s highest priority was to commit to a $95 billion tax cut in five years without revealing what they will cut to pay for it or knowing what the Budget and economy will look like at that point.
We have argued that it is irresponsible to commit to Stage Three five years out, and that remains our view.
A Government which has already broken its core election promise to introduce tax cuts by 1 July can hardly guarantee it will deliver more expensive tax cuts five years and five Budgets from now.
We will review Stage Three closer to the next election and propose our own policies which take into account the economic and budget conditions at the time.