SUBJECT: Tax cuts.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: G’day Ollie. Good night last night?
OLIVER PETERSON: Well it was indeed for New South Welshmen. As a proud New South West Australian I am very, very pleased with the results.
ALBANESE: Yeah. I think the NRL would be pretty pleased as well with the fact that people will now come in their hordes to game three and I think the West Australian Government will be pretty pleased as well because it was a fantastic tourism event for WA as well.
PETERSON: It certainly was and to have 15,000 East Coasters over here for Origin was a marvellous success. We look forward to hosting origin again very, very soon. Now Anthony Albanese your Shadow Cabinet has met today but you decided you won’t endorse tax cuts for all Australians. Why is that the case?
ALBANESE: Well in fact that’s not what we decided. Under our proposal all Australians will get a tax cut and they’ll get one from July 1. We support Stage One with regard to Stage Two of the tax cuts we want the Government to bring forward the increase of the 37 per cent threshold from $90,000 to $120,000. That’s an important part of Stage Two. We want that brought forward to the current financial year. Now that would provide up to $1,350 to all those, all those earning above $90,000 dollars and it would come in from July 1. What we need is economic stimulus now. The economy is slowing. Wages aren’t seeing any growth; they’re stagnant. Consumer demand is in a slump. We have the Reserve Bank reducing interest rates to try and stimulate the economy. And they’re saying that there needs to be a bring-forward of infrastructure investment and we’re also calling for that.
What we’re not doing is just giving a tick to the Government’s proposed tax cuts coming in 2024-25 because we don’t know what the economy will look like in five years time. There’s already been a change in the economic outlook since the May election in one month. So the idea that you would lock yourself into these Stage Three cuts that cost about; pretty close to $100 billion is in my view a triumph of hope over economic reality and experience.
PETERSON: Mathias Cormann has described Labor is being economically irresponsible and fiscally reckless. He says that they are wanting to run the budget and the Government from Opposition, holding Australian workers who voted for lower income taxes to ransom. And he says it looks like the people who impose the politics of envy on Bill Shorten will continue to call the shots inside the Labor Shadow Cabinet. He’s given those quotes to The Australian newspaper this afternoon. It does not appear as though the Government is willing to budge. It’s either all three stages or no tax cuts at all and they’re pointing the finger squarely at you, Anthony Albanese.
ALBANESE: Well they’ve got to decide whether they are actually the Government or not or whether they’re just whingers on the sideline carping about what happens in 2025. We’ve put forward a constructive proposal; support for Stage One, support for the element of Stage Two with a bring-forward to now, when it’s necessary, not waiting for 2022; getting on with stimulating the economy and giving every Australian worker a tax cut now, not what the Government’s proposal is which is certainly not to give every Australian worker a tax cut. I mean our proposal if you bring forward the increase in the threshold to 2019-20 to the current financial year, what you’ll have is if you’re on $120,000 you’ll get $1,350. If you’re on anything above that you’ll get that amount as well and between 90 and 120 you’ll get an increase proportionate up to that figure. And of course Stage One means that low and middle income earners will get a tax cut as well.
As well we’re proposing to bring forward infrastructure investment. We’re saying that we want to sit down with the Government and work that through. The Reserve Bank has called for it. We are being economically responsible based upon the needs of the economy today, not pretending that we’ve got a crystal ball and we know what the economy will need in 2025.
PETERSON: Is it hard for you to argue though Albo, because a few weeks ago when you here in the studio as well and we were looking at the election loss, the couple of things missing from Labor’s picture was around aspiration and values. Is this policy decision of yours today flying in the face of exactly that aspiration for all Australians?
ALBANESE: Well this is about aspiration, Ollie. Let me be very clear, really simple here. Under Labor’s proposal people who are earning above $90,000 will all get a tax cut. Under the Government’s current position, they will not. They have to wait till 2022, which may well be after the next election. Given the timetable which is there, it most likely will be. So you know we are putting forward a responsible proposal that will give a tax cut to every Australian right now. We have offered to ensure speedy passage to the House of Representatives and the Senate next week. If the Government just actually puts its rhetoric aside and actually has an examination of the proposal and is responsible and supports what every economist and the Reserve Bank is saying is necessary, which is not to just leave it up to monetary policy in the interest rate cuts that we saw just this month; that we need also to look at fiscal policy and that is what Labor is doing. Well someone’s going to lead in this country and what we’ve seen from the Government at the moment frankly, it isn’t leadership it’s just plain politics.
PETERSON: Anthony Albanese appreciate your time. Thank you.
ALBANESE: Thanks for having us on, Ollie.