Jul 2, 2019

Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Relief So Working Australians Keep More Of Their Money) Bill 2019 – Consideration in Detail – Tuesday, 3 July 2019

That the short title of the bill be amended to read:

Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Relief So Working Australians Keep More Of Their Money But Not For A Really Long Time) Bill 2019.

We’ve heard from those opposite that they’re actually interested in tax cuts, but what we’ve seen from the amendments that were moved by the shadow Treasurer were tax cuts being brought forward and voted against by those opposite. I wasn’t surprised that the member for Melbourne voted against it, because that’s consistent with the Greens’ position. What just occurred on the floor of this parliament was the new alliance between the coalition and the Greens to stop tax cuts being brought forward for every worker in Australia. Then we had another debate about stage 3, and that’s what this amendment goes to. They say they want tax relief for working Australians, but they don’t want it this term. They don’t even really want it next term. Maybe they’ll want it in the term after.

It’s not like there are any signals out there saying there are problems with the economy. Interest rates are down to one per cent.

An honourable member: It’s free money!

Mr ALBANESE: It’s free! Inflation is 1.3 per cent. Growth is 1.8 per cent on an annual basis. We have low consumption. We have wages that were cut yesterday for 700,000 Australians. We have productivity growth that’s gone backwards for four quarters in a row. We have debt which has doubled on their watch. And do you know what they’ll say? They’ll say, ‘Well, what we have is, of course, Labor’s fault.’ The shadow Treasurer writes op-eds that say—oh, the Treasurer; that’s right. But the point is that it’s really easy to confuse them, because they act like they’re in opposition. You know, the days of opposition are where you provide critiques, because that’s your job—to hold them to account. But this mob, who are the government, act like they’re the opposition day after day.

Tonight they voted against bringing forward tax cuts, and the whole justification for all of this is that they have a plan for 2024-25. They say that will help consumer demand right now. They say that will help wages. They say that will boost economic growth. They say that will boost employment. But, of course, none of it will. It’s a bit like the road the member for Dickson promised—Linkfield Road. It’s due to commence in 2026-27. That will fix urban congestion! That was in direct mail, right next to, ‘If you vote for us, you will get a tax cut in 2024-25.’ It was in the direct mail.

Mr Dutton: We won!

Mr ALBANESE: I know they won. The question is: do they know they won? That’s the question, because they don’t act like the government. A government has to put national economic responsibility at its core, and they don’t do it. What they do is make everything about politics. They actually say that, if our amendments get up, they’ll vote against their own tax plan—the whole thing. They’ll block it all. So if amendments get up saying that dealing with what is due to happen in 2024-25 will be deferred for a future date—like a fortnight, when parliament comes back—they’re going to vote against the whole thing. They’re going to say to workers, ‘You don’t get a tax cut today because we have a plan for 2025.’ That is their actual position. This title shows how childish and pathetic they are, which is why we’ve moved this amendment, which I commend to the House, because it is more accurate than the current title of the bill.