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Thursday, 15 May 2014
Page: 3915


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:48): My question is to the Prime Minister. This morning John Howard admitted that there were tax rises in the Prime Minister's budget. Just minutes ago, the Leader of the Government in the Senate described the difference between tax rises and levies as semantics. Will the Prime Minister now have the gumption, moral courage and honesty to admit that his budget contains tax rises? Will the Prime Minister now apologise to Australians for breaking the promises he made before the election?

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:49): I am happy to respond to the confected indignation, based on selective memory, of the Leader of the Opposition. As I said in this chamber yesterday, yes, for three years there will be an increase in the top marginal rate of tax that will impact on three per cent of taxpayers. Yes, there is fuel excise indexation. In the first year that means about 40c a week for the average family. But, overall, the decisions made by this government reduce the tax burden by $5.7 billion.

If the Leader of the Opposition is as concerned as he says he is about commitments and getting tax down, there is a simple thing he can announce tonight—that he is going to help this parliament repeal the carbon tax. That is the challenge that I extend to this Leader of the Opposition: repeal the carbon tax. If you are fair dinkum about giving families a break, repeal the carbon tax tonight and give families of Australia a $550-a-year tax break.

This government have been honest and upfront with the Australian people with a budget that accepts that there are no soft options anymore. We have accepted that there are no soft options anymore, but we are going to hear from the Leader of the Opposition more soft options, more cop-outs and more borrow-and-spend policies. We have put before the people of Australia a comprehensive plan to clean up Labor's debt and deficit disaster. We have put forward our plan to clean up Labor’s mess. What we now need from the Leader of the Opposition is his plan to clean up the mess that he created.