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Thursday, 14 February 2013
Page: 1453


Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:07): My question is to the Treasurer. I remind the Treasurer of his statement that the government 'will never increase the rate or broaden the base of the GST or remove tax-free superannuation payments for the over-60s'. I also remind him of his statement last year that 'we have ruled death duties out'. Why did the Treasurer claim this morning, when asked about increases to income taxes, that he never rules anything in or out, when this is simply untrue?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:08): I am delighted to receive a question on tax from the shadow Treasurer, absolutely delighted, because like everyone on this side of the House I am proud of our record when it comes, in particular, to personal income tax—$47 billion worth of income tax cuts. Of course, the measure that I am most proud of and that is most important, particularly in terms of fairness to the low-paid workers, is the tripling of the tax-free threshold. Workers do not pay a dollar of tax until they earn $18,200. So a combination of those measures means that someone who was on $50,000 is paying $2,000 less in tax each and every year. I think that is a pretty good record.

What we understand is that it is very important for working families to get a fair go in the tax system. The only one advocating an increase in tax in this House is in fact the Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition is going to increase the corporate rate of tax to fund his PPL scheme for millionaires. He is on the record saying that, yet he denied that this morning. But, even worse than that, those opposite have said very, very clearly that they intend to abolish the tripling of the tax-free threshold. What that means is a tax hike for over six million Australians.

Mr Hockey: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It goes to relevance. He was asked a question about his own words and his hypocrisy in that regard, and he is talking about us.

The SPEAKER: The member for North Sydney will resume his seat. The question went to taxation. The Treasurer has the call.

Mr SWAN: I do thank him for his assistance, because what he is really pointing to is that those opposite do have a plan: to smash hardworking Australian families by abolishing the tripling of the tax-free threshold. On top of that, they have their Coles and Woolies tax—the one denied by the Leader of the Opposition this morning. The fact is that they have a $70 billion crater in their budget bottom line, and a consequence of that is a set of policies to smash hardworking Australians.

Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:10): Madam Speaker, I ask the Treasurer a supplementary question: will he rule out increasing income taxes in this year's budget—yes or no?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:11): As I said before, the only party advocating an increase in income tax in this House is those opposite. We will not be increasing personal income taxes. What we will be doing is continuing to reform the system so people on low incomes get a fair go.