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Beazley wants to double lowest tax rate cuts -

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Beazley wants to double lowest tax rate cuts

Reporter: Greg Jennett

TONY JONES: Shrugging off backbench murmurs over his decision to stall the introduction of Peter
Costello's tax cuts, Kim Beazley has tonight used his Budget speech in reply to outline a rival
plan for tax relief. Labor would compress the Government's tax cuts, squashing the benefits for
those on triple figure salaries, redirecting down towards people earning less than $70,000 a
year. From Canberra, Greg Jennett reports on Kim Beazley's opening pitch to middle Australia.

GREG JENNETT: As he walked towards the House to deliver his Budget speech in reply, Kim Beazley's
demeanour gave no hint of the flak he's copped over his refusal to pass the Government's $22
billion tax cuts. And his speech started out like a rallying call to the backbench.

KIM BEAZLEY, OPPOSITION LEADER: If you think anyone here of Labor principle would vote ourselves a
$65 a week tax cut when the people who put us here get $6, you've got another thing coming.

GREG JENNETT: He's set out a rival plan to squeeze the Government's tax rate and threshold changes
closer together for low-income earners, Labor wants a welfare-to-work bonus starting at $500, it
would raise the threshold for the 30 per cent rate and at the upper end, it's proposing to lower
the Government's threshold increases, dropping the 42 per cent threshold from $70,000 to $67,000
and the cutting point for the 47 per cent rate from $125,000 to $100,000.

KIM BEAZLEY: This package would deliver a tax cut of up to $9 for those earning up to $25,000,
double what the Government is offering.

GREG JENNETT: Those on triple figure incomes would be $25 a week worse-off under the Beazley plan
compared to what Peter Costello is promising.

KIM BEAZLEY: This package would deliver $40 to people who earn $105,000 and above, one third less
than what the Government is offering. A much fairer outcome.

GREG JENNETT: He claims Labor's proposal, so squarely targetted at lower and middle income earners,
would cost about the same as the Government's package.

KIM BEAZLEY: Of course, the PM will instantly dismiss Labor's stand for the 7 million forgotten
Australian taxpayers and say that it is populist, opportunistic and Labor Party class warfare.

GREG JENNETT: And dismissed it was, by both John Howard and his deputy.

PETER COSTELLO, FEDERAL TREASURER: The cobbled together, confused, misdirected, unthought through
proposal that Mr Beazley put on tonight is for something to happen in 2008-09 in the next
Parliament.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER: Just a smokescreen to disguise the fact that Labor will vote against
the Budget tax cuts.

GREG JENNETT: Kim Beazley's speech tonight might finally have given his backbench an idea of
Labor's alternative, but it doesn't mean that their doubts over his Senate tactics will go away.
And from what it's heard, the Government is in no mood for compromise.

PETER COSTELLO: We are going to do everything that we possibly can to get them a tax cut on July 1.

GREG JENNETT: Kim Beazley's fight to stop them has only just begun. Greg Jennett, Lateline.