Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of doorstop interview: Parliament House, Canberra: 30 March 2006: [Two reports point to Peter Costello's tax record].

Download PDFDownload PDF

Wayne Swan MP Federal Labor Shadow Treasurer



SWAN: There’s two reports today that point to Peter Costello’s tax record. He’s the highest taxing Treasurer in Australia’s history and he runs one of the worst taxing tax systems in the western world. As a percentage of GDP tax has never been higher. Peter Costello takes something like 8 out of 10 of every tax dollar in this country.

The OECD report however points to just how bad incentive is in this system. He runs an incentive crushing tax system. A single income family on average wages has a tax grab from Peter Costello of 51 cents in every additional dollar they earn. So when they work some overtime or some additional hours, Peter Costello has his hand in their pocket. After they pay their income tax and have their family payment withdrawn, his tax grab is

51 cents in every additional dollar they earn. That’s far higher than the top marginal tax rate of 47 cents in the dollar. So the OECD report out today is damning. It not only shows, combined with the ABS figures that he’s the highest taxing Treasurer in Australian history, but he really punishes those average families that work hard. He’s got a tax and family payment system that crushes incentive in the Australian tax system and it must be reformed. The pressure’s on Peter Costello. He’s out there trying to shift the blame all of the time. He’s the biggest taxer of them all and the OECD report points to the fact that we need some fundamental reform in the tax system and the family payment system in the forthcoming budget.

Journalist: That’s not exactly the way he’s spun it though.

SWAN: No, absolutely. Well he wouldn’t be spinning it that way would he, but the OECD figures speak for themselves? The ABS figures speak for themselves. Peter Costello tried to pooh-pooh this report last year. He went into the Parliament and dragged red herrings right across it. It’s back here again proving the same point. And the same point is that he has some of the worst work incentives in the western world. He can’t claim that he’s family friendly - he’s clearly not. He can’t claim that he’s female friendly when it comes to the tax system - he’s got a tax system that really hits those second income earners and hits many of those single income earners on modest incomes. He’s not family friendly, he’s not female friendly, he’s just a big taxer.

Journalist: ………towards a uranium deal with China. Would you like to see Labor change …………….

SWAN: That’s a matter for our Party at our Party’s national conference and I’ll leave that to our spokesman to talk about.

Journalist: What about the idea of a smart card? Treasurer Costello last night threw his support behind the idea of a smart card and Cabinet’s considering it today.

SWAN: Well I don’t think it would be too smart to comment in detail when we haven’t seen the detail. We’ve got to see what the safeguards were but we’d be happy to have a look at it but I think there’s a lot of suspicion around as to what the government may really be up to. It wouldn’t be smart to comment on this unless we have the detail of the smart card.

Journalist: John Howard says that Commissioner Cole already has the power to make findings against Ministers. Do you believe that that’s true and is it enough?

SWAN: Does anyone believe John Howard on the AWB any more or anything he says about it. I mean really. Everybody knows Commissioner Cole’s terms of reference have been rorted.

Journalist: Is he protecting Alexander Downer?

SWAN: Well he’s protecting himself fundamentally and in the mean time he’s holding up Alexander Downer in front of himself.

Thank you

ENDS Thur 30 Mar 06

Contact Lachlan Harris: 0417 592338