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Tuesday, 11 October 2016
Page: 1527

Senator WHISH-WILSON (Tasmania) (19:05): That is very tricky, Senator Cormann. Nevertheless, the numbers as they stand now, based on the reported taxable incomes, suggest to us that this tax cut will significantly benefit male earnings over female earnings. Of course, apart from a broader economic inequality that is growing rapidly in Australia, as it is in many other countries around the world—which Professor Thomas Piketty is here to talk about this week—we know that gender pay, gender income equality, is a significant issue and one we need to deal with. So I presume that when the Treasury or the Treasurer—I am not exactly quite sure how the process goes—decides at election time to bring in a $4 billion tax cut, these issues are factored into your decision making. For $80,000 and above you raise a tax bracket threshold to $87,000 and that benefits anyone who earns over $80,000—$8 million, $10 million, $100,000. All I want you to do is confirm to us here tonight that these tax cuts that you are bringing in will benefit male earnings over female earnings. I will read it to you again: the tax office data finds that the cut will help 28 per cent of male taxpayers but only 13 per cent of female taxpayers. Is that number correct?

Another issue: could you tell me whether wages are growing faster for those in the $80,000-to-$87,000 range than those on lower incomes. I must say on record that the Senate Economics Legislation Committee did not have an inquiry into this. There was a very short submission period and then the committee wrote up the report. Even in the limited feedback the committee did receive, in the limited number of submissions that were put to us, it was suggested that if any income bracket needed a bracket creep adjustment, it was the bracket directly below $80,000. Could the Treasurer please answer that question?