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Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Page: 4397


Mr BOWEN (McMahon) (18:26): I seek leave to move amendments (1) to (7) and (12) to (23) as circulated in my name together:

Leave granted.

Mr BOWEN: The amendments that I just moved will effectively split this bill. Those elements that start on 1 July this year would remain and those elements that start on 1 July 2022 and 1 July 2024 would be removed. It is, frankly, good governance to allow both houses of parliament, and this House in particular, to vote on each tranche on its own merits. The Treasurer has said that this is a take-it-or-leave-it offer, an all or nothing proposition. It's not. It doesn't have to be. The Treasurer said they're intrinsically linked. They are not. They are quite separate tranches of tax cuts. The Labor Party has made it very clear that we support the government's efforts to have tax cuts on 1 July 2018. That's why we just sat with the government, to support those tax cuts. We also sat with the government to facilitate this amendment to allow us to split out the 2022 and 2024 tax cuts, as any responsible opposition would do, because we want to analyse the proposals. The Treasurer just released new figures on the different tranches. That's good. It would have been better if it had happened earlier. To do it in the summing-up speech of the legislation is a rather novel approach, a rather odd way, an odd order, of doing things—providing the information to the House at the end, not the beginning, of the debate. But, anyway, that's the way the Treasurer's chosen to do it.

The Treasurer and the Prime Minister have been unable and unwilling in question time after question time to answer the Labor Party's questions about the costs of tranches 2 and 3, so it's only appropriate that we separate this bill and vote on the things that we all agree on—at least the government and the opposition agree on. The honourable members on the crossbench do not—that is their right—but the government and the opposition do agree on the need for the tax cuts for low- and middle-income earners to come into force in 2018. Indeed, we think we should go further, but that's a subject for the second amendment, which I'll be moving later in this debate. It should not matter to the government that we split the bill, because we are very clear in our support for the 2018 tax cuts. But we want to carefully deliberate on the other tranches.

I would be surprised to hear the government mount the argument that it is urgent for the 2022 and 2024 tax cuts to be voted on, because it is 2018. We can argue at the edges about what's urgent and what's not urgent, but something that's happening in 2024 is not urgent to vote on in the House in 2018. What is appropriate is for the House to take due consideration, for the Senate to have an inquiry and for the government to release much more data on the impacts of the costs, particularly as Treasury does not know what the financial circumstances will be in 2024. It doesn't know what the fiscal environment will be. I don't know. Mr Deputy Speaker Andrews, with all due respect to your good self, you don't know. No economists knows. We can all make predictions, forecasts and best guesses, but none of us know what the economy will be like in 2024, whether these tax cuts are affordable or whether indeed something larger might be affordable. Something larger might be affordable or something less. We just don't know, so this takes very careful deliberation.

The government wanted us to vote for it sight unseen. The Treasurer wanted us to do it the day after the budget, such was the Treasurer's disregard for the processes of the parliament and for the principles of review by the House of the legislation. The government has, as I said, singularly failed to provide the information that the opposition has asked for. We have made no secret of the fact that we have a high degree of scepticism about the nature of the 2024 tax cuts and their impact on the progressivity of the tax system and the fairness that goes with that. There are elements of the 2022 package that we see we should consider and the House should consider, but we want to consider them.

I say this very clearly to the government: do not hold the 2018 tax cuts hostage to the 2024 tax cuts. Do not say that to the Australian people. Do not be so cynical that you think they will accept that you can hold their 2018 tax cuts hostage until you get tax cuts in 2024 through this parliament, because you don't have to do that. You know you're going to have to blink. You know you're going to have to split the bill, just as you did on corporate tax. You'll have to split this bill. You might as well do it now. You might as well get it done now, because we'll be arguing the same in the other place. Other senators have said they will argue the same. Split the bill. Let the House determine each tranche on its merits, as you should.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Andrews ): Before calling the Treasurer, can I ask the honourable member for McMahon to formally move the amendments.

Mr BOWEN: My apologies, Mr Deputy Speaker; I thought I had. I move the amendments:

(1) Clause 2, page 2 (table item 3), omit the table item.

(2) Clause 2, page 2 (table items 5 and 6), omit the table items.

(3) Schedule 1, heading, page 3 (line 2), omit "and Low Income tax offset".

(4) Schedule 1, item 1, page 3 (lines 7 and 8), omit "and Low Income tax offset".

(5) Schedule 1, item 1, page 3 (lines 24 and 25), omit "2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21 or 2021-22 income year", substitute "2018-19 income year or a later income year".

(6) Schedule 1, item 1, page 4 (lines 5 and 6), omit "2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21 or 2021-22 income year", substitute "2018-19 income year or a later income year".

(7) Schedule 1, item 1, page 4 (lines 17 and 18), omit the note.

(12) Schedule 1, item 1, page 6 (line 10) to page 8 (line 12), omit sections 61-110 and 61-115.

(13) Schedule 1, page 9 (line 12), omit the heading.

(14) Schedule 1, item 5, page 9 (lines 13 to 18), omit the item.

(15) Schedule 1, item 6, page 9 (lines 20 to 22), omit the item, substitute:

6 Section 13 -1 (table item headed " low income earner " )

Omit:

general

159N

substitute:

general

159N, Subdivision 61-D

(16) Schedule 1, item 7, page 10 (lines 1 to 4), omit the item.

(17) Schedule 1, page 10 (line 5), omit the heading.

(18) Schedule 1, items 8 and 9, page 10 (lines 6 to 15), omit the items.

(19) Schedule 1, Part 3, page 11 (line 1) to page 12 (line 16), omit the Part.

(20) Schedule 2, Part 1, page 13 (starting at line 2), omit the Part, substitute:

Part 1—Main amendments

Income Tax Rates Act 1986

1 Clause 1 of Part I of Schedule 7 (table item 2, column headed " For the part of the ordinary taxable income of the taxpayer that: " )

Omit "$87,000", substitute "$90,000".

2 Clause 1 of Part I of Schedule 7 (table item 3, column headed " For the part of the ordinary taxable income of the taxpayer that: " )

Omit "$87,000", substitute "$90,000".

3 Clause 1 of Part II of Schedule 7 (table item 1, column headed " For the part of the ordinary taxable income of the taxpayer that: " )

Omit "$87,000", substitute "$90,000".

4 Clause 1 of Part II of Schedule 7 (table item 2, column headed " For the part of the ordinary taxable income of the taxpayer that: " )

Omit "$87,000", substitute "$90,000".

5 Clause 4 of Part II of Schedule 7 (example)

Repeal the example.

6 Clause 1 of Part III of Schedule 7 (table item 2, column headed " For the part of the taxpayer ' s working holiday taxable income that: " )

Omit "$87,000", substitute "$90,000".

7 Clause 1 of Part III of Schedule 7 (table item 3, column headed " For the part of the taxpayer ' s working holiday taxable income that: " )

Omit "$87,000", substitute "$90,000".

8 Application

The amendments made by this Part apply to the 2018-19 year of income and later years of income.

(21) Schedule 2, items 10 to 12, page 18 (lines 3 to 12), omit the items.

(22) Schedule 2, items 15 and 16, page 18 (line 22) to page 19 (line 3), omit the items.

(23) Schedule 2, Part 3, page 20 (line 1) to page 21 (line 12), omit the Part.