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Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Page: 4400

Mr MORRISON (CookTreasurer) (18:31): The Labor Party do not agree with the government that 94 per cent of Australians should pay no more than 32½c in the dollar as their marginal rate of tax. They don't agree with that. That's what they've just said. They also don't agree that we should be dealing with bracket creep. That's what these amendments are designed to address. They're designed to say: 'No, we don't support the government's plan to address bracket creep. We want to take that hard-earned money from Australians and keep it and spend it.' And they'll spend it. At the last election, this shadow Treasurer put up $31 billion and more in higher spending. I note—it's interesting—that he says, 'We don't know what's going to happen in 2022-23 and 2024-25,' but he's quite happy to spend money in 2022-23, 2024-25 and in 2050-51. He'll spend money forever, and he's happy to pass bills in this place that spend money, but he's not happy to pass bills that provide for tax relief. That's what they're not prepared to do.

What he's saying is that someone who's on an average wage today of $84,600 should pay a higher rate of tax in 2022-23 than they do now. They will move into the 37c tax bracket without these changes. In 2024-25 it will get even worse. Someone on an average wage today will be on around $100,000 in 2024-25. In 2022-23, they'll be on about $95,000 and a bit more, and they'll be paying a higher rate of tax. Make no mistake: what the Labor Party are saying here is that they want to bank bracket creep, and they want to spend it all. They just want to spend it all in a big splurge at this election. The reckless spending will be back from the Labor Party. And they'll be seeking to do it by pilfering the hard-earned savings and earnings of Australians.

That's why we won't be supporting these amendments. We believe that you need to deal with these structural problems in the tax system and that you need to lay out a clear plan. That plan has to be fair. That plan has to protect the progressivity of the tax system, which our plan does. And it has to ensure that Australians have some certainty as they put that extra effort in. We're talking about a seven-year plan. They can't even commit to tax relief over seven years, let alone 10, but they will commit to expenditure forever. So what we're learning here is that the Labor Party are for higher taxes.

What they're not agreeing to is the full tax relief of $143.95 billion that is set out in this bill. They're not agreeing to $192.35 billion of tax relief. What they are simply seeking to do is pull one over on the Australian people, pilfer what they earn and pilfer what they save, whether they're retirees or just people going to work honestly every day who want some certainty that the government in the future won't be putting its hands deeply into their pockets and that what they earn they'll be able to keep.

This is a cynical exercise from the Labor Party. The shadow Treasurer himself used to believe in lower taxes. He no longer does. He's become hostage to those who sit on his own front bench, unable to stand up to any of them. It's disappointing. But he makes his bed; he can lie in it. But he shouldn't force Australian taxpayers to lie in a bed of higher taxes, because that's what he wants to do to them. He's going to stop us dealing with bracket creep here in this place and he's going to stop us having a simpler tax system into the future. That's his choice. That's Labor's choice. This is why tax as a share of the economy will let rip under the Labor Party. This is the same shadow Treasurer who said that this government should be held to the standard of ensuring that tax as a share of the economy should rise no higher than 23.7 per cent. We've been achieving that and we've set a tax speed limit to ensure that we stay under that into the future, and that's what this bill does.

By not supporting the full tax plan, what Labor is saying is that they want taxes to go up and up and up, because under Labor they'll spend and spend and spend. You want to know what the proof of that is? At the last election they committed to $31 billion of additional expenditure and they put taxes up by over $15 billion, and they still ended up with a higher deficit after all that was done. Higher taxes, higher spending, higher deficits—that's the form of this shadow Treasurer.