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Monday, 20 August 2018
Page: 7854


Ms KEAY (Braddon) (12:34): I welcome the opportunity to debate tax in this place. It's often said that between Labor and the coalition there's not much difference. It is true we agree on some issues, but when it comes to tax policy there are vast differences. On business and personal income tax in my electorate you'll be better off under Labor. The government keeps going on about wanting to put more money in the back pockets of Australians. Well, Australians would have more money in their back pockets under Labor.

One would think the Prime Minister would have learnt the lessons from the recent by-elections, particularly in my electorate of Braddon and in Longman, and actually started listening to the people. The recent by-elections were largely a referendum on tax cuts for big business and the big four banks. At the Tasmanian chamber of commerce business forum during the Braddon by-election, my Liberal opponent was asked on three occasions to justify how this policy would be good for local business. Just as the Prime Minister is not listening to the 6,500 businesses in Braddon, my opponent at that time simply ignored the question.

Labor has listened, and we recognise that small and medium businesses need certainty and confidence for the future. We will not reverse the company tax rate of 27.5 per cent that will be in place at the time of the next election for small and medium businesses with up to $50 million in turnover a year. Under Labor, 99.8 per cent of businesses will be equal or better off.

We have better policy with our Australian Investment Guarantee. The Australian Investment Guarantee ensures business investment takes place in Australia, supporting Australian jobs. Braddon businesses, large and small, will be able to immediately deduct 20 per cent of their investments in eligible depreciable assets. Small and medium businesses are our priority, not multinationals or the big banks.

Local small and medium businesses will also benefit under Labor's bigger, better and fairer personal income tax cuts. Low- to medium-income households generally spend all of their disposable income. Increased disposable income for these households will see increased spending in local businesses.

Under Labor, we will deliver permanent tax relief to 39,000 taxpayers in the electorate of Braddon. Everyone in Braddon earning less than $125,000 will be up to $928 better off a year over the next four years—that is, $398 more than under the coalition. The median income in Braddon is just over $41,000 per annum. This prime minister wants someone on $200,000 a year to pay the same tax rate as someone on $41,000 a year. How is that fair? How is that delivering a fair go?

Only an out-of-touch prime minister would have a policy that sees the top tax bracket being the largest beneficiary in six years time. I guess he could be accused of simply representing his own electorate. My electorate would rank 147th out of 150. The Prime Minister's electorate ranks No. 1 under his Personal Income Tax Plan. It just demonstrates to me that he is completely out of touch with the rest of Australia. If Labor is elected, we will almost double the Prime Minister's tax cuts that the member for Brisbane is proudly trumpeting.

I say to the member for Brisbane and those opposite: why did you oppose bigger, better and fairer tax cuts for low- to middle-income earners? How can you possibly say it is fair to give working people a smaller tax cut while cutting funding to schools and hospitals and giving $17 billion in a taxpayer funded handout to the banks? From the outset, I said I welcomed the opportunity to debate tax policy—

A government member interjecting

Ms KEAY: The member just said a very unparliamentary word. It is not a lie; it's the actual truth of their corporate tax cuts that they will yet again try and get through the Senate, and I'm sure that it will fail because they fail to listen to the electorates in this country. It is clear both households and businesses in my electorate will be better off under Labor. It's rather a simple choice: back local small to medium sized businesses and households with bigger, better and fairer tax cuts or give $17 billion to the banks. It's a pretty simple choice, in my estimation.

The Prime Minister is under a lot of pressure this week on energy and tax. They're all in disarray, completely conflicted in the Liberal Party room this week. He can make his life a little bit easier, and the lives of the people of Braddon, by listening and dumping his corporate tax cuts. He could also make things easier by adopting Labor's tax plans for businesses and households. They will be better off under a Shorten Labor government.