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Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Page: 9622

Taxation


Senator McCARTHY (Northern Territory) (14:09): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Brandis. I refer to the Prime Minister who, on Sunday, when asked about his promise of cuts to personal income tax, said:

… how much we can do and when we do it of course will depend on the budgetary circumstances.

The Minister for Finance says the Turnbull government has effectively already assumed future further tax cuts in in budget projections. Senator, if the tax cuts are assumed, why won't the Prime Minister tell Australians how much they can expect and when they can expect it?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:10): I'm quite sure, Senator McCarthy, that the Prime Minister will tell Australians how much they can expect and when they can expect it at the appropriate time.

The PRESIDENT: Senator McCarthy, a supplementary question?



Senator McCARTHY (Northern Territory) (14:10): Can the minister confirm that, with its last budget, the Turnbull government intends to increase taxes on middle-income earners, with someone earning $60,000 seeing an increase in their income tax of $300? Will the Prime Minister guarantee that his tax promise will more than offset this increase?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:11): That's not right. No, I can't confirm that, Senator McCarthy. In fact, I dispute it; it's quite wrong. The Labor Party is the party that wants to—

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! I'm having trouble hearing. Order! Senator Wong, Senator Macdonald, Senator Cormann! I'm having trouble hearing Senator Brandis.

Senator Wong: It's a tax hike.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong, please!

Senator BRANDIS: So, Senator—

Senator Wong: He can't tell a lie.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong, please! At least let the minister get a sentence out before the interjections commence again.

Honourable senators interjecting

Senator Wong: He doesn't know what's in his budget.

The PRESIDENT: Order across the chamber!

Senator Cormann: We know what's in the budget.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cormann!

Senator Wong: It's a tax increase on the Medicare levy.

Senator Cormann: We are—

The PRESIDENT: I'm happy to wait! Order! We can lose all of question time if these interjections continue. Senator Brandis.

Senator BRANDIS: There is only one side of this chamber that is devoted to increasing taxes, and that is the Australian Labor Party, which has promised $164 billion worth of higher taxes. Meanwhile, this government has cut personal income taxes and has cut corporate income taxes, and, as you acknowledged in your initial question, Senator McCarthy, the Prime Minister has foreshadowed additional income tax cuts for Australian workers and families.

The PRESIDENT: A final supplementary question, Senator McCarthy.

















Senator McCARTHY (Northern Territory) (14:12): Given the Prime Minister's floated income tax cut comes only months after his government announced it would increase the tax burden on middle-income earners, shouldn't Australians judge the Prime Minister by his actions and not his words?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:12): Senator McCarthy, we're very pleased to be judged by our actions, because our actions have consisted of reducing the income tax burden on Australian workers and families and reducing the income tax burden on small and medium Australian enterprises, enabling them to employ more Australians. And there are more tax cuts on the way from the Turnbull government. There are the thus far unlegislated elements of our enterprise tax plan and there are the personal income tax cuts, which Mr Turnbull foreshadowed on Sunday, as you have acknowledged, Senator McCarthy. That's the difference between the Labor Party and the Liberal Party—higher taxes as well as higher electricity prices under the Labor Party; lower taxes and lower electricity prices under the coalition.