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Transcript of doorstop interview: ALP National Conference, Sydney: Saturday 31 January 2004: tax on families.



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Wayne SWAN MP Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP INTERVIEW, ALP NATIONAL CONFERENCE SYDNEY, SATURDAY 31 JANUARY 2004 E & OE - PROOF ONLY SUBJECT: TAX ON FAMILIES SWAN: Secret Cabinet documents in The Australian today confirm that the Howard Government is taxing low and middle income earners at higher rates than millionaires. Now this document is one year old so you have to ask yourself the question why John Howard has not acted on it before? Well I think I’ve got the answer and it’s very simple. The answer is that John Howard’s tax reforms of three years ago were a fraud on Australian families. And it has produced a situation where one million Australian families are paying effective marginal tax rates of sixty cents out of every additional dollar they earn. Those families don’t work overtime to give John Howard sixty cents in every additional dollar they earn. They don’t give up their family time to have John Howard pickpocket their overtime and take sixty cents in every additional dollar. Now the group that is really hit by this are families where there are one to one and a half income earners. It really hits those families where there are one to one and a half income earners on modest incomes. It really punishes a mum who goes back to work following the birth of a baby. They are facing effective marginal tax rates as high as eighty cents in every additional dollar they earn. So we say this secret report in The Australian proves John Howard doesn’t defend the battlers he creates them. And when it comes to taxation in this country, low and middle earners are being squeezed. They are bearing the significant tax burden in this country. So, this report today is very, very significant. It blows the whistle on tax reform, proves that it was a fraud on families and it basically says that the millions of Australian families who work hard to make our economy strong are paying a very high price to John Howard - over sixty cents in every additional dollar they earn in tax and they pay more on health and education. Under John Howard they pay, they pay and they pay. JOURNALIST: Are these families going to be Labor’s priority? SWAN: Mark Latham has made it very clear that low and middle income earners who are being squeezed and hit by John Howard’s punishing tax regime are our priority. JOURNALIST: At what numbers would you fix those tax rates?

SWAN: We’re not announcing our tax policy at this conference

but what is significant about the leak of this document today is that it blows the whistle on John Howard. He has not been game to be honest with the Australian people about this problem. We’ve asked John Howard in the Parliament about this problem - he’s denied it. We’ve asked Treasurer Costello in the Parliament and he said it’s not a problem. This is a government that is so arrogant and so out of touch, it’s got a tax policy that is stuck in the past and it just shows how irrelevant they are to the future. This government is only interested in the next election not the next generation.

JOURNALIST: Inaudible

SWAN: Well Mark Latham has already said that fixing this

problem of high effective marginal tax rates will be our priority after the funding of health and education. He’s made that extremely clear as have all our other spokespeople in the area.

JOURNALIST: It would be expensive though. There’s obviously a lot of money caught up in the way the tax rates are pitched at the moment?

SWAN: The millions of families out there who are paying higher

tax rates than millionaires absolutely deserve some relief. They are being squeezed in the tax system, squeezed in the health system, squeezed in the education system. They deserve some relief. They are feeding, clothing and educating the next generation of young Australians and they have to be our priority.

JOURNALIST: You gave us that famous train wreck assessment last year, how’s the train looking now under Mark Latham the last few days?

SWAN: Full steam ahead.

ENDS Saturday 31 Jan 04 Web: www.SWANMP.org

Contact: Wayne Swan on 0418 795 329 Matt Linden on 0407 430 613