Cost Of Living Tax Cuts

8 Feb | '2024

I think members opposite conveniently forget that stage 1 and stage 2 tax cuts have already been delivered under the Morrison government, and this is stage 3 of those tax cuts. They forget, conveniently, that the low- and middle-income tax offset for those earning $48,000 to $90,000 a year was $1,500. They spruik about an increase of $804 for those on $85,000 a year, but under the former government it was $1,500 for those earning from $48,000 to $90,000. They forget that. Australians are actually feeling poorer under this government than they were under the last government. When you look at the return that Australians are getting through these tax cuts, versus the cost-of-living increase, it’s actually 10 per cent that taxpayers are getting back. When you consider how much everything has increased, it’s 10c in the dollar that they are getting back through these tax cuts.

Labor’s good at putting the foot on the pedal one way—on the accelerator—and putting the foot on the brake at the same time. They’re good at speaking out of both sides of their mouths at the same time, as well. Anthony Albanese, the Prime Minister, has looked Australians in the eye and he has repeatedly told porky pies. He’s fibbed. He’s been dishonest and disingenuous. He’s spoken out of both sides of his mouth. He’s been insincere and even fraudulent. He’s been fallacious and—here’s my favourite; it came straight from my electorate—mendacious. Mendacious is a good word to describe our Prime Minister.

Do Australians remember the $275 electricity price promise? Are the cheaper mortgages ringing a bell for you? Just last month, the Prime Minister was on record saying that his government would not make changes to the coalition’s stage 3 tax cuts. Now, suddenly, he’s changed his mind. He is, as the member for Sturt eloquently pointed out, taking from some Australians and giving to others, ripping out the guts of aspiration for some Australians. It’s a blatant betrayal of trust on a scale not seen since Julia Gillard’s infamous no-carbon-tax promise. The biggest betrayal, at the member for Sturt also eloquently pointed out, in our Australian democracy, the GST—

Opposition member interjecting—

Ms BELL: I will take that interjection. The GST was a tax that went to the Australian people. It went to the Australian people—

Government members interjecting—

Ms BELL: and they decided—with the many interjections that are coming from the other side—getting back to the Prime Minister, what he said was, ‘My word is my bond.’ Well, I say to the Australian people: his word is a big fat wand, like a wizard’s, that he waves around, erasing all of his promises to Australian families who are hurting.

The coalition will always be the parties of lower taxes—lower, simpler and fairer taxes.

Government members interjecting—

Ms BELL: There are lots of interjections coming from the other side of the chamber. The coalition will not stand in the way of providing support to those in our community who are doing it tough. We want to unite Australia rather than divide Australia by class, or divide Australia by race, which is what this Prime Minister has tried to do. It’s his cost-of-living crisis.

Labor has pushed families to food insecurity. Charities in my electorate on the Gold Coast, the home of the entrepreneurial spirit, have been whacked around by this government and its cost-of-living crisis. Charities in my electorate are being overrun with cries of help from my community who have not got food security. They’re going to charities and getting food from the free supermarket in my electorate for those mums and dads who are working but who simply can’t make ends meet because of Labor’s cost-of-living crisis.

Make no mistake, the Prime Minister has made this change not over the last 18 months, when Australians have been hurting the most, and not during the last 18 months when he was focused on the failed $450 taxpayer funded failed referendum. No, he’s made it just before the first by-election in a Labor-held seat—in Dunkley. The good people of Dunkley will have their say on 3 March, because this is about his political survival. This is about his political career and his survival as the Prime Minister. We’re supporting this change not to support his lie but to support the families who need help right now, because Labor has made decisions that have made it much harder for families to make ends meet. The average Australian knows that they are $8,000 worse off thanks to inflation, interest rates, bracket creep and mismanagement of the economy by this Labor government. Labor’s broken promises are piling up. They’re taking more money out of the pockets of Gold Coasters, with Australians now set to pay an extra $28 billion more in taxes because of these changes over the next 10 years.

We remain committed to fighting bracket creep, which will see more Australians pushed up into the next tax bracket and so pay higher taxes, and we will bake in aspiration through meaningful tax reform that we will take to the next election. It will be a fully costed, ready-to-implement package that is in keeping with the stage 3 tax reforms and will be delivered while providing Australia’s future security and guaranteeing the essential services that Australians rely on.

What’s next on the Prime Minister’s list of porkies? I want to outline another porky. Let’s look at fee-free TAFE data. Labor ministers have been deliberately using misleading data about Australia’s childcare workforce, and, when confronted about their deceitful tactics, one minister pathetically tried to blame a missing dash in the Hansard record for the error. For months, Labor has been claiming the 123,000 educators and childcare workers in the training pipeline are the result of their policies since May 2022. Well, a tranche of secret documents now reveals that the data includes only enrolments from 24 months of coalition government skills and education policies and is not the result of Labor’s fee-free TAFE policies at all.

Fee-free TAFE was not funded until the October 2022-23 budget, and fee-free TAFE agreements were not struck with state governments until late 2022 and early 2023. As a result, the first semester of fee-free TAFE didn’t even start until January 2023, so none of the enrolments captured by the 123,000 figure that we’ve heard from ministers in this government is from the government’s new fee-free TAFE policy. That means that the key data that Labor ministers have been using to spruik their childcare workforce so-called achievements cannot possibly include any data from fee-free TAFE enrolments. Labor has been highlighting the pipeline of training established under the coalition government, including the JobTrainer program, which used both TAFE and industry-led RTOs, and these are coalition achievements; these are not the achievements of the Labor government.

There is a liar in the Lodge, and it’s a sad state of affairs when we cannot trust a word that this Prime Minister says. So buyer beware of what could be next—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Georganas): Order! The member for Moreton on a point of order?

Mr Perrett: I would ask the speaker to withdraw that comment made about the Prime Minister.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Which was?

Mr Perrett: Unparliamentary language made about the Prime Minister.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I’ll ask the member for Moncrieff, for the sake of the House, to withdraw that comment.

Ms BELL: I withdraw.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, Member for Moncrieff. Continue.

Ms BELL: There is a fibber in the Lodge—and what’s next? I ask Australians: what’s next? It could be your investment property or tax on the family home, perhaps. Negative gearing and capital gains tax on the family home could be up for grabs next. How can anybody across our nation trust what this Prime Minister says when he has broken his solemn promise to them?

The Treasurer—and I see he’s in the chamber now—was asked on 29 January about a plan to make changes to negative gearing, and he said that Labor wasn’t considering it. That’s what they said about stage 3 tax cuts: ‘My word is my bond. We’re not changing tack. We’re not changing our position. We haven’t changed our position.’ And then they changed their position! So, if they’re saying that about negative gearing and tax on the family home, how can you believe what they’re saying? You simply can’t. The string of broken promises from This Prime Minister is eclipsed only by the outright assault on the values that Gold Coasters hold so dear, which are reward for effort, working hard and keeping more of what you earn.

There are more than 70,000 businesses, and our aspiration and hard work are under attack through the wealth redistribution strategy coming from the most socialist government since Whitlam. It’s true, the facts are there for all to see. In Labor’s first 18 months, personal income tax has risen by a record 27 per cent. As I said, in the cost-of-living crisis, you’re getting 10c back in the dollar for the mistakes that Labor made managing our economy in the first 18 months of their reign.

The Albanese Labor government spent all of last year distracted by its failed Voice referendum, meanwhile Australians are now thousands of dollars worse off as a result of this government’s economic mismanagement. Australians have seen their living standards collapse by 8.6 per cent, or $8,000. I will say it again; that is a lot of money. That is one child in a private school if you’ve got enough money to send your children to a private school. If they have a mortgage, it’s far more. It’s $24,000 if they have a $750,000 mortgage with 12 interest rate rises.

Australians know that food costs more. They know that electricity costs more; they’re paying it every day. While Australians have spent the last 18 months crying out for help, it’s apparently only occurred to the Prime Minister and Treasurer over summer that Australians are in this cost-of-living crisis. It’s only occurred in the lead-up, as I said, to the by-election, where the good people of Dunkley in Victoria will have their say as to whether they want more of this reckless government or whether they want the LNP’s candidate, Nathan Conroy. We remain committed to fighting bracket creep and baking in aspiration, because Australians want to get ahead and they should be able to get ahead.

Our package, the package under the opposition leader, will deliver lower, simpler and fairer taxes. It will fight bracket creep and bake in aspiration in our tax system. Labor’s broken promise entrenches bracket creep in our tax system and increases taxes by $28 billion on more than four million Australians over the next 10 years. Our tax policies will reward hard work and effort, and support a strong economy where every Australian can get ahead if they want to, not punish 1.8 million taxpayers, who will be worse off. That number will increase to four million by the end of the medium term—four million! Give Australians more opportunity to get ahead and to stay ahead; that’s what we want to do. Our package will be fully costed and ready to implement when we are elected and, most importantly, we will keep our promises to the Australian people.

On a parting note, I just ask Australians: Do those opposite deserve to be trusted to tell the truth ever again?

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