Anthony Albanese
The prime minister will outline an overhaul of stage three tax cuts at the National Press Club. Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS
  • politics

Tax talk front and centre as opposition mulls support

Dominic Giannini February 4, 2024

Senior opposition members will meet to decide whether to back the revamped tax cut package that the treasurer is set to introduce into parliament. 

The coalition has not yet said whether they will support Labor’s new tax policy that halves tax breaks for higher earners and gives relief to more people on lower and middle incomes.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has said his party would not stand in the way of lower taxes but chastised Labor for breaking a promise after they stood by the original stage three tax cut package at the election.

Shadow cabinet will convene on Monday to decide how to proceed before Treasurer Jim Chalmers introduces the legislation on Tuesday along with a bill to increase the threshold for the Medicare levy in line with inflation.

The draft legislation, released on Sunday, outlines that the new measures “will deliver tax cuts for all taxpayers and ensure the Medicare Levy is imposed at higher thresholds for Australian taxpayers to help ease cost of living pressures”.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says he wants the legislation passed by Easter to provide an easy transition for employers and the tax office.

“This is legislation which will give every taxpayer a tax cut and it should receive the support of every parliamentarian,” he told the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday.

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 Legislation for Labor’s revamped stage three tax cuts will be introduced into parliament on Tuesday. Image by Dan Peled/AAP PHOTOS 

Pushed on his past pledges to not change the original stage three package, Mr Albanese said the economic circumstances had changed.

“The outlook was very different for global inflation, we didn’t have a view that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and that war would be ongoing, there wasn’t the Middle East conflict,” he said.

“I’m an honest person, I am upfront … I’ve listened to people who are all saying to me, ‘well, what are you doing about cost of living? What are the measures that you can put in place?'”

The Greens are pushing the government to go further and give more support to those on lower wages, in exchange for their support in the Senate.

“Our job is to make them as fair as possible and to deliver for low and middle income earners,” Greens leader Adam Bandt told Sky News.

“Politicians and billionaires and those in the top tax bracket get four and a half thousand a year.

“They get three times what middle income earners get and middle income earners are being asked to accept just an extra $15 a week.”