House debates

Tuesday, 13 February 2024


Treasury Laws Amendment (Cost of Living Tax Cuts) Bill 2024, Treasury Laws Amendment (Cost of Living — Medicare Levy) Bill 2024; Second Reading

6:25 pm

Photo of Michael McCormackMichael McCormack (Riverina, National Party, Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific) Share this | Hansard source

Keeping faith with voters, with the public, is important and it comes down to a matter of trust. At the moment, political trust is at a very big low, unfortunately. I appreciate what other members, those opposite, have said about giving Australians a tax cut. We hear that; we understand that on this side of the House. We are parties—the Liberals and Nationals—of giving people tax breaks because we understand how the economy works. We understand how important it is, particularly in a time of a cost-of-living crisis, how vital it is for people to be able to have more disposable income, for people to take home more of the money that they earn.

I think that line that Labor keeps using—taking home more of the money they earn—was actually pinched from the coalition's last set of talking points when we were in government, because that is what we stand for and that is what we delivered. It's what we delivered. Indeed, I know when I was the small business minister, the tax rates went to their lowest point since before World War II. Through successive treasurers, we have argued for lower taxes. We have delivered lower taxes. I am proud to be giving a speech alongside the member for Hume, a very good friend of mine and the shadow Treasurer, who, like me, comes to this place and wonders why the Labor members don't talk about the stage 1 and stage 2 tax cuts. I appreciate we are in the stage 3 discussion now, but stages 1 and 2 helped lower and middle-income earners—families, workers.

If you have a look at the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman's website—and I urge all small businesses to utilise that because it is a very good place at which to get information when running your small business—it shows that the number of businesses between zero and 19 employees is a little bit over 2½ million. The total number when you take in the medium-size businesses up to 199 employees is 64,500. If you include large businesses with 200-plus employees, of which there are 4,900, they amount to 2,589,873 businesses. That is a lot of businesses. Those businesses, particularly those small businesses, are helping to run the economy, helping to make Australia's balance of payments, helping to pay the bills to keep the nation's lights on. Although, I should mention that at the moment Victoria is going through a terrible state with power outages. I think that is just the start of worse things to come as we have this crazy push to go away from traditional power sources, but that's another point altogether.

What we are seeing with this debate on the Treasury Laws Amendment (Cost of Living Tax Cuts) Bill 2024 and all the associated arguments with it is a betrayal. It is an absolute outright betrayal by those opposite, particularly the Prime Minister, on Australian voters. Because prior to the election and even after the election, even up to when Treasury decided to model these figures, he and those opposite said that stage 3 tax cuts were enshrined in legislation. They were in law.


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