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

7:19 pm

Photo of Sharon ClaydonSharon Claydon (Newcastle, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

It is always interesting to come after the member for Barker. For all that faux outrage, the member for Barker is going to be sitting here, voting for these tax cuts when the vote comes through, just like all other members opposite because the truth is they know this plan was not fair. It would not have done what it was intended to do. This Labor plan for stage 3 tax cuts is now going to deliver a tax cut to every single Australian taxpayer. No-one misses out. We are not backing winners and losers here. It is a fair and equitable distribution of people's tax dollars to help them with extreme cost-of-living pressures that many people find themselves under today. So I rise to speak in support of the Albanese Labor government's cost-of-living tax cuts.

Tax time, I am pleased to say, is fast approaching. I am delighted that, on 1 July this year, the Albanese Labor government will be delivering a tax cut for every single Australian taxpayer—that is, 13.6 million people. Not only that, 84 per cent of Australian taxpayers will get a bigger tax cut as a result of the government's proposal now. That is 11.5 million people who stand to be better off under this revamped stage 3 tax cut. An average income earner is set to benefit by $29 a week, which is more than double what they would have received under the old Morrison stage 3 policy.

The Labor government understands that people are doing it tough right now, and I have heard first-hand from my constituents that they are struggling to make ends meet. I would also like to put on record that I have had constituents approach me and say, 'You know what, in these new revamped tax cuts, I am going to get less than I was going to get under Mr Morrison's old scheme.' But then they look you straight in the eye and say, 'It is okay. What you have done is a fairer and more equal distribution.' They support that, and I am really pleased that my community is so caring of each other that they want to make sure everyone stands to benefit.

As I said, we are crystal clear that every taxpayer needs and deserves a meaningful tax cut, not just those people in higher tax brackets. That is what this plan is about. Everybody needs assistance now. Under the former Morrison government's plans, millions of young people, workers, part-timers, casuals were going to miss out. I tell you what, it is women who would have benefited least of all from those old stage 3 tax cuts.

Tackling cost of living, I will come back to that. It is definitely worth teasing out a little bit for this chamber. Tackling cost-of-living pressures is Labor's No. 1 priority and that is why we are working to not just cut taxes but also to boost wages, bring inflation under control, and drive fairer prices for Australian consumers. So our proposal is reform work but it is also relief. We want to see Australians earning more money and we want to see them keeping more of what they earn.

In my electorate of Newcastle, nurses, teachers, police, truckies are amongst those who are most likely to benefit, with more than 95 per cent of those taxpayers getting a bigger tax cut. In Newcastle, that means 655 truck drivers will be better off; 248 police officers will take advantage of these tax cuts; 2,571 registered nurses are going to see a benefit. And goodness me, who would deny those nurses are tax cut now? But there are another 3,403 school teachers who are going to have a bit more money in their hip pockets come 1 July. These are good changes that will have real benefit for workers and families that need it most.

Now, we on this side of the House know full well that government policies are never gender-neutral. When it comes to distributing the benefits and burdens of tax and spending, they have different impacts for men and women. That is why the Albanese Labor government has applied a gender-impact lens over the changes to all these measures to ensure the significant benefit from these tax cuts will go to women. Women are the very people who stood to lose most of all from Mr Morrison's former stage 3 tax cuts. We have done that gendered analysis, because that's what good governments do. We try and make sure that the way in which we distribute the spend that is gained from people's tax burdens is equitable. When it's not, you've got to be able to counter that inequity.

The Treasury modelling found that women comprised the majority of individuals earning less than $75,000. Can we let that fact sink in for those in this chamber now. It is predominantly women who are earning less than $75,000 a year. When it comes to looking at the people who are earning more than $128,000, less than 30 per cent of Australian women fit into that category. We know from a lot of experience what that means in our communities. But the Albanese Labor government's revamped stage 3 tax cuts mean that the average tax cut for women will climb from what was going to be $1,278 to $1,649. That's a lift of $371 compared with the Morrison government's old plan. From 1 July, the Albanese Labor government will deliver a tax cut for all women who pay tax in Australia. That is 6.5 million women taxpayers who will receive an average tax cut of $1,649. That also means a bigger tax cut for 90 per cent of Australian women taxpayers. That's how many are set to receive an additional tax cut of $770 on average compared to the Morrison government's plan. I know that, when members opposite go back to their constituencies, it's little wonder they will come and vote for this at the end of the day. Imagine going back, looking at all the women in your electorates and saying: 'You know what? You're not worth a tax cut. We don't believe that you deserve recompense now or to get a share of the relief that is being provided to workers and households.'

Gender-responsive budgeting, of course, was a practice pioneered by the very first Labor woman to serve in a cabinet, Susan Ryan. She did so when the Hawke government handed down its 1984-85 budget. That was the application of the gendered-responsive budgeting process. We led the world in gender-responsive budgeting. And I've got to say—from that moment with Susan Ryan in 1984 right through to 2013, the federal government, regardless of which party was in power, produced a women's budget statement every single year to assess the impact that the new budget and taxation measures had on women. Shamefully, the Liberal government scrapped this practice when Tony Abbott was elected Prime Minister and appointed himself Minister for Women back in 2014. As chair of Labor's Status of Women Committee, I am proud that Labor has produced a women's budget statement from opposition each and every year to undertake this analysis. Now that we're in government, we continue this analysis, and equity for women is at the very centre of everything we do. Our job is to make sure that taxing and spending actually support women's equality.

That's exactly what we're doing with these tax reforms. Australian women deserve that level of public commitment and accountability. I've been listening to the debates of those before me who are concerned about whether the Prime Minister's word is at stake here. It's a good question; we want to see trust in politics. But I tell you what: when you change your position based on very good evidence—

Debate interrupted.


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