Wednesday, 19 September 2007
Questions without Notice
Taxation: Income Tax
The Leader of the Opposition has turned his back rather than listen to the answer, and I think it would be just as well if he did listen to the answer because I am asked what the tax rates and the tax thresholds are in Australia. As a result of this government’s reforms, the tax rates are 15 per cent, 30 per cent, 40 per cent and 45 per cent. Those tax rates apply from $6,000, $30,000, $75,000 and $150,000. So the proper tax rate of 45c applies to your first dollar of earnings over $150,000. That is a much improved tax scale on the one Labor left the country with.
On AM this morning the Leader of the Opposition was asked about his tax policy—this elusive tax policy which cannot be published and is not known. He said that the Australian public would be let into the secret of what Labor’s tax policy is. I think that the Australian public would like to be let into the secret on what Labor’s tax policy is. Since the Labor Party demands on a daily basis that an election be held, they might have the decency to actually release a policy so that people could know what it is.
If AM went badly for the Leader of the Opposition, he had one of those ‘I wish the ground would open up and just swallow me’ days when he went out to Eden-Monaro. After boasting about his tax plan, he was asked a very simple question at his doorstop interview today. He was asked this question: ‘The government’s tax plan, the tax policy in the budget: can you name for me the rates and the thresholds where those rates kick in?’ It was a pretty straightforward question: what are the tax rates and where do they kick in? The journalist said they were of this year, from 1 July.
The Leader of the Opposition will keep his back turned throughout this answer because he does not want to front up to his own ignorance on economic policy. This is the answer that the Leader of the Opposition gave when he was asked a very simply question to name the tax rates and the tax thresholds. He said:
Well, as of July 1, if you went through the four thresholds, I think the high threshold kicks in I think at $175,000 then I think it cascades down the spectrum.
He could not name a single rate, he could not name a single threshold, and the one threshold that he named of $175,000 does not exist.
He could not name a single rate, he could not name a single threshold, and the one that he named of $175,000 does not exist. And then he said:
... I think at $175,000 then I think it cascades down the spectrum.
Tax thresholds do not cascade. Cascade is a form of beer. It is not a form of tax threshold. This would be amusing if it were not serious. The Leader of the Opposition does not know what the Australian taxation system is. He does not understand it and he should never be put in charge of people’s mortgages, their businesses or their jobs.
Underneath the glib responses, underneath the media stunts and underneath the practised indifference—where he still has his back turned as if he is in deep conversation about nothing so that he does not have to front up to this ignorance—there is no economic substance. He has never cared about economic policy. He has no interest in it. He has never understood economic policy. He was exposed as a fraud on productivity and we do not hear him talking about productivity very much anymore. And now he has been exposed as being naked when it comes to understanding the tax system.
The income tax system raises over $100 billion for government services in this country. If you do not understand the income tax system, you cannot understand the Australian economy. He is a Leader of the Opposition on trainer wheels—not coming to grips with economic policy, not understanding it and not being able to look the Australian people in the eye and say that he has an economic plan. He has no plan because he has no understanding.