Wednesday, 9 February 2022
Questions without Notice
[by video link] My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer remind the House of the Morrison government's strong record of helping families and small businesses keep more of the money they earn through tax cuts? How are the Morrison government's tax reforms securing Australia's economic recovery, and is the Treasurer aware of any alternative approaches?
I thank the member for Longman for his question. I had the opportunity to visit his electorate in recent weeks and do a small-business forum with him, and I recognise his experience and background in small business. The next election is only months away, and a key battleline will be tax. The coalition's values, its record and its policies speak to one thing: lower taxes.
The same cannot be said about the Labor Party. We have, since coming to government, cut taxes for families. So somebody on $60,000 a year is paying $2,160 less tax today than they did when Labor was in office. We've cut taxes for small business down to their lowest level in 50 years, and we've put the biggest investment incentives through the tax system in Australia's history, all of which—
Honourable members interjecting—
The Treasurer will resume his seat. I'm going to issue a general warning. The interjections are too high. I don't need to issue a warning; I can act under 94(a) without issuing a warning. I've tried to be as lenient as I possibly can. All members have now been warned. The Treasurer has the call.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Our tax cuts have helped the Australian economy have a strong recovery from the biggest economic shock since the Great Depression. The fact is that unemployment today is at a 13-year low of 4.2 per cent, compared to 5.7 per cent when Labor was last in office.
Our tax cuts have been opposed every step of the way by this Leader of the Labor Party—a leader of the Labor Party who has never held a Treasury portfolio, a leader of the Labor Party who attacked our tax cuts for families and called them 'the top end of town', a leader of the Labor Party who's too weak to stand up to the Greens and the unions, and a leader of the Labor Party who, every day of his political career, has stood for higher taxes. The Leader of the Labor Party has stood for a carbon tax. He's stood for a mining tax. He's advocated for a congestion tax. He advocated for higher superannuation taxes, higher income taxes, a housing tax, a retirees tax and a tax on family businesses.
But most damning of all is the Leader of the Opposition—the Leader of the Labor Party—standing and advocating for death duties. Yesterday, in this House, he called that a lie, but this is what he said, in his own words, to Labor's centenary conference: 'Comrade Chair, I am pleased to move this resolution, which is calling on the government to consider the imposition of an inheritance tax.' The Leader of the Labor Party might want a fact-free election, but the fact is this Leader of the Labor Party stands for higher taxes—
The Treasurer will resume his seat.
Did you have a point of order? The Treasurer has resumed his—I think he's completed his answer. Just before I call the member for Rankin, I want to reiterate that it is very difficult to hear anyone at the dispatch box when there is a wall of noise. I will act under 94(a). The difficulty I have is that everyone's wearing masks, and it's often hard to see whose mouths are moving. That shouldn't be a licence to carry on.
The Treasurer will resume his seat for one moment. The Treasurer was asked about the differences between the government's taxes and the opposition's taxes. The Treasurer will remain relevant to the question, and that doesn't give the Treasurer a licence to immediately launch into an attack on the member for Rankin.
Today, if you're a part-time teacher or a part-time nurse or if you're working in a trade and you earn $60,000 a year, you pay $2,160 less tax under this coalition than when Labor was last in office. You pay $2,160 less tax today than when Labor was last in office. The member for Rankin should know this because it's in the budget papers. When it comes to a tax-to-GDP ratio in 2021-22 we are expecting 22.3, in 2022-23 we're expecting 21.4, because we've legislated significant tax cuts. At the last election the shadow Treasurer stood there with the member for McMahon and advocated for a housing tax, a retirees tax, a superannuation tax and a family business tax. You know what the tax-to-GDP ratio would have been under the Labor Party today? It's 22.3, but it would have been 25.9 per cent.
The reality is that every day that we have been in government we have been looking for opportunities to cut taxes. Every day Labor was in government—
Yes, Mr Speaker, on relevance. It was a very short question. The Treasurer's given some of the answers, which are both higher than the 21.7 per cent, which was the maximum under Labor, which was the figure in 2008-9—
I'd like to help the Leader of the Opposition, because he's never held a treasury portfolio, but the economy is some $500 billion bigger today than when Labor left office. There are some 1.7 million more Australians in work today than when Labor left office. There are some one million more women in work today than when Labor left office. I've got a news flash for the Leader of the Opposition: when more people are in work more people are paying tax and fewer people are on welfare. And I can tell you right now that the company tax rate for small businesses, which motivates those on this side of the House, is 25c in the dollar, which is the lowest level in 50 years. We have legislated through the parliament tax cuts that reform the tax system so that 95 per cent of income earners pay a marginal rate of no more than 30c in the dollar, so if you're earning between $45,000 and $200,000 you'll pay a marginal rate of no more than 30c in the dollar.
We can't match the Labor Party for a carbon tax, we can't match the Labor Party for a mining tax, we can't match the Leader of the Opposition on a congestion tax and we can't match the Leader of the Opposition on death duties. But what we can do is cut taxes for Australian families and small businesses, and that's what we do every single day. (Time expired)
Member for Rankin! Member for Chifley! The member for Chifley will leave under 94(a).
The member for Chifley then left the chamber.
Member for Rankin, I am mindful of precedents that some degree of greater leniency is provided to the front bench, and that is the only reason why you're still sitting there.