Senate debates

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Matters of Urgency


4:04 pm

Photo of Lidia ThorpeLidia Thorpe (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I move:

That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:

The Stage 3 tax cuts will cost $244 billion over the next ten years, and give billionaires, CEOs and politicians a $9,000 tax cut, while people on the minimum wage get nothing. Repealing these unfair and unjust tax cuts could fund immediate cost of living relief and make people's lives better by putting dental and mental healthcare into Medicare, building affordable housing, and making childcare free.

Last week, the Prime Minister announced that the Labor government will not be repealing the obscene stage 3 tax cuts. Over the next 10 years, these will strip $244 billion out of the budget. You will all be aware by now how these cuts are benefiting the most-wealthy people in this country—usually the ones who are responsible for the stolen wealth, but that's another story. This means that men will get $1 more than women receive. However, there has been little consideration of how these tax cuts will impact on First Nations people. As always, my people will benefit the least.

Across the country, everyday people are struggling to make ends meet in the most simple ways. People are struggling to pay rent, pay for food and pay for health care. Too often, those impacted the most by cost-of-living pressures are First Nations people. In the 'lucky country', the average personal income for First Nations people is around $35,000, compared with just under $50,000 for the rest of the population. That's 29 per cent lower. That will have lifelong impacts on my people's lives. With the proposed tax cuts, First Nations people will be paying, on average, $95 less tax in 2024-25, compared with $430 less tax paid by non First Nations people. This means that First Nations people will receive about $1 for every $4 others get from stage 3 tax cuts. First Nations people will see the least benefit and be the hardest hit by this tax reform.

These tax cuts will only worsen income inequality between First Nations people and the rest of the population. If the government allows these tax cuts to go ahead, it is choosing to give handouts to the stolen-wealth billionaires instead of funding crucial services that our people are calling out for. The $244 billion could be redirected towards funding community controlled health, housing and legal services. That could pull thousands of people in this country, particularly First Nations people, out of poverty. If this Labor government is truly committed to closing the gap, they will scrap these tax cuts and put the money back into providing proper housing, proper health care and good education for First Nations people in this country.

We know that stolen wealth is also an issue in this country, and many, many people—many white people, many of the colonisers—actually benefited from stealing these lands. In fact, they still benefit today because of generations and generations of wealth creation for their families. I'm sure you know that story. But it's time to pay the rent and it's time to acknowledge that you're on stolen land.


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