Senate debates

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Matters of Urgency


5:24 pm

Photo of Nick McKimNick McKim (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

Budgets are all about priorities, they are all about choices, they are all about values, and government policies are about choices and values. The Australian Labor Party has made a choice and that choice is to adopt holus-bolus Scott Morrison's $240 billion worth of tax cuts for the top end—for the billionaires, for the politicians, for the CEOs. I say 'Scott Morrison's tax cuts', and of course they were designed by him, as Treasurer, and introduced by him as Prime Minister. But, as of today, they are the Australian Labor Party 's tax cuts. They belong now to the Australian Labor Party. And the choice in adopting those tax cuts—those obscene $240 billion tax cuts for the top end that Labor has made—is stuck, because this is the Labor Party that has made it clear that folks who are on JobSeeker will be condemned to abject poverty. They will be condemned to starvation rations. They will be condemned to having to make a choice every week about whether to put food on the table or to pay their rents or pay their power bills.

Yet, at the very same time that the government is crying poor, saying, 'We can't afford to raise the amount of money we give to people on JobSeeker,' they are, in the same breath, proposing to give $240 billion worth of tax cuts to the top end—to the billionaires, to the politicians and to the CEOs. And what's their excuse? 'Oh, they're legislated, and we're not going to re-litigate that,' said the Prime Minister at the Press Club last week. Well, a little bit of educative work here for the Australian Labor Party: Section 1 of the Australian Constitution vests the legislative power of the Commonwealth in—wait for it—the federal parliament. Section 51(ii) of the Australian Constitution gives—who? Wait for it—the federal parliament the power to make taxation laws. And the federal parliament has the power to—do you know what?—repeal taxation laws, and that is exactly what we've got the numbers to do, and the only thing stopping the repeal of these obscene stage 3 tax cuts is the Australian Labor Party.


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