Senate debates

Thursday, 8 February 2024


Prime Minister, Taxation

5:49 pm

Photo of Dean SmithDean Smith (WA, Liberal Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury) Share this | Hansard source

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese obviously thought he was being funny this week when he compared Leader of the Opposition Peter Dutton to Jack Nicholson in The Shining. It was a revealing moment not only because the Prime Minister seemed genuinely amused by the joke but also in showing how dependent Prime Minister Albanese is on his spin doctors. Surely one of his many advisers could have found a more apt allusion. Alas, the joke ended up on the Prime Minister anyway when the member for Wannon, my colleague Mr Dan Tehan, suggested a more fitting and better known Hollywood line. 'You can't handle the truth,' he said. Even members of Anthony Albanese's own government appreciated this until they realised they were laughing at the wrong joke.

It's now been two weeks since the Prime Minister spent close to half a million taxpayer dollars flying Labor colleagues and staff to Canberra to rubberstamp his broken tax promise, an achievement they celebrated later the same day with cocktails and canapes at the Lodge. Unfortunately for Treasurer Jim Chalmers, his celebrations were necessarily brief. That's because, as the more popular of the two of them, he was sent out by the Prime Minister with the task of coaxing the public into accepting this great deception. But the best Jim Chalmers has been able to do is to come up with a substitute for his tax sellout by calling it tax reform. I'd suggest that the Treasurer and Labor try to conjure up something a little bit more convincing because, as Australians have shown repeatedly, they don't like being treated as idiots and don't appreciate being lied to. Australians know lifting two thresholds of a single tax and shifting bracket creep from one family to another family is no more a reform than the Labor Party of Albanese is the Labor of Bob Hawke.

Winston Churchill once said that any politician can rat—as in to break a promise—but it takes a real ability to re-rat. Anthony Albanese's staff are going to have to pull off—


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