Thursday, 3 September 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Treasurer, Senator Cormann. When asked on ABC Breakfast whether he would bring forward personal tax cuts, Mr Frydenberg said:
That is one issue that we're considering. We did legislate the tax cuts after the last election, they were in three stages. More money in people's pockets means more spending, and more spending means more jobs.
In a recession, why would the government hand out tax cuts and put money in the pockets of millionaires and cut the coronavirus supplement when a higher JobSeeker payment is a fail-safe way of stimulating the economy and helping the most vulnerable in our community?
I can confirm that the government is considering lower taxes for hardworking Australians. That's what we always do, because we understand that providing tax incentives for Australians to work hard and get ahead helps the economy grow, which creates more opportunity for all Australians to get ahead. We want to create more jobs so that more people can get off welfare and back into work. That's what we want to do. The coronavirus supplement was put in place for a six-month period, at the $550 level. That was always temporary. It was historically unprecedented crisis-level support. It is very important now for Australia to move out of the crisis settings and into the new normal.
We want to ensure that all Australians have the best possible opportunity to get back into work, which is why the policy put forward by Senator Ruston enables those Australians on JobSeeker to earn more before they lose any of that income support. In fact, Senator Ruston has put forward a policy, which is a very good policy, to increase the amount of income they can earn to $300 a fortnight. That's $300 a fortnight that people can earn, instead of $105 a fortnight, before they lose any of their JobSeeker support. We are a government that encourage people to have a go. We are a government that reward people who have a go. And that is how we'll strengthen the economy and help the economy recover after this coronavirus pandemic.
I completely reject this class warfare rhetoric, which was also rejected by the Australian people at the last election. In the lead-up to the last election, the Greens had somehow captured the then leader of the Labor Party into this sort of attack on aspirational Australians, those Australians who have done well. We want all Australians to do well. We want all Australians to have the best possible opportunity to get ahead. We want all Australians to have the best opportunity to get into work, to pursue a career, and to be the best they can be. We are not going to join the Greens in this sneering approach to policy. We are a government that will continue to ensure that the tax policy settings provide an appropriately well-targeted safety net for the vulnerable but also provide the appropriate incentives for people to have a go and do the best they can.
The stronger economy that our tax policies will help create will get those people back into work. We want those Australians to get off crisis-level income support and back into a job. And do you know what's happening right now? There are lots of jobs out there and businesses can't find anyone to take those jobs on. That is a terrible situation. That is why we need to start making those adjustments. That is why we need to start phasing out the crisis-level support that was provided to jobseekers in the context of the initial six-month period. That is absolutely the right and responsible thing to do, because it will help us strengthen the economy, it will help us create more jobs and it will help us ensure that those Australians who are currently on income support are able to get a job, look after their families and get ahead.