Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has ruled out a last-minute boost to proposed tax cuts for workers earning $90,000-$120,000, in an attempt to promise a bigger budget surplus.
Labor had been considering increasing the tax cuts it has already pledged for all workers earning under $130,000 a year, but has decided against it to deliver a better bottom line.
The Coalition is offering the same deal as Labor until 2022. After that, the second stage of its tax plans delivers a better deal for workers earning more than $90,000.
These changes will lower the tax rate from 37 cents to 32.5 cents for millions of workers earning $90,000-$120,000.
“There’s the first round of tax cuts proposed in the next term of government, whoever forms government. Labor said we have the same position. In fact, we have a better position for 3.6 million people who earn less than $40,000. And, in fact, we’ve led the tax debate,” Mr Shorten said.
“In my budget reply speech of 2018, I proposed bigger, better, fairer tax cuts and the government gradually, after a year of kicking and screaming, matched us. On the first round of tax cuts, it’s all the same except we’re slightly better for people under $40,000.”
Mr Shorten said the Coalition’s proposed second and third round of tax cuts did not “come in for a number of years”.
“When you study the fine print of the fraudulent claims of this government on tax is that they’re making promises on the never-never and are not up front with how they pay for it. Let me explain how they pay for it – cuts, cuts, cuts,” he said.
“Let’s look at the priorities of this government on their tax cuts. Did you know that there’s $77 billion hidden away in the budget to give tax cuts to the top 3 per cent of taxpayers? Or, put another way, … if you are a millionaire in Australia, you will get an $11,000 tax cut from the Morrison government in 2024. If you are someone who earns $40,000, you get $11 a week.
Mr Shorten said he believed tax reform was about priorities.
“Yes, we would like to see more personal income tax reform, but what we won’t do is sacrifice the schools, sacrifice the waiting lists, sacrifice the hospitals to make an unfunded promise,” he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Mr Shorten was getting “desperate”.
“We already saw yesterday and the day before he couldn’t even remember a $34 billion superannuation policy, he said he misheard the question. He forgot the entire policy as if it never existed,” Mr Morrison said.
“As the campaign goes on and he gets more desperate and makes more desperate claims. That’s what the people of Australia see it as.”