Personal income tax cuts worth billions of dollars are edging closer to reality, with One Nation confirming it will support the Federal Government’s $144 billion package.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson told AM her party would back the entire three-stage, seven-year plan.
“Yes we are supporting the personal tax cuts … we are pleased to do so,” Senator Hanson said.
Senator Hanson conceded it was “a bit of a gamble” to support the income tax cut package in full because she had previously argued the third stage was unaffordable, however the senator said she was now more optimistic about the future.
“[The third stage] not coming in till 24/25, six years down the track,” she said.
“Hopefully the Government is actually getting the budget back into surplus.”
In her negotiations with the Government, Senator Hanson suggested the Coalition could find more money by cracking down on multinational companies not paying their fair share of tax and reviewing the salaries of bureaucrats.
$144b income tax cut package edging closer to reality
The Federal Government has been working to secure the support of eight crossbench senators to pass its personal income tax cut package in full, because Labor wants to split the bill.
Yesterday the Senate passed the first two stages of the plan, but the Government will use its numbers in the House of Representatives to reject that offer and instead bring on an all or nothing vote.
With One Nation now on the Government’s side, it just needs Centre Alliance to come onboard.
Senator Stirling Griff said his party was not in favour of the whole tax package.
“We were always wanting one and two to be supported [but] we’ve never approved of part three because it is so far down the track,” he said.
But the party is expected to change its mind if the Government only offers up a vote on the whole seven-year tax package.
“If the Government comes back with that and they say it’s all or nothing, we are certainly not going to stand in the way of low to middle-income earners receiving tax cuts, which would indicate that we more than likely will have to support the complete package,” he told AM.
The art of negotiation
Senator Hanson recalled the frantic nature of the negotiation process as the Coalition and Labor tried to win her over.
“I’ve had a revolving door, I’ve had telephones, I’ve had them on their knees begging me, but as I’ve always looked at legislation, I look at it based on what is right for the country and the people,” she said.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has been quietly working behind the scenes to try and secure the final three votes the Government needs to get its package across the line.
With the support of One Nation and the likely backing of the Centre Alliance Party, it appears he has succeeded.
Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm, who is supporting the income tax cut package in full, has seen Senator Cormann’s work first hand.
“It’s a big achievement for the Government, tremendous credit goes to Mathias Corman, he’s very good at negotiating these things, he deals with us very fairly but he is very determined [and] good at working out what the objections of the crossbenchers are and dealing with them one by one,” he said.
But negotiations often involve a price, and Senator Leyonhjelm said that was a delicate balancing act for the Government.
“It can’t be very expensive because Senator Cormann knows that he will lose my vote in the future if he hands out taxpayers money … [but] a little bit here and there for dignity’s sake I’ll look away from,” he said.
Senator Hanson said the Government had promised to establish an apprenticeship pilot program that will create 1,000 taxpayer-funded apprentice roles and she would be “knocking on someone’s door” if it did not go ahead.
“I have spoken to them about the apprentice scheme that I want and hopefully that’s going to come through because it’s about jobs,” she said.
The scheme was what the Government promised the senator in return for her party’s support of the company tax cuts, but One Nation reneged on that deal.