Millions of Australians are about to get a $1080 cash injection into their family budgets if tax cuts pass Parliament as expected this week.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has confirmed the Australian Tax Office is ready to pay the rebate to all workers earning under $126,000 from next week.
“People will get it next week. Once they put in their tax returns, if they put in their tax return next week, then they will get it just days after,” he said.
While the date does not meet the election promise of the tax cuts being available from July 1, the government is confident there won’t be long to wait.
On Tuesday afternoon, new Governor-General David Hurley outlined the government agenda, as is traditional, in a speech written for him by the Prime Minister’s office to open the 46th Parliament.
“My government will put more power into the hands of Australians by letting people keep more of what they earn. That is why my government’s first legislative priority will be to provide tax relief to hard-working Australians earning up to $126,000 a year,” he said.
However, the speech noted that Australia faced “economic headwinds”.
On Tuesday, Labor leader Anthony Albanese was sticking to the formula that the opposition would not “wave through” the tax cuts.
“We certainly won’t. What we are going to do is to fight for making this package better for the economy and also fairer,” Mr Albanese said.
But Labor has conceded the door is still open to voting for the entire package if the amendments, as expected, fail.
“We’re prepared to facilitate debate. We’re doing that tonight because we understand that the economy needs a stimulus and that’s why we want Stage 1 of the tax cuts passed immediately,” Mr Albanese said.
“And Stage 2 to be brought forward as well. We’re arguing for larger tax cuts sooner. We’re the only political party arguing that every worker should get a tax cut in this term of Parliament.”
“What we’re talking about here is the government saying it’s prepared to block tax cuts for workers now because of tax cuts that might happen, that it wants to happen, in 2025.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he remained confident that the passage would pass with the support of the crossbench or Labor – or both.
“As the week progresses I think people will see where people will ultimately place their support,” Mr Morrison said.
“Tax relief is good for all Australians, and that’s what they voted for, and that’s what we’ll be voting for.”
Julie Bishop code of conduct concerns
Meanwhile, Labor has broadened its attack on ex-ministers picking up lucrative jobs to Julie Bishop.
The opposition is already considering supporting a Senate inquiry into former defence minister Christopher Pyne’s new job with Ernst & Young. It is also now looking at Ms Bishop’s new gig with Palladium, which does work for the Department of Foreign Affairs.
“Not only doesn’t it pass the pub test, I think, on the face of it, it looks like another breach of the ministerial standards and let’s understand why,” Senator Penny Wong said on Tuesday.
“Ms Bishop has been appointed to the board of a company that profited under decisions made while she was foreign minister – in excess of $500 million from what we can ascertain.
“Second, Palladium itself has said that she has been appointed in part, for example, because of her extensive network of global contacts. Now, the ministerial code says very clearly you can’t use information, knowledge … that you have attained as a minister that is not available to the general public.
“I think the statement by Palladium makes it clear Ms Bishop has been appointed because of her unique knowledge.”