24 February, 2024
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‘They’ll never change’: Australian PM goes on attack over tax cuts


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Anthony Albanese has accused the coalition of walking away from middle Australia in a fiery spray to end a furious week of debate about tax cuts.

The prime minister unleashed the beast during a rowdy Question Time to cap the first sitting week of the year.

He warned Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s team was already working on ways to unwind the tax relief.

“They’re already working on how to undo it,” he told parliament on Thursday.

“Their first instinct was to roll it back, and the first chance they get, they will walk away from middle Australia.”

 Prime Minister Anthony Albanese let fly at the coalition over tax cuts during Question Time. Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS 

The coalition waged a week-long war against Labor’s tax changes before convening in Canberra and deciding to capitulate.

“They can change how they vote, but they’ll never change who they are,” Mr Albanese said.

The changes will give bigger tax cuts to low and middle income earners and claw back the benefit for wealthier workers.

With the government’s revised cuts set to clear parliament, housing tax breaks are shaping up as the next key battleground.

Negative gearing, which allows investors to claim deductions on losses, and the capital gains tax discount, which halves the amount of tax paid by Australians who sell assets that have been owned for 12 months or more, have re-entered the spotlight.

While the amended tax cuts will provide some relief, Greens leader Adam Bandt said future tax reform would have to act on housing investment tax breaks to address living costs and housing shortages.

“We’ve got this tax system that rewards people who’ve got five properties (and helps them) to go and buy their sixth, seventh and eighth,” he said.

“(The capital gains tax discount) says if you’re rich enough to make your money out of buying and selling properties, you don’t have to pay you get to pay half the tax compared to someone who’s a wage earner.”

Independent senators David Pocock and Jacqui Lambie also want to reform the two policies to address the housing crisis.

The government insists its position on negative gearing and capital gains tax has not changed.

Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor said the prime minister could not be trusted after breaking his promise to leave tax cuts unchanged.

 Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor said the government could not be trusted because it “broke a promise”. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS 

He warned there could be other tax changes to come.

“These tax increases are all on the table,” Mr Taylor told parliament.

The prime minister was quick to hit back.

“We’ve entered the Twilight Zone,” Mr Albanese said.

“What we have now is the shadow treasurer asking for details about things that are only happening in his head.”

A survey released by the Australia Institute found nearly two in three Australians from some of the nation’s wealthiest suburbs support the government’s changed tax cuts, even if it could erode their share of savings.

Voters from Bondi to Potts Point in Sydney’s east, Avalon to Oxford Falls in the city’s northern beaches, and Surrey Hills to Kew in Melbourne’s inner east were polled.

Once Liberal strongholds, these three electorates – Kooyong, Mackellar and Wentworth – are held by teal independents Monique Ryan, Sophie Scamps and Allegra Spender.

Across the seats, 62 to 63 per cent of respondents supported the government’s changes to tax cuts.

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