Treasurer Scott Morrison delivered the first of three ‘headland’ speeches on the economy yesterday, claiming that too few taxpayers are helping the Government reduce the deficit.
The Treasurer claims that too much of the burden for reducing Australia’s deficit is falling on the Government and not enough on the Australian taxpayer. Based on the current situation, Mr Morrison feels that it’s possible that more Australians will go through their entire lives without paying any tax.
“There is a new divide – the taxed and the taxed-nots,” said Mr Morrison.
“A generation has grown up in an environment where receiving payments from the Government is not seen as the reserve of the disadvantaged, but a common and expected component of their income over their entire life cycle, and not inconsistent with self-reliance,” said Mr Morrison. “On current settings, more Australians today are likely to go through their entire lives without ever paying tax than for generations. And more Australians are likely today to be net beneficiaries of the Government than contributors – never paying more tax than they receive in Government payments.”
Mr Morrison said that Parliament needs to get serious about reducing the nation’s debt and restoring the budget to balance so we have a better chance of surviving future economic downturns.
However, he claimed his job of reducing Australia’s deficit had proven difficult because of “budget sabotage” by the Opposition during the last Parliament, blaming the previous Senate for its unwillingness “to implement our agenda for budget repair”.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten hit back at the Treasurer, by stating that the Coalition needs to realise it has won the Election and stop blaming others for the state of the budget.
“They won the election,” said Mr Shorten. “They now need to start acting like a Government.”
Mr Shorten went on to say that Labor had already suggested methods for adding around $80 billion to the economy, with proposals for superannuation reform, negative gearing and capital gains tax. He said if the Government is serious about repairing the budget, it should accept some of these suggestions, rather than hitting low-income workers with higher taxes.
“We’re prepared to put the national interest ahead of our political interests,” Mr Shorten said. “And if the Government supports our measures, you won’t hear me jeering about backflips and backdowns.”
The Chief Executive of Oxfam Australia, Dr Helen Szoke, is concerned that the Coalition will turn to taxing the poor – the ‘taxed-nots’, as Mr Morrison referred to them, rather than taxing the one in three large companies that, in 2014, paid no tax at all.
“Large multinational companies are the real ‘taxed-nots’ in Australia,” said Dr Szoke. “Our recent research found tax-dodging practices by multinationals deprived the nation’s public coffers of as much as $6bn in 2014 alone.”
Who do you think should be taxed? A reader of The Australian proposed that the Government should increase all taxes by one per cent, then reduce all welfare payments by one per cent, until the deficit is fixed. What do you think of such a plan? If the Government were to turn its attention to large companies and force them to pay more taxes first, would you be happier to then pay more tax to help reduce the deficit?
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