Coalition holds firm on full tax cut plan

The Morrison government will reportedly try to make the Senate sit without a break until its tax cuts are passed.

The government’s Senate leader Mathias Cormann will put forward a motion to the upper house on the first sitting day next week to ensure it sits until legislation for all stages of the tax cuts are passed, The Australian reports.

The coalition’s determination comes despite Labor confirming it will only support the first two parts of the three-stage tax relief plan.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says the government has a choice between an outcome and an argument.

“We’ve put forward a proposition that would see immediate tax cuts passed faster, higher tax cuts for every single worker in the economy,” he told ABC AM on Tuesday.

“And we can do that in one day, we promise to expedite the package.”

The government needs the support of Labor or at least four crossbenchers to get its full package through the Senate.

Labor has always backed the first stage, which will deliver extra cash to low and middle income earners when they file their tax returns this year.

But it says it will only support the second stage – also aimed at people on low and middle incomes – if the government brings it forward to the 2019/20 financial year, rather than 2021/22 as planned.

It also wants the government to defer legislation on the third part of the package which is due to begin in 2023/24, suggesting it is too far down the track amid uncertain economic conditions.

The third stage would reduce the tax rate from 32.5 per cent to 30 per cent for people earning between $45,000 and $200,000.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, who controls two votes in the Senate, says she spoke with Mr Albanese on Monday to discuss her position.

“I’m going to have further talks with him next week because I want to see what the impact it is on the budget by passing the first and second stage,” she told Sky News.

One Nation has ruled out supporting the coalition’s entire tax plan, saying infrastructure spending and ensuring cheaper power should be a priority.

Senator Cormann says Labor’s position shows it has not learnt the lessons of the election it lost.

“We will not split our plan to deliver income tax relief to all working Australians,” he said.

Labor finance spokeswoman Katy Gallagher says her party’s proposal to the government was “arrogantly refused”.

“We would like them to take our offer seriously and work together,” she told ABC News.

Mr Albanese has also urged the government to kick off some infrastructure projects earlier than planned.

Centre Alliance has two votes in the upper house and is yet to make a call on the issue.

The only other crossbencher in play is Jacqui Lambie, who hasn’t confirmed where she stands.

Senator Cory Bernardi backs the plan, while the nine Greens senators oppose it.


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