Mon, 29 Jan 2024 - 14:06



Shadow Minister for Science and the Arts

Shadow Minister for Government Services and the Digital Economy

Manager of Opposition Business in the House




29 JANUARY 2024



KIERAN GILBERT: Joining me live now, the manager of opposition business, Paul Fletcher. Lots to talk about on the stage three tax backflip and other issues. Just quickly on Peter Dutton's tweet. What do you make of that interesting intervention by the opposition leader, providing commentary on the movements of staff members and journalists?

PAUL FLETCHER: Well, I thought it was an amusing way to make an effective point, which is that it's no shocking revelation that certainly The Guardian and Catherine Murphy have been pretty hostile to the coalition for a long time. And we do know that in many ways the press gallery or many in the press gallery, um, have their own strong views, which are not necessarily reflective of the views of Australians we saw before the 2019 election, for example, that many commentators in the press gallery got the election result completely wrong. So look, politicians, cop are a lot of, assessments, performance assessments from journalists, perhaps Peter Dutton deciding to hand some of it back. Um, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, it seems to me.

KIERAN GILBERT: Yeah. Well, that's. It's hard to argue with that. The. There's a fair bit of free advice flowing. that way. That's true towards the political class. Let's look at the decision. This backflip by the government. It's one that's going to benefit 84% of taxpayers. It's not your average broken promise, is it. Where 84% of those affected are actually going to get more than previously expected.

PAUL FLETCHER: Well, the first thing, of course, is that it is a very serious, broken promise. Anthony Albanese and his colleagues, more than 100 times said that they would be maintaining the stage three tax cuts, which are, of course, in the legislation and have been for several years. He made that very clear in the lead up to the election. He said, my word is my bond and he's really, I think, just exposed to all Australians just how slippery he's prepared to be, which I think anybody who cares about integrity in public life. And he made a lot of promises about restoring integrity to politics. I think anybody who cares about integrity in public life would have to be concerned about that. But I think the second thing I'd say is, you know, this is a real failure for tax reform. The stage three tax cuts were part of a structured plan to achieve meaningful tax reform, particularly to remove the 37 cent per cent tax bracket and mean that Australians would know that between earning $45,000 all the way up to $200,000, you would know that no more than $0.30 in the dollar of your income would be taken by the government. So very specifically intended to encourage Australians to have a go to do that extra shift, to get that extra qualification, to increase your income, to start a business, whatever it might be very much designed to encourage aspirational Australians to encourage activity and productivity in our economy. We know they've got a huge productivity problem in the Australian economy, and it is very disappointing to see that fundamental aspect of this reform just completely junked by Anthony Albanese, based upon short term, political imperatives, including the Dunkley by election and of course, -

KIERAN GILBERT: It makes challenging for you, though doesn't it. how do you navigate this? I understand the point you're making and it's been supported by the Chamber of Commerce and others that analysis. But how do you navigate the politics of this? Because you can't go to an election saying, okay, we disagree with that, and we're going to take that money back from low and middle income earners. It's just that can't happen once you're delivering it. How do you backtrack on that? So how do you navigate this politically?

PAUL FLETCHER: Well, Kieran, I think you're getting well ahead of where we are. is that we've had an announcement from the Prime Minister and his Press Club speech on Thursday after days and indeed weeks of saying no, nothing to see here, there won't be any change. And of course, what we need to do as a responsible opposition is see the detail. Mr. Albanese and Mr. Chalmers have form and being very slippery. So there's some things that are out at the moment. But of course, we'll want to go through all of the proper parliamentary procedures, question time, parliamentary committees, questions on notice, all the other tools that are available to us to fully understand the implications of this. We're very clear. We support the stage three tax cuts as legislated. That's our position And as Peter Dutton has said, as Angus Taylor, the shadow treasurer, has said, we'll study the detail. We'll take the time to study it before we come to a position. But this is really very bad news for anybody who cares about productivity, who cares about reforming our tax system to create greater incentive and opportunity backing aspirational Australians who want to have a go. That's what we in the Liberal Party believe in. It's a fundamental philosophical difference between us and Labor.

KIERAN GILBERT: We will see you next week in Canberra. Manager of Opposition Business Paul Fletcher thanks so much for your time

PAUL FLETCHER: Thanks Kieran.