Doorstop - Canberra 24/5/18

24 May 2018




SUBJECT/S: Turnbull’s $80 billion big business tax handout; income tax cuts; Labor’s fairer tax plan; ADF abuse


JOURNALIST: On company tax cuts, what do you think of the idea about the changing of the threshold? Is that something you'd support?


JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE: No, we don't support big tax handouts for multinationals and the big banks. We said all along that the Government is wrong to go down the path of taking money out of our hospitals and schools, and giving it to the biggest companies in this country. We're not up for a compromise on that. If Malcolm Turnbull abandons his big business tax cut, that will be the biggest humiliation of all. He's been humiliated on the GST, on income tax for the states. But this is his one big reason for being. This is his entire reason to be in the Australian Parliament, to give tax cuts to multinationals and the big banks. It would be a humiliating backdown if Malcolm Turnbull was to change course.


JOURNALIST: But isn't Labor relying on those company tax cuts going ahead as part of your Budget numbers?


CHALMERS: The easiest way to resolve this is for Malcolm Turnbull to take the big business tax cuts to the election so that the Australian people can resolve this once and for all. Labor's got a very clear position. Malcolm Turnbull has had a very clear position. We should let the people decide. If he walks back on these big business tax cuts, he will be abandoning his very reason for being. This is the entire reason that he's here. If we walks back on them, I think he will be humiliated far more than all of the other humiliations that he's had to endure in this place. 


JOURNALIST: Why did Labor vote for the income tax plan in the Lower House last night?


CHALMERS: The Government last night rejected Labor's proposal for bigger, fairer tax cuts for $10 million working Australians. The Government also voted against splitting the bills so that we could give immediate tax relief to the people who work in this country, to give them the tax relief that they need and deserve. So what happened last night in the House of Representatives was very disappointing. Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals sided again with big business over the interests of ordinary working Australians. Labor stood up for working Australians. We were unable to get our bigger, fairer tax cuts through the Parliament on this occasion, but we will keep trying.


JOURNALIST: Will you be talking to the crossbench to try to split the bill in the Senate?


CHALMERS: We intend to split the bills in the Senate because that would give us an opportunity to support some modest tax relief for working Australians. We will also attempt, of course, to legislate our plan for bigger, fairer tax cuts for working people so that the people who work and struggle in this country get the tax relief they need and deserve. There will be a Senate committee in between now and when the Senate considers the income tax plans. All that happened last night was that the Government's proposals got through the House of Representatives and that's because they have the numbers in the House of Representatives. It's a different story in the Senate.


JOURNALIST: What's your level of support in the Senate?


CHALMERS: We'll keep having the conversations with colleagues in the Senate about the income tax proposals put on the table by the Government. But also we will keep enlisting support for our plan for a bigger, fairer tax cut for 10 million Australian workers.


JOURNALIST: Are you across these Defence Force figures out today showing that dozens of members of the Defence Force have been investigated for sex crimes? What was your reaction to that?


CHALMERS: It was appalling, if not sickening to read those reports. I trust and hope that the Defence Force is looking into them to the full extent of their powers. People who put their hand up to serve this country, to put themselves in harm's way, should be entirely free of that kind of harassment. So we would encourage the Government to do all they can to get to the bottom of these issues, because they are very serious. They're appalling revelations, sickening revelations, and it has to stop.