Fifty prominent Australians have written an open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declaring “Australia doesn’t need lower taxes” and calling for the federal government to place fairness at the heart of the 2016 federal budget.
The letter is signed by former Reserve Bank governor Bernie Fraser, ACTU president Ged Kearney, former Labor premier Carmen Lawrence, Uniting Church president Stuart McMillan, Nobel prize winner Peter Doherty and a raft of economists and legal and public policy experts. It was published as a full page advertisement in Fairfax newspapers.
It comes as Mr Turnbull prepares to announce the government will push to abolish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, an attempt to reset the political agenda after days of pressure within the Coalition over whether to back a banking royal commission.
The letter asks Mr Turnbull “not to cut taxes at this time – and certainly not for companies”.
“A debate about tax reform should begin with the question of how much tax is required to fund the services we need to build a fair and decent society in Australia,” the letter states.
“Real tax reform also requires fairness. A serious tax reform package designed to be ‘fair’ should address as a priority the current generous tax concessions to the top end of town, inequitable distribution of superannuation tax concessions and the capital gains tax discount, not how to give big businesses large company tax cuts at the expense of services that everyday Australians rely on.”
Mostly true, though I would have thought that any discussion about tax reform should also begin with “how much tax can we afford to raise to build a fair and decent society in Australia”. Nobody is getting richer without greater efficiency and productivity.