Via The Guardian today comes Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen:
Seven years ago this April, my predecessor as shadow treasurer, Joe Hockey, got to his feet in London to declare the “age of entitlement” over. He didn’t declare any specific policies, just that budgets were under so much pressure that people who receive support from governments needed to get used to less support, more standing on their own feet.
As his successor as shadow treasurer, I actually agree with where he was coming from. The problem was twofold, however: the Liberals didn’t have the gumption to announce who would be hit by his policies in advance (in fact, they actively misled people by promising no cuts to health, education, the pension and the ABC and SBS).
The second problem was that when they did tackle the age of entitlement, in the 2014 budget, they targeted people and services that could least afford it: pensioners and basic and important public services including health and education.
Labor has taken a different approach. Not only have we been absolutely upfront and explicit about our plans, we’ve identified those areas of the budget that haven’t received enough attention in the debate and have been under-analysed by governments.
Primary school civics students are taught that the federal government funds health and education, defence and foreign affairs. But they won’t know that, for some of these areas, the government allocated more money to tax concessions – many of which were created years ago and have been left in “set and forget” mode.
Did you know, for example, that the federal government spends $8bn on childcare, but $11.7bn on negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions?
It spent $5.2bn on public schools in 2014-15, but $5.9bn the same year on being the only country in the world that sends tax refunds to shareholders who haven’t actually paid any tax?
Or were you aware that the federal government spends $1.8bn on Tafe and skills but forgoes $2bn a year because we let family trusts distribute income to family members tax-free or at lower tax rates?
Our pledge to tackle these tax expenditures means the Liberals can run a scare campaign against Labor. That’s a given that we were fully aware of when we announced the policies.
Aussie tax concessions (rorts) are indeed out of control:
The riposte comes from Treasurer Josh Frydenrort at The Australian:
Josh Frydenberg last night told The Australian “Labor’s not listening; Labor doesn’t care”, and accused the opposition of “arrogantly” ignoring the concerns of self-funded retirees.
“Bill Shorten is obsessed with class warfare and pitting one Australian against another for political gain,” the Treasurer said. “His retiree tax is designed to punish aspiration and those who have taken personal responsibility for their own retirement.”
With the Coalition it is only ever class war if workers fight back, never if the rich buy policy for their own ends. The truth is nearly all of this tax rorting goes to the rich denuding workers of essential government service funding:
Bravo Labor for tackling the rorts and thanks to an imploding Coalition for ensuring it gets done.