Barnaby Joyce has now had three different positions on the Government’s ill-conceived backpacker tax.
Following the 2015 Budget announcement that the Government would increase the tax from zero to 32.5 per cent, when questioned by Leigh Sales on ABC’s 730 program on May 13, 2015 about the tax’s impact on Australia’s international competitiveness, Minister Joyce said:-
“Well I think the vast majority come here because we still have a great wage rate. Australians, Leigh, have to work the full year to get the tax-free threshold. It does seem a little bit incongruous that someone can work four months, five months, six months and get a tax-free threshold because that actually puts them at a strategic advantage on two levels to their other Australian workers.”
Then after a farmer revolt he reduced the tax proposal to 19 per cent and said in a media release on 27 September, 2016:-
"The decision to reduce the proposed tax rate from 32.5 per cent to 19 per cent tax maintains Australia's status as one of the most competitive destinations for working holiday makers, while ensuring they pay a fair level of tax”
He further said on 10 November, 2016 in a media release:-
“Labor needs to support our fair and balanced 19 per cent industry-backed tax rate, giving farmers certainty before Christmas.”
Today, after further backing down to a 15 per cent backpacker tax rate he said by tweet (no media release issued today):-
Barnaby Joyce (@Barnaby_Joyce)
28/11/2016, 10:13 AM
Backpacker tax would never be 32%. We fought to take it to 19%. We said it would be resolved by Christmas. Welcome 15% break-through.
Barnaby Joyce is the Deputy Prime Minister and part of the leadership team of a dysfunctional and chaotic Government. In fact because he is part of the leadership team he bears direct responsibility in initially backing 32 per cent.
It’s important to remember that if Barnaby Joyce could have gotten the 32 per cent tax rate through the Parliament he would have and sadly his actions over the last 18 months have demonstrated that he cannot be trusted and will always put his own political interest ahead of those of our farmers.
Labor will continue to fight for the internationally competitive rate of 10.5 per cent and Barnaby Joyce should seriously consider the consequences of his uncompetitive tax rate of 15 per cent will have on rural and regional Australia, our growers and the tourism sector.