SUBJECTS: Tax cuts.
SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: Politicians are set to tussle over tax cuts when Parliament resumes this week. The Coalition will have to battle to push through its $158 billion package. Labor is looking to see whether the Morrison Government can pass its income tax cut package with the crossbench before making a final decision on whether to support or reject cuts for highest income earners. And for their take let’s bring in Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Resources Joel Fitzgibbon in Canberra and former Nationals Leader and Member for New England Barnaby Joyce in Armidale. Morning to you both gents. Joel we’ll start with you.
BARNABY JOYCE: Morning Sam.
JOEL FITZGIBBON: Morning Sam.
ARMYTAGE: Is Labor sitting on the fence on these tax cuts?
FITZGIBBON: Well Sam this government over the course of the last six years every year has been taking more tax revenue from the taxpayer and the Labor Party is absolutely determined to deliver tax cuts for hard working Australians, indeed we want to deliver them earlier and that’s our determination this coming sitting week.
ARMYTAGE: So why not pass them Joel? Why not pass them?
FITZGIBBON: Well we have some legitimate concerns about the package as it stands. We believe the government should decouple stage three which has a few problems. It doesn’t come into effect for five years so why not give the Parliament an opportunity to further determine, investigate, research their impacts both on the budget and in terms of their equity. We stand ready to deliver stage one and two this week, indeed we want to deliver stage two earlier so why does the government keep holding the Parliament to ransom? We can get this done this week and deliver tax cuts to taxpayers and deliver tax cuts to some taxpayers much earlier.
ARMYTAGE: Okay Barnaby within your ranks how big a test do you think this is for the Morrison Government?
JOYCE: I think it is just a statement of fact. Joel has every right to go out and say well we didn’t provide a wide range, a wide suite of issues when we went to the election but we certainly produced one which was the budget. The Australian people voted for it and we are the Government. If the Labor Party in the future wants to change it and they become the government then knock yourself out. You can repeal it if you are the Government but you have to accept that we went to the election and this is what we said we’d do. I agree with Joel, we want to reduce tax for the individual and we are doing it across the board and Joel like politically should just get this out of the way and move on to other issues because otherwise people will say ‘you didn’t accept the mandate of the election’.
FITZGIBBON: Well Sam, the point here is that the Labor Party is in play here because the Government hasn’t been able to convince the Senate crossbench that this tax package, as it stands, has merit. They too are asking big questions about this tax package. There is no justification for allowing us to be held ransom to something that is going to happen in five years’ time, there is no logic to that. We are simply saying, put up stages one and two this week, let’s bring stage two forward earlier and that will provide the economy with some stimulus and give ourselves some time, given stage three doesn’t have effect until five years’ time, some time to properly understand the impact of stage three. That’s a perfectly reasonable and rational position to have.
ARMYTAGE: Okay it’s the big issue of the day I think, possibly the week.
JOYCE: No it’s not, it just looks like you’re sulking.
ARMYTAGE: Okay Barnaby, we’ve got to go but thank you gentlemen. We have got to go, we’ll talk to you soon sorry. Here’s Kochie.