Federal Labor should try to “force” the government into splitting its tax package, opposition frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon says.
Shadow cabinet will meet in Melbourne on Monday to discuss the Morrison government’s $158 billion personal income tax cut package.
But it may not be until the Labor caucus meets next week – when parliament sits for the first time since the election – that the opposition will make its final decision on how it will approach the three-stage plan.
Shadow cabinet member Mr Fitzgibbon says Labor’s priority is to force the coalition to split up the tax package, despite Finance Minister Mathias Cormann standing firm against this.
If Labor is unable to do so then it will have to decide between supporting the whole package or not backing it at all, Mr Fitzgibbon says.
“The latter option would deny low to middle income earners much-needed tax relief, tax relief we ourselves were promising during the election campaign,” he told ABC Radio National.
“You can’t deny the punters a tax cut from opposition, particularly so soon after an election where we had our backsides kicked.”
He’s also wary the government will blame Labor for not passing the tax cuts if the economy doesn’t perform well.
Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers says the first stage of the tax plan will give low and middle income earners relief in the face of a slowing economy.
However, Labor still wants answers about stage three of the plan – which comes at a cost of $95 billion in five years’ time – and what it will mean for the budget and the economy.
Dr Chalmers says the government has already broken its promise to introduce stage one of the plan by July 1.
However, the government has repeatedly refused to split the bill.
Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said the entire plan hangs together and could not be cherry picked.