The federal Labor party has committed to a stronger surplus while increasing spending and expanding tax breaks to everyday Australians in its budget response.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told Australians last Thursday that the government’s plan for tax cut’s was less of a plan and more of a debt bomb.
“This is not a tax plan; it’s a ticking debt bomb. It is neither fair nor responsible to lock in those billions of dollars in tax giveaways flowing disproportionately to a relatively few Australians, and so far into the future, especially when you consider the foreboding we see in the global environment,” he said.
Mr Shorten said a Labor government would not sit idly by and ‘leave it to the market’ but instead would be proactive.
“For the last six years we’ve tried it their way, the government’s way: the invisible hand; ‘Leave it to the market.’ We now know how that all ends,” said Mr Shorten.
In a speech that was a direct election appeal to the public Mr Shorten said that a surplus could only be brought about by real reform.
“The Liberals talk so much about being back in the black, but the budget papers reveal a much paler shade of grey.
“What we need is a fighting fund for the nation – a strong surplus to protect us from international shocks.
“Surpluses can only be built on real reform, not by cutting schools and hospitals, not by short-changing the NDIS, and not by banking on the price of ore and a blue sky environment,” he said.
Mr Shorten confirmed that Labor would support the governments tax break for middle-income earners between $48,000 and $126,000 but would expand it.
“In Chris Bowen’s first budget Labor will provide a bigger tax refund than the Liberals for 3.6 million Australians – all told, an extra $1 billion for low-income earners in this country,” he said.
Mr Shorten confirmed that negative gearing rules would change but not for those currently using the system or even those who use it on new homes, but rather for property investors.
‘You cannot have property investors playing with loaded dice against our young people, Generation Y and the Millennials,” he said.
In an appeal to young voters Mr Shorten vowed to rule out intergenerational bias in the tax system by changing both the negative gearing rules and the franking credits regime.
“The intergenerational bias that the tax system has against young people must be called out. A government must be brave enough and decent enough to stop the bias against first-home buyers and young Australians – and we will be that government,” he said.
Labor also introduced its plan to get wages moving again by restoring Sunday and public penalty rates and stopping companies using dodgy labour-hire arrangements to cut pay.
“I don’t want any Australian adult who works full-time to be trapped in poverty. A sensible, overdue plan to achieve moderate but meaningful improvement in wages is what we offer Australians,” said Mr Shorten.
Mr Shorten finished his reply by appealing straight to the voters and vowing to giver Australians stability, unity and a future if Labor succeeds in the upcoming election.
“Do we want a fairer, more equal country where the economy works in the interests of everyone, or do we want another three years of drift, with the top-end of town profiting much better than everybody else?”
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