The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Peter Costello

Peter Costello

Treasurer

11 March 1996 - 3 December 2007

Transcript of 12/05/2005

Doorstop Interview

Ministerial Entrance
Parliament House, Canberra

Thursday, 12 May 2005
8.45 am

SUBJECTS: Tax cuts

TREASURER:

The Government will be introducing legislation this morning to cut taxes from 1 July next (financial) year. To cut taxes for every Australian income taxpayer. If this Bill is passed through the Parliament, everyone will get a tax cut on 1 July of 2005. The Labor Party opposes this tax cut. The Labor Party wants people to pay higher taxes. Labor stands for higher taxes. But I say this to Mr Beazley, the tax cut will go through one way or another. Labor can’t stop this tax cut. The only thing Labor can do is delay this tax cut. I am calling on Labor not to delay the tax cut, to give people their tax cut from 1 July 2005. This is a futile stand by Labor for higher taxes. They can’t keep them higher. Eventually we will be able to pass this tax cut through the new Senate. All Labor can do is spread confusion and try and delay tax cuts from 1 July 2005. There is no sense in doing that, Australians should be entitled to their full tax cut on 1 July of this year.

JOURNALIST:

If they do delay the legislation would you recall Parliament and how soon would the tax cuts be implemented if that was the case?

TREASURER:

Well, the first plan here is to have the tax cut passed, there is no reason why it can’t be passed. It could be passed by Mr Beazley, giving up his futile attempt to inflict higher taxes on Australians, or by members of the Labor Party absenting themselves from the vote. There is a suggestion that some of them may absent themselves from the vote and if they do that in the Senate it can be passed. I have also had talks overnight with the Commissioner of Taxation to try and see if there is some interim position that could be put in place to give people tax cuts until the legislation goes through. He is getting me advice on that today and until I have that advice I don’t know whether that is legally possible. But you know, there is a long way and there is a short way of getting this tax cut. The short way is for Labor to give up its opposition. Labor stands for higher taxes but they shouldn’t get in the way of this tax cut.

JOURNALIST:

Kim Beazley said this morning that he is fighting for the millions that are only getting that $6 a week tax cut, that you just haven’t got the balance right. Would you consider perhaps re-looking at that balance at all?

TREASURER:

Kim Beazley is proposing to vote against a tax cut for people on the lowest income tax rate. In 10 minutes I am introducing a Bill which will cut the 17 cent to the 15 cent rate. He is voting against it. He is voting against tax cuts for everybody. Now, why he is doing this is beyond me because it will go through, eventually it will go through. Eventually taxes will be cut. The only thing he can do is try and delay the cutting of taxes.

JOURNALIST:

So you are saying he should just give up then and not fight for these people?

TREASURER:

No, I don’t think he should give up. I think he should support tax cuts. I don’t think Kim Beazley should give up, he should support tax cuts. These are tax cuts for every Australian. Now, I have never seen such a blatant attempt to impose higher taxes on the Australian public than Kim Beazley is currently engaged in.

JOURNALIST:

But is bringing the Senate back early an option?

TREASURER:

Well I hope, look bringing a Senate back would cost the Australian public millions, millions and millions of dollars. So what, Mr Beazley denies them a tax cut, then incurs millions of dollars for the bringing back of the Senate. I am not ruling anything out I will tell you that, but there is an easy way and there is a hard way, and the easy way is just to pass the legislation. Thanks.