‘Play ball’: Karl unleashes over tax changes

The Today host asked the Treasurer if he would ‘play ball’ with the Greens to pass Labor’s tax cuts. Picture: Supplied.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has signalled Labor will stand firm on negotiations to pass its stage 3 tax cuts and issued a warning to his opponents ahead of a major party meeting.

Under probing from Today show host Karl Stefanovic, who asked if Labor would “play ball” with the Greens to gain support for its stage 3 tax package if the Coalition blocked the new legislation, Dr Chalmers declared there were “no excuses” to delay its passage.

“We expect the parliament to support the changes that we have proposed. If the Greens try and knock off our changes to the stage 3 tax cuts, if they vote against us, they’ll be voting for Scott Morrison’s stage 3 changes from five years ago,” he said.

“So what are you prepared to compromise on, then?” Stefanovic asked.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the Coalition was ‘out of touch’ with everyday Australians. Picture: John Gass/NCA NewsWire.

“We’ll always try and do the right thing by people, but these tax cuts should stand on their own as a good effort to get people a little bit more help with their cost-of-living pressures,” Dr Chalmers responded.

Labor released draft legislation for its stage 3 tax overhaul on Sunday that will be weighed up by members of the Coalition and the crossbench before the Bill is officially introduced on Tuesday.

If passed, the changes would mean the 37 per cent tax bracket, which had been due to be scrapped on July 1, would remain for incomes between $135,000 and $190,000, and the top 45 per cent bracket would kick in for earnings over $190,000 instead of the previously slated $200,000.

Under questioning over Labor’s backflip on its pledge to not touch the cuts by Sunrise host Natalie Barr, Dr Chalmers fired back at his critics

“Seeing as this has worked so well, is that going to spur you on to break more promises?” Barr asked.

“No, I don’t see it that way, Nat,” Dr Chalmers responded.

“This is all about it becoming increasingly clear that we needed to provide more cost-of-living help. We needed to do it in a bigger and broader way but without adding to inflationary pressures in our economy.”

Angus Taylor/Jane Hume presser
Opposition finance spokeswoman Jane Hume said the prime minister ‘lied to the Australian public’. Picture: Martin Ollman/NCA NewsWire.

Opposition finance spokeswoman Jane Hume said Labor’s tax package was not “genuine reform” before accusing the government of making a politically motivated move to generate popularity among working-class voters.

She confirmed the Coalition had received the stage 3 legislation and said it would “need to go through parliamentary processes”.

“There’s an awful lot of opinions on an awful lot of issues in our party room, and this one will be no different,” Senator Hume told ABC Radio National.

Earlier, independent senator Jacqui Lambie threw her support behind the stage 3 tax cut changes and called on the Coalition to do the same.

“I think it’s common sense by the Liberal Party to support them and knock the Greens clean out of the game,” she said.

Independent MP Zoe Daniel said the vast majority of Australians stood to benefit from the changes, citing survey data showing three-quarters of her electorate backed the cuts.

“It’s the PM’s broken promise. It’s up to you what that means for your trust in him,” she said.

“The changes are a separate issue - they give more to most of the Goldstein community, something to all taxpayers. I support them in their current form.”