Australian Senate votes for huge tax cuts for wealthy


Australian Senate votes for huge tax cuts for wealthy

Mike Head

22 June 2018

Backed by nearly all the right-wing populists in the Senate, the Turnbull government yesterday succeeded in pushing through parliament legislation that promises to hand massive income tax cuts to rich households.

While the government claimed to be assisting low-income families, their tiny tax cuts will be dwarfed by those for the wealthiest layers of society. Workers paid less than $37,000 a year will get up to $200 in a tax offset—just enough for a cup of coffee a week—to be paid in a lump sum after July 1, 2019.

By contrast, high-income households, on combined incomes of up to $300,000, will benefit by up to $764 a year from this July 1, rising up to $8,350 a year from 2024–25. In general, the higher the income, the greater the tax cut. Someone on $200,000 a year, for example, will gain a 16 times greater benefit than a nurse on $55,000.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hailed the passage of the three-stage, seven-year package as the “most comprehensive reform of personal income tax in a generation.” An historic shift is certainly involved, in favour of the wealthy elite. The centrepiece of the tax package is a virtual flat tax plan, whereby tax rates will not rise for incomes from $41,000 through to $200,000.

“It is fair, it rewards and encourages enterprise, it encourages and enables aspiration,” Turnbull said. Earlier in the week, Turnbull had told parliament what he meant by “aspiration.” In a display of ruling class contempt for working people, he said the tax package would encourage a low-paid 60-year-old aged care worker to “aspire” to a higher-paid job—an “aspiration” virtually impossible to achieve.

The tax bill passed by 37 votes to 33 in the Senate,…

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