MEDIA RELEASE: MEDICARE LEVY BACK DOWN

TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

CHRIS BOWEN MP
SHADOW TREASURER

JENNY MACKLIN MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES

 

MEDICARE LEVY BACK DOWN

 

The Turnbull Government’s extraordinary back down on its proposed Medicare Levy increase is a massive humiliation for the Prime Minister and a win for working and middle-class Australians. 

Make no mistake – Malcolm Turnbull didn’t drop this tax hike because he wanted to do the right thing. He did it because he couldn’t get the votes.

This isn’t just a capitulation, it’s a confession. This back down is proof that the funding of the National Disability Insurance Scheme was never the issue – this was just a tax grab.  

Mr Turnbull owes Australians with disability, their families and carers an apology for threatening to hold the NDIS hostage in a shameful attempt to increase taxes for working people. 

For nearly a year, Labor has fought Malcolm Turnbull’s unfair income tax increase. Under his plan, someone earning $60,000 a year would have paid $300 more a year in income tax. 

When wages growth is at historic lows and household bills are through the roof, we knew the last thing Australian families needed was an income tax increase. 

Labor made the right call after last year’s budget – and we’ve saved seven million working Australians from Turnbull’s tax increase.

And if Labor hadn’t opposed this income tax hike it would be the law of the land – more evidence that Labor gets the big calls right and Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison get them wrong.

Australians have won this time.  But as long as Mr Turnbull is Prime Minister and the Liberals are in government, the fight isn’t over. 

Malcolm Turnbull and his out of touch Liberals cannot be trusted. They have tried to increase taxes on working people before, and they’ll try it again as soon as they think they can get away with it. We have already seen reports that some of the Prime Minister’s own colleagues think this back down is the wrong call.  

The only things the Liberals stand for are lower taxes for multinationals and millionaires, and higher taxes and cuts to services for middle and working-class people.  

Labor has set five tests for Mr Turnbull in his make-or-break budget, and he’s still failing on four counts.

On budget night, Malcolm Turnbull has a chance to:

  1. Stop his cuts to Medicare and reverse his $715 million of cuts to hospitals;
  2. Reverse his $17 billion of cuts to local schools;
  3. Give up on the zombie cuts in his budget that hurt families and pensioners – like axing the Energy Supplement and increasing the pension age to 70; and
  4. Reverse his $65 billion tax handout to the top end of town.

If he doesn’t do these four things, his budget will fail the fairness test.

After a year of trying to use people with disability for budget blackmail, the Liberals have finally admitted what Australians always knew: their plan to increase taxes on workers had nothing to do with funding services, it was all about financing their massive giveaway to the top end of town.

Two weeks from his budget, Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t have an ounce of credibility left.

 

THURSDAY, 26 APRIL 2018