Culture

Parliament Just Voted to Cut Taxes For The Wealthiest Australians

A bunch of Labor MPs awkwardly criticised the tax cuts on Twitter before Bill Shorten announced he would support them.

Labor and the Coalition might be bitterly opposed on the issue of a marriage equality plebiscite but turns out they’re on the same page when it comes to tax cuts for the richest Australians. Today the Senate voted to pass tax cuts worth a massive $4 billion that benefit Australians who earn over $80,000 a year.

The tax cuts were proposed in this year’s budget and were awkwardly criticised by a number of Labor MPs on Twitter before Bill Shorten announced he was going to support them.

Everyone earning an annual income of $80,000 or more will pocket an extra $300 year as a result of the changes. An analysis by the Greens found that the tax cuts would disproportionately benefit men compared to women.

Twenty-eight percent of male taxpayers will benefit from the tax cuts, compared to just 13 percent of women. Surgeons, mining engineers, school principals and psychiatrists are amongst the occupations that will benefit the most. When the tax cuts were first announced they were criticised for worsening economic inequality.

Since most Australians earn less than $80,000 per year, the majority of the population is going to miss out on the benefit. One analysis found that wealthy Australians would rake in 10 times more than average income earners. The Australian Council of Social Service called the tax cuts “unconscionable”.

Quite a few Labor MPs expressed their concern about the inequitable nature of the tax cuts on Twitter and in Parliament, including controversial Batman MP David Feeney.

Tasmanian Labor Senators Lisa Singh and Helen Polley also railed against the proposed tax cut in May. “Four out of five Tasmanians earn less than $80,000. They are the people who are going to be affected,” Singh said in the Senate.

Lisa Chesters, the Labor member for Bendigo, told the House of Representatives: “Eighty-five per cent of the workers of Bendigo earn less than $75,000 a year. On budget night, this government said that they were not entitled and did not earn enough to get a tax cut. It is ridiculous to suggest that some of our lowest-paid workers are not worthy of this kind of attention. The government has let Bendigo and central Victoria down.”

Despite the rhetoric against the tax cuts, the Labor party voted for them in the Senate today. The Greens Treasury spokesperson, Peter Wish-Wilson, said “Labor has given tax cuts to surgeons and bank CEO’s, while only three weeks ago they cut support for uni students and single parents. This will worsen inequality and it won’t do anything to help the economy.”

So there you have it. We’re apparently in a “budget emergency” but we still have the cash to hand out $4 billion to the richest Australians.