Government claims about Labor tax costings a “bucket of lies”: Shorten

Labor leader Bill Shorten says Treasury costings showing his tax plan will cost an extra $38.7 billion a year for the next decade are wrong.

Apr 12, 2019, updated Apr 12, 2019
Government services minister Bill Shorten. Photo: AAP/Lukas Coch

Government services minister Bill Shorten. Photo: AAP/Lukas Coch

“They’re not correct,” he told Nine’s Today program.

“The Liberals are lying about tax. I don’t want to talk too much about it, that’s just a bucket of lies.”

The coalition released Treasury costings of Labor’s combined tax policies on Thursday night, the day the election campaign was called.

The figures show Labor’s tax changes, plus Shorten’s decision not to match Scott Morrison’s long term tax cuts, make for a total $387 billion difference between the parties.

“Whatever Labor promises is funded on the back of $387 billion of new taxes on your income, your house, your savings and your super,” said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

The vast majority – $230 billion – comes from Labor’s decision not to match the coalition’s personal income tax cuts in 2022 and 2024.

Shorten says the government is running a campaign based on fear and negativity.

“Whenever Labor closes a loophole the Liberals call it a tax increase,” he said.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen this week promised Labor would look at income tax relief in those years, depending on the state of the budget.

Bowen said the coalition’s figures were “dodgy”.

“Given Treasury has said repeatedly they don’t cost Labor’s policies, someone’s got some explaining to do,” he tweeted on Thursday night.

The costings predicted Labor would raise an extra $57 billion by ending taxpayer-funded handouts for franking credit refunds, and $34 billion from changes to superannuation thresholds.

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A further $31 billion would come from ending negative gearing on existing properties and changes to capital gains tax, and $27 billion from changes to family trusts.

“Bill Shorten’s taxes not only stifle aspiration but they will also hurt the economy, costing jobs and putting at risk the essential services Australians rely on,” Frydenberg said.

The coalition has targeted a fight on tax as a way to attack Shorten over the handling of the economy.

Shorten launched his campaign in a backyard in Melbourne on Thursday, promising to improve health services and lift stagnant wages.

“We over complicate politics sometimes… what matters to millions of our fellow Australians is their family, and their health,” he told reporters.


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