Malcolm Turnbull ‘won’t flip on tax cuts’
PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has given Cabinet ministers an unequivocal assurance he will not back down on tax cuts for big business after the dismal result in the Longman by-election.
As some senior Liberals called for the immediate scrapping of the policy, The Daily Telegraph has confirmed Mr Turnbull personally told senior colleagues yesterday he was holding firm and committed to the company tax cuts for businesses turning over more than $50 million, and would put it to another vote when Parliament returns, despite the lethal Labor campaign on the policy in Longman.
It is understood Mr Turnbull told his colleagues the government needed to stay the course on what is important economic reform for Australia.
The Turnbull government leadership group, which includes economic heavyweights Scott Morrison and Mathias Cormann, are also refusing to budge on company tax cuts, even ruling out a lower threshold for businesses with a turnover of up to $400 million.
The leadership group sent the message to their colleagues who were calling for the policy to be scrapped that the government should stick with the company tax cut in full and make a point of standing up for jobs and growth, arguing they would lose more credibility if they adopted Labor's higher-taxing agenda.
The unwavering position on company tax cuts comes as Labor mounted a campaign around the policy in the marginal seat of Longman, telling voters the Turnbull government was ripping out money from Caboolture hospital to give to the big banks.
The LNP primary vote in the Queensland seat was a bleak 30 per cent, while Labor's Susan Lamb recorded a primary vote of 39 per cent.
Nine months out from the federal election, it would appear an internal dispute over policy direction has emerged in the upper echelons of the Turnbull government.
Senior Liberals told The Telegraph there should be an overhaul of their energy, education, immigration and company tax policy, saying their current suite of policies were so unpopular with the electorate, they could not afford to take them to the next election.
Several Liberal ministers said there needs to be substantial changes to the National Energy Guarantee to abandon the renewable targets and instead focus on lowering power bills faster, along with giving Catholic schools a greater share of funding, so that Coalition voters have a reason to support the government at the 2019 poll.
"We're fighting for big banks while he (Bill Shorten) is fighting for hospitals," one Liberal source said.
Labor leader Bill Shorten said yesterday the by-election results should send a message to the Turnbull government that its must drop its "unnecessary corporate tax cuts".
Queensland Nationals are also firing up over some government policies. Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd said energy prices needed to come down and that "coal-fired power stations are the only way to bring prices down at the moment".